How do trees help us breathe
10 Essential Ways Trees Help Our Planet1. Trees provide food
Papaya, mangoes, oranges, limes, lemons, peaches, coconuts, cashews, apples and more come from trees. Beyond these nutritious and delicious fruits, some of our favorite spices also come from various parts of trees including cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves. Trees are also the source of almonds, walnuts, pecans, and cashews, too! Finally, but certainly important, trees bring us chocolate (cocoa) and maple syrup.“”2. Trees protect the land
Trees protect the earth from soil erosion, fires, flooding, and wind. Forest Garden farmers use trees as fences, windbreaks, and barriers. They use a living fence technique which has proven especially useful in providing in creating a green wall to improve their soil, provide a boundary, keep livestock out, and absorb and redirect heavy rains.“”3. Trees help us breathe
Trees produce oxygen and clean carbon dioxide out of the air we breathe. Without trees, life could not continue. Trees have also proved to remove airborne particles from the air and reduce smog, thereby improving the air we breathe, and therefore, our respiratory health. The work trees do in improving the air quality is one of the most critical ways in which we benefit from trees.“”4. Trees provide shelter and shade
On a hot day, nothing is better than the shade of an old tree with an expansive canopy. Under a tree is often the location of Forest Garden farmer meetings and trainings. Trees act as nature’s air conditioner and help slow water evaporation from soil. Did you know that the evaporation from one tree can produce the cooling effect of ten room-size air conditioners running all day!“”5. Trees are a natural playground
Where there is no playground, a tree provides a great place to climb and explore. This is particularly exciting in a world where technology can consume people’s attention. . Children can develop gross motor skills and learn to take risks while climbing trees. Adults can climb for fitness and strength building. Felled trees can become balance beams and a tall tree can provide a good hideout or lookout during play time.“” 6. Trees encourage biodiversity
Many birds, animals, and insects call trees home. The various levels and canopies of trees provide a habitat to a diverse array of wildlife from the lower levels up to the very high canopies. Forest Garden farmers often also often use trees as a place to build hives to bring bees to their land to assist in pollination and to collect honey. We are currently losing species at an alarming rate so the space for biodiversity is critical as it helps keep our planet thriving.“” 7. Trees provide sustainable wood
While alternative energy is ideal, the reality is that much of the word relies on wood to cook meals and boil water for purification. Where we work in Africa, approximately 80% of households rely on fuelwood and charcoal. While it can be argued that growing trees for fuel or wood competes with food production, in the Forest Garden model, the two can coexist and complement one another. This way, farmers are not increasing deforestation by cutting in the ancient forests. They can grow fast growing timber trees on their plot in a sustainable way.“” 8. Trees conserve water
Trees help filter and retain water in the soil. Trees not only improve water quality, they also prevent stormwater and flooding issues that can occur. The roots break up soil to allow for the recharge of water tables.“”9. Trees improve mental health
Being among trees has real health benefits. Studies show that even looking at trees can calm us. The Japanese even have a word for this: Shirin-yoku, or forest bathing. Spending time in the forest is known to reduce stress, anger, and feelings of depression. While in English we do not have a specific word to express this experience, we do know that people who live in more densely wooded areas, even in urban settings with tree-lined streets, report better health than those who live in areas with sparse trees. The effects are not simply felt, they can even be measured by slowed heartbeats, lower blood pressure, and altered brain waves.“”10. And there is so much more!
Trees have proven to be a source of medicines, foods, and materials, improving our planet and lives in immeasurable ways. We are constantly discovering new ways that trees can benefit us. Research is uncovering complex and beneficial ways in which trees improve our planet and our lives. Without trees, we have no future.
Ask Dr. Universe: How do trees help the air?A&E
Sat., Aug. 31, 2019
Washington State University
Dr. Universe: How do trees help the air? – Ella, 12
Take a big, deep breath. As you inhale and exhale, you can probably feel the air taking up space in your lungs.
The air we breathe is made up of a few different things. It includes gases such as nitrogen, oxygen and carbon dioxide – just to name a few. Animals breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. But in the plant world, it’s the opposite.
Trees, plants and even algae in the ocean take in carbon dioxide from the air and, using the energy of the sun, transform it into the oxygen we all breathe. That’s what I found out from my friend Kevin Zobrist, a forestry professor at Washington State University.
Zobrist told me that process is called photosynthesis. It’s the way plants recycle carbon dioxide while also making their own food and energy.
Sometimes particles get mixed into the air that aren’t very good for us. They are so small we can’t see them, but they can sometimes irritate people’s airways or create health problems.
The good news: Trees are really good at helping catch and filter out these particles from the air.
Scientists also have found that trees with leaves with tiny hairs are especially good at grabbing onto those particles and removing them from the air. I discovered that some trees also capture particles in their bark so animals like us don’t have to breathe them into our bodies.
It’s really important to have clean air to breathe. After all, the average human will inhale and exhale about 7 or 8 liters of air every minute or so. That adds up to each person breathing about 11,000 liters – or about 2,905 gallons, think milk jugs – of air each day.
Trees also can help cool the air. When it warms up outside and water from the surface of the leaves evaporates, it can take heat out of the air. Meanwhile, trees can help capture dust and even smoke from wildfires.
While trees help store a lot of carbon within themselves, that doesn’t mean they can store it forever. When trees burn during wildfires, they release carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere along with lots of harmful smoke particles.
Trees help the air except when they are on fire, Zobrist said. Carbon dioxide also comes from burning fossil fuels such as the gasoline we put in cars. Climate change is a big problem from having too much carbon dioxide in our oceans and air.
For the most part, trees do their best to help the air stay cool and clean. They also make a great shady place to take a nap. You know, I think I’ll go find a nice spot to relax under a big tree. Thanks to your question, I am reminded how important it is to take care of the trees that also take care of us all.
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How the oceans save the Earth from overheating
In the next issue of RBC Trends Green Podcast, we talk about how the oceans give us oxygen, and we repay them with plastic waste
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Surely everyone has heard at least once that forests are the “lungs of the planet”, because they produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide. In fact, the world's oceans play a leading role in supplying us with oxygen and absorbing carbon. Trees and plants produce only 20% oxygen. The remaining 80% we get from the ocean. More precisely, thanks to the phytoplankton that lives in the ocean.
It is due to the work of phytoplankton and the ocean ecosystem as a whole that the Earth's atmosphere does not heat up too quickly. But humanity, with its oil production, uncontrolled fishing and plastic pollution, is gradually destroying the ocean.
Podcast host — Anastasia Chizhevskaya, founder of the environmental education bureau Sustainble and blogger.
0:17 — How forests take in carbon and release oxygen
03:43 — Why forests are still important
05:41 — How the ocean breathes
07:55 — What the oceans suffer from
3 13:01 — What can be done to save the ocean
Let's talk about forests first
Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the air, because they need carbon to grow. With the help of solar energy, they turn carbon dioxide and water into nutrients, and release oxygen into the atmosphere. On average, for the life of one cubic meter of a tree, about 1 ton of carbon dioxide is needed. As a result of photosynthesis, 700 kg of oxygen enters the atmosphere from this amount of carbon dioxide.
Large tracts of wild forest from 50,000 ha that are not cut down are called "carbon cans". These are, first of all, tropical forests in South America, Africa, Southeast Asia, taiga forests in Russia and Canada. According to Greenpeace, the Amazon forests store between 80 billion and 120 billion tons of carbon. This is a volume equal to 12 years of global emissions.
If such forests were to be paved, trees cut and minerals mined, a huge amount of carbon would be released. In addition, as a result of forest fires, the forest turns from a carbon dioxide absorber into its source.
At night, photosynthesis does not occur, and trees consume oxygen. Animals, fungi and bacteria that live in the forest and do not produce oxygen themselves also need to breathe. Also, the forest spends oxygen from the atmosphere on the decomposition of the remains of dead organisms. As a result, forests work as if "to zero", absorbing about the same amount of oxygen as they emit.
How the ocean "breathes"
The ocean absorbs carbon from the surface and stores it in deep waters. It takes about 30% of the carbon emissions that people produce. If not for the oceans, the planet would quickly become too hot for life.
In seawater, carbon molecules are converted into other chemical compounds or serve as food for phytoplankton - single-celled algae and cyanobacteria. Molecules eaten by phytoplankton are separated into oxygen and carbon. Oxygen returns to the water, and carbon accumulates in the growing phytoplankton.
If the ocean stops absorbing and retaining carbon, it will be impossible to slow down global warming.
What is happening to the ocean
According to the UN, already 40% of the world's oceans have been severely affected by human actions . There are two reasons - pollution and depletion of fish stocks.
What pollutes the ocean:
- oil and oil products;
- waste water from enterprises where there are heavy metals, mercury and other hazardous substances;
- agricultural pesticides;
- plastic waste and lost fishing nets.
It is believed that every minute a truckload of plastic enters the sea. If this continues, by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.
According to the Whale Protection Fund, more than 2.5 thousand dolphins have died in the Black Sea over the past five years due to human actions.
Uncontrolled fishing also causes harm. Overfishing disturbs the natural balance in the ocean ecosystem. In addition, Commercial fishing is generally very inhumane. For example, when trawling, in addition to fish, marine mammals also get into the net, which are of no nutritional value, but still die in the nets. In addition, some countries, such as Japan, still allow whaling.
According to the UN, today 90% of large fish populations are depleted, and 50% of coral reefs are destroyed .
Another ocean problem is water acidification. Carbon released into the atmosphere dissolves in sea water and turns into carbonic acid, which makes the water more acidic. Acidification, directly or indirectly through the food chain, affects all ocean life. If the level of water acidification reaches the levels at which phytoplankton begins to die, this will acidify the environment even more. This could destroy the entire ocean.
Sunscreens containing oxybenzone are also harmful to corals and other marine life.
What can be done to save the ocean
- Regulate and restrict fishing. For example, in Russia, since 2021, amateur fishing with nets is completely prohibited throughout the entire territory, except for the Far East, the North and Siberia. It is also forbidden to use explosives, electric fishing rods, traps and traps. The industrial catch is regulated by the Ministry of Agriculture, if the population of a particular fish in a particular area decreases sharply and this causes concern.
- Each of us can try to reduce our consumption of fish, since industrial fishing is largely unsustainable.
- Reduce the consumption of single-use plastic, recycle it, do not litter.
- Do not break corals and do not touch fish and marine animals while relaxing at sea.
- Choose safe sunscreens with inorganic filters such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. You can also protect yourself from the sun with closed clothes, a hat with a brim, swim in swimsuits with long sleeves.
The whole truth about trees. It turns out they breathe!
I read here another post about the exposure of trees. Everything is as always - some people still do not understand that forests are not at all the lungs of the planet. And in the comments such nonsense came out that it became clear: adults in Russia, in a country that is proud of its universities, do not know anything about plants. How so, explain to me? Why so much heresy in the minds of people? How can you go to school, pass exams, get a higher education, and not know basic things about plants?! I'll have to explain everything about what trees breathe. First, let's understand: trees are plants! If you didn't know that both grass and trees are plants, then read the discussion in the Big Question first. And here we will figure out how and when plants breathe.
It turns out that adults believe that a tree can live both without photosynthesis and without respiration. They say that no photosynthesis occurs in the city, because it is dusty there. Such misconceptions show how much people misunderstand biology. But all this is told at school, and by the fifth grade the child should be talking about respiration and photosynthesis! It is especially funny when people start arguing about space technologies and green energy, and at the same time they cannot answer elementary questions about how plants breathe.
Here's an educational program on plants, remember this once and for all, print it out, hang it on the refrigerator, and never again even stutter about the fact that trees in the city do not photosynthesize, and that they absorb oxygen only at night.
Plants are such green objects of living nature, they have roots, leaves, stems, flowers, etc. And yes, trees are plants!
All plants have two gas exchange processes in parallel:
1. Breath . Yes, all plants breathe! In general, everything! And even in winter! Breathing is an integral process of living beings, one might even say that it is breathing that distinguishes the living from the non-living.
2. Photosynthesis . This is the process of creating glucose from carbon dioxide. Simply put, photosynthesis is nutrition.
More: what is breathing. In short: respiration is the process of assimilating oxygen. Plants do it through their leaves, and we do it through our lungs. But the essence is the same: we capture oxygen molecules from the air in order to use them to obtain energy from glucose. Under the influence of oxygen, the substance decomposes, while a huge amount of energy is released, and as a by-product - carbon dioxide, which we exhale. That's why we breathe faster during exercise: we need more energy, more glucose oxidation, more oxygen.
All living organisms, including trees, breathe. And microbes too, yes. Trees, like humans, breathe oxygen. This means that trees, grass, ficus in your room - they all absorb oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. Constantly, day and night, winter and summer. Just like you. All trees on the planet Earth breathe oxygen , just like a person, and exhale carbon dioxide in the same way, like a person.
Plants, like humans, breathe constantly and continuously. Even seeds have respiration, albeit minimal. Even in winter, covered with snow, the harmful Christmas tree continues to absorb oxygen and release carbon dioxide, albeit in meager amounts. Because breathing plants need the same as a person.
Note: Large plants should not be kept in the bedroom. If the ventilation in the room is poor, then the plant will suit you with an oxygen deficiency.
Photosynthesis is a process that occurs separately from respiration, has nothing to do with it, and is necessary for plant nutrition. The tree gets its energy from glucose. But where to get this glucose? A person takes glucose from food. Plants produce glucose. Photosynthesis is the process of making glucose from carbon dioxide when exposed to sunlight .
The plant takes carbon dioxide from the air, and under the influence of solar energy "takes" carbon from CO2. From carbon, the plant makes glucose, and oxygen "throws" into the air - this is a kind of waste of photosynthesis. A plant cannot live without photosynthesis, just as a person cannot live without food. Without light, photosynthesis does not occur, that is, at night the plant does not produce oxygen.
Once again: photosynthesis is the process of plant nutrition. A plant cannot live without photosynthesis, just as a person cannot live without food. But we don't eat all the time. So is a plant: photosynthesis occurs in periods. At night, without light, there is no photosynthesis. Certainly not in winter either. Houseplants, even if they remain green in winter, still almost stop photosynthesizing and practically sleep. They breathe but do not eat, like bears in a den. This means that in winter the plant absorbs oxygen, but does not produce it.
There is a concept plant oxygen balance is the ratio of oxygen uptake and production. Simply put, the difference between how actively a plant respires and photosynthesizes. The oxygen balance depends on the type, age of plants, period of life.
The level of photosynthesis depends on the age of the plant, light, nutrition and pollution. A young plant, during a period of active growth, creates a lot of glucose, which means it absorbs a lot of carbon dioxide and creates a lot of oxygen. The oxygen balance in young plants is positive, that is, a young tree produces more oxygen in a year than it consumes. Mature trees and indoor plants have approximately zero oxygen balance, that is, their photosynthesis is poor, and they produce about the same amount of oxygen as they absorb. In winter, photosynthesis stops completely or almost completely, and the plant does not produce oxygen, but breathes, that is, it only takes oxygen from the air.
The Russian taiga has an approximately zero annual oxygen balance. A lot of mature trees, a long winter period, a lot of conifers - all this leads to the fact that the northern Russian forests produce very little oxygen, but they constantly breathe. Tropical forests are more interesting in this regard: they are very green, actively growing, and produce much more oxygen. Their oxygen balance is positive, but also not very high. In fact, algae produce more oxygen than forests.
Two parallel processes occur in plants: respiration and photosynthesis. These processes are not interconnected, they occur under different conditions and for different purposes. Respiration is the absorption of oxygen and the release of carbon dioxide, constantly and continuously . Photosynthesis is the absorption of carbon dioxide and the creation of oxygen, occurs only in sunlight, and only in green leaves.
If you think that a tree absorbs CO2 during the day and produces it at night, you are an idiot. Wood both at night and during the day absorbs oxygen and produces carbon dioxide . And in winter, and in summer, and in the light, and in the dark: the tree breathes constantly and continuously, only with different intensity.
Photosynthesis is a source of energy for a plant, a way of nutrition. If the process of photosynthesis does not occur, the plant simply dies. Therefore, only ignoramuses believe that trees in the city do not photosynthesize. If the trees in the city were not engaged in photosynthesis, they would simply die of starvation. The plant can survive some period without photosynthesis, due to its reserves. Just like a person can get a little hungry. But the plant is unable to live without photosynthesis.
Of course, dust on the leaves significantly reduces gas exchange, dusty plants breathe worse and photosynthesize worse. But oops: it is for this plant in the city that they are needed, to collect dust. The rains wash the dust from the leaves to the ground. By the way, in hot weather, some trees in the city wither precisely because the hemp on the leaves accumulates, and the plant cannot breathe normally, literally suffocates.
there is a plant that is not capable of photosynthesis. These are cacti without chlorophyll. They were brought out artificially, for the sake of entertainment. These cacti are called hymnocalycium and they can only live by parasitizing others. In the picture below, there is such a chimera: the yellow "top" is a hymnocalycium, which was planted on the trunk of another cactus. That is, the lower cactus is a donor, it is green, photosynthesis takes place in it, due to which the parasitic tip feeds. In nature, such a plant cannot live.
But if trees are not sources of oxygen, why is it easier to breathe in the forest? First, there are grasses and bushes in the forest that photosynthesize more than they respire. Secondly, plants retain dust and other air pollution, that is, the air is cleaner in the forest. Thirdly, plants humidify the air and saturate it with various useful substances. For example, if you walk in the swamp during the flowering of wild rosemary, you can recover from a runny nose. Checked on myself.
Next. In recent years, the myth that de when a tree dies, it releases all the carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere is very popular. This is partly true, but due to the fact that few people understand how this happens, all sorts of wild nonsense about "you need to wrap a dead tree in a film" appears. What is really going on? The wood itself is made up of carbon, which the plant has taken from carbon dioxide. Did you study chemistry in school? Organics are compounds of carbon! С2Н5ОН - don't you know? Well, wood is organic. Wood is "made" from what used to be carbon dioxide. So, while the wood is whole, then the carbon is in this wood. Boards, chairs, wooden walls, it's all "made" of carbon, and that carbon doesn't go anywhere in the wood.
But when decaying, dead wood in the forest becomes food for all kinds of microorganisms and insects. And you will not believe, but all these microorganisms also breathe ! That is, it happens like this: wood becomes food for bacteria . Bacteria actively multiply thanks to this food, and they breathe a lot, that is, they absorb a lot of oxygen. Of course, while releasing carbon dioxide. That is, not in itself a dead tree begins to somehow release carbon dioxide! It just becomes organic, food for other organisms that breathe. But if the wood does not rot in the ground, and for example went to the production of furniture - it does not become food for bacteria, no one breathes, the wood does not decompose, carbon is not released. Conclusion: wooden furniture is good for the environment!
Well, the last thing: where do we get oxygen from if trees breathe as much as they photosynthesize?! Here you will now begin to push smart speeches from all sides. Like, in fact, oxygen is produced not by forests, but by algae, and in general, in fact, all oxygen was formed at the dawn of time, during the formation of the planet, and now it is only "circulating". Don't trust anyone. No exact knowledge of oxygen sources . Yes, algae produce more oxygen than trees. But algae breathe too! And it is also believed that oxygen is constantly "etched" from the atmosphere into space. And no one really knows where we get so much oxygen so that everyone has enough. The world's population is growing, oxygen consumption is growing, but it does not become less! And to be honest, none of the scientists knows how our planet manages to maintain a balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide over different eras. But it is known for certain that if there is more oxygen in the atmosphere than now, the danger of fires will increase.
Why do we need trees then? They are needed not for oxygen, but to create the "skeleton" of nature. With its roots, a tree fixes the soil and prevents it from being washed away. Trees can even strengthen the slopes of mountains! Roots help air exchange and become a home for a variety of soil organisms. In addition, they make the soil permeable and absorb water, that is, they regulate water exchange.