6 Ways Reforestation can Help to Make Ecosystem Healthier

Earth is dying. A single thing that can save it is planting trees. Planting trees on Earth is similar to giving water to a person on his deathbed. Reforestation is the process of planting a tree in a barren area – either due to natural or anthropogenic activities. There might be several reasons for restoration, including restoring land to its original position, preventing Pollution, or mitigating the impacts of harmful activities. Reforestation is one single solution to nearly all environmental problems, whatever the purpose is. This article will give you an insight into the causes of deforestation and how reforestation can make the Earth healthier.


“Plant a tree and plant a hope for the future”


Before getting into the topic, let’s learn some causes of deforestation to understand why we need to replace this practice with afforestation. Trees are the lungs of nature. The process of photosynthesis occurs in them to make food. Also, plants utilize carbon dioxide and release oxygen during this process which gives life to animals. However, due to the rapid increase in the human population, trees have been cut exponentially. The main reasons for deforestation are; food, furniture, clearing land for housing societies and agriculture, and medicinal purposes.

Thank you to Felix Mittermeier and Pexels for the image.
Thank you to Felix Mittermeier and Pexels for the image.
Following are some benefits of reforestation on the ecosystem

  1. Prevent Soil erosion and desertification
  2. Carbon storage
  3. Source of food
  4. Source of Shelter and increased biodiversity
  5. Reduce the risk of floods
  6. Reduce Pollution
 

1. Prevent Soil Erosion and Desertification

Trees hold the soil in place. Trees work closely to secure the landscape. The root of plants holds the soil and help to reduce soil erosion from wind and water. Furthermore, plants help in managing the issue of desertification. 

2. Carbon storage

Carbon dioxide is a potent greenhouse gas. Its concentration has increased exponentially since the industrial era. High concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere cause global warming. Thus, it’s one of the significant causes of climate change.  Without a second thought, trees are an excellent sink of carbon dioxide. Trees utilize carbon dioxide for photosynthesis. Sugar and oxygen are made as products. Trees use sugar for building wood, branches, and fruit and release oxygen. Wood is entirely made of carbon, so it is a marvellous carbon sink. This way, a pollutant is converted into a resource.  Trees’ ability to store carbon depends upon the age and type of trees. Young plants capture more carbon dioxide than old trees. Thus, young plants contribute more to restoring the ecosystem.  Soil also stores carbon from plant roots, and leaf litter is chiefly present in the ground. However, the amount of carbon stored in soil depends on geological conditions.  However, trees also release carbon into the atmosphere when they die. But the fraction is less than the amount they store throughout their life. 

3. Source of Food

Trees hold a lot of importance in the food chain since they directly utilize sunlight to make food. They do not depend upon other organisms for food. Foodstuff from trees has had a lot of significance for ages. Trees provide a variety of healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, edible oil, nuts, and seeds. People have been using leaves, fruit, bark, and roots for food and medicine. Plant-based food is rich in fibres and minerals. Thus, keeping us healthy and fit. It is a source of survival for people who don’t eat meat. 

4. Provide shelter

Trees increase biodiversity by providing food and shelter to birds and animals. Trees are the keystone species in many ecosystems. The loss of a keystone species can degrade the whole ecosystem. For example, fig trees and fig vines provide food and shelter to many birds. Thus, reforestation of suitable trees – according to the soil and climatic conditions – can help to restore the ecosystem and make the Earth healthier. 

5. Reduce the risk of floods

Climate change means extreme weather events. High rainfall and floods have increased in past decades. Floods cause land sliding and destruction of the ecosystem as well.  Trees can improve flood risk management through their canopies and roots.  Trees act as buffers of nature. Trees remove the water from watersheds and reduce the risk of floods by absorbing runoff. Decay roots make the soil porous by building a network of interconnected channels in the ground.  The tree canopy slows down the rain before it hits the ground. Studies have found that up to 30% of the water evaporates back into the atmosphere in the tree canopy without reaching the ground. Roots penetrate water in the soil at a faster rate. Therefore, trees help in groundwater recharge. Trees reduce 80% of surface water runoff as compared to asphalt. 

6. Help reduce Pollution

By absorbing the moisture content from the atmosphere, sequestering carbon dioxide, and through their leaf pores, plants absorb the pollutants. Some contaminants are utilized as a resource, while others passively absorb the root-soil system. Therefore, trees improve the air quality by reducing the temperature. A pilot-scale study has revealed that plants reduce around 30% of PM 10 particles from the atmosphere.  So, reforestation could be an effective tool to combat climate change and make Earth healthy. However, before plantation, brief research must be conducted to complete the project successfully. 

Conclusion

There have been a lot of changes on Earth since humans started living on it. Trees are cut down for providing services to an exponentially increasing population. Consequently, the risk of floods, droughts, land sliding, and Pollution has increased. Planting trees is a promising solution to combat these issues. Trees hold the soil and absorb pollutants and moisture from the atmosphere. Therefore, reforestation can make our planet healthy again!