How useful a tree! There are so many things they can do. When alive, they provide oxygen to our atmosphere. They give blissful shade from a sweltering sun. They provide shelter from rain and snow. They keep the topsoil fixed and solid. They help to prevent landslides. They shelter birds, small animals, insects, and microorganisms. Some of them give food in the form of fruits and nuts. Others give sap and resins. Some contain medicinal qualities.
Many of them provide stunning beauty in the fall with a riot of color. They are self-perpetuating in that their fallen leaves become their own fertilizer so they can keep on growing. Their roots pull up many minerals from deep within the Earth that are now missing from our topsoil, and their leaves distribute these minerals when they decompose. They are prolific and readily reproduce. They provide a screen for animals to hide behind to avoid predators and hunters. They are wonderful wind barriers in the winter, sheltering homes and lowering heating costs.
|The ever useful tree.|
Even when they’re dead, they’re useful. They provide heat and cooking fuel. They can be fashioned into beautiful furniture or utilitarian wooden pieces or canoes that will last for decades. Their sawdust provides good bedding for farm animals. When left in the forest, dead trees still provide homes for certain animals that like to hollow parts of them out. They are still good food for certain insects, even when dead. Eagles love dead trees because they help to provide high perches without leaves and branches to block the view.
Children love to climb trees, and tire swings hanging from a tree are part of (or should be part of) everyone’s childhood. A hammock hanging in the shade between two trees can be such a treat. Tarps can be hung from branches to provide additional shelter, and food can be hoisted into the branches to temporarily keep it safe from ground-dwelling animals. Even homes can be built in trees!
Is there anything a tree can’t do?