In my design work, and in my own life in general, trees play a very important role. Most people are of course well aware of the role trees play on our planet in regards to the carbon cycle. But have you really considered all the many ways in which trees improve our environment and make our world a better place?
Trees and humans often have a troubled relationship. But trees are valuable to us because they:
- Provide the oxygen we breathe.
- Trap and store carbon, reducing the atmospheric greenhouse gases which cause global warming.
- Bring rain to the land and play a crucial role in the world’s water cycle.
- Utilise renewable resources and catch and store energy.
- Store water and stabilise the soil.
- Protect the soil and increase surrounding soil fertility.
- Provide biomass for fuel needs and fertility.
- Provide shade from the sun.
- Provide wind breaks.
- Filter dust and clean the air of other airborne contaminants.
- Provide valuable wood, fruits, nuts, flowers, medicines and other resources for humans.
- Provide fodder, habitat and other resources for other livestock and wildlife.
Permaculture teaches us that trees are crucial parts of a food-producing landscape. One of the founding fathers of permaculture, Bill Mollison, recommended that at least 20-30% of a permaculture landscape should be dedicated to trees.
And in addition to the practicalities, it is also worthwhile noting the calming effect that trees can have on us. ‘Forest bathing’ and spending time in green spaces has been shown to have many beneficial therapeutic effects on mental health and well-being.
Now is a great time to think about choosing trees – whether it is in your own garden or another site. Deciding now which trees will be right for you and your area will put you in a good position to order/ source bare root trees once the dormant period arrives.
Get in touch soon for a forest garden design and you may be able to start implementing your plans before the end of the year.