I hear discussions, almost daily, about the changing climate conditions we are experiencing and debates over global warming. The scientific community has been warning us for years of the potential impacts these conditions could have on our future, and the industrial and political communities keep insisting the human impact on our environment has little, if any, effect on these changing conditions.
Between our scientific knowledge base and empirical observation, we can begin to understand the true value of trees and the relationships we share with them. We are aware of the process of transpiration where trees absorb water from the soil through their roots and use only 3% of that water thereby, returning 97% back to the atmosphere where it forms clouds and returns to earth as rain. I have personally observed how the transpiration process has significantly been reduced with the removal of trees from the landscape surrounding Magdalena, New Mexico. I have mentioned this area before as it provides a great example. Once covered with ponderosa pine forest communities and waist high prairie grass, it is today, high desert land with an average of 8 inches of rain yearly and large arroyos where the rich soil has washed into surrounding streams and the Rio Grande River. Only scrubby pion pine and juniper are scattered over the landscape and the tall prairie grasses are gone.
If you take a little time to observe the movements of wildlife throughout the seasons and daily, the importance of trees on temperature changes becomes apparent. During the hot summer months, animals tend to feed a night and early mornings and then retreat to the cooler areas provided by the shade from the tree crowns. Scientific measurements actually show 15 to 20 degree cooler temperatures in these forest communities. Some species search out the dense conifer communities in the winter where temperatures are warmer and snow depths are reduced. Yes, simple common sense tells us trees, forests, play a major role in climatic conditions and global warming thereby, alerting us to important role deforestation will play in our future. Trees provide a long list of vital elements we require for life and changes that are occurring daily including; climatic conditions, temperatures, storm intensities, soil erosion, food, medicines, storage of carbon dioxide, production of oxygen, rain fall, and the list goes on! DIVERSITY IS THE KEY TO LIFE ON PLANET EARTH!