What would the world be like without three trillion trees?

By Brent Frazier, mayor City of Pelican Rapids 

Trees are among the most prominent and critical organisms on this earth.

We all know that trees are more than just a part of our natural landscape, but that trees also perform very important functions in nature and thus they are truly beneficial for the environment.

Trees have sometimes been labeled as the lungs of the earth because they remove the pollutants (such as carbon dioxide) in the air by absorbing those pollutants in their leaves, and then producing oxygen by the process of photosynthesis.

The trade-off of carbon dioxide for oxygen is beneficial for the environment and the health of every living creature.

The above are just some of the important factors that trees provide to nature and mankind, and you probably have many more to add to this list.

Over the centuries, deforestation has taken place to provide sites for housing developments, agriculture land and roadways. Many years ago, much of these trees that were cut down were never replaced. 

In the past few decades, we have learned that when trees are cut down, they need to be replaced by the planting of other trees. This practice has greatly increased, but many more trees should still be replanted worldwide. 

The countries with the most trees in ranking order are; Russia, Canada, Brazil, United States and China.

There are many statistics regarding the world’s tree inventory and deforestation total numbers. In 2015, it was estimated that our planet has 3.04 trillion trees, that 15.3 billion trees are cut down every year and that 46% of the world’s trees have been cleared over the past 12,000 years. Thus there is much work to be done to keep planting more trees. 

A major organization that has labored to spread this message is the Arbor Day Foundation which is located in Lincoln, NE. 

The Arbor Day Foundation not only seeks donations for tree plantings, but they also continue to promote Arbor Day which is observed on the last Friday in April, therefore this year’s Arbor Day will be observed on Friday, April 30, 2021.

Locally, the City of Pelican Rapids has been recognized for many years as a “Tree City USA” participant and recipient. This distinction has been accomplished by partnering with the Arbor Day Foundation for the planning, planting and care of trees in our city. 

The Viking Elementary School 6th grade class has also been very loyal to the planting of trees by their students. Several pine tree seedlings have been planted on Pelican Rapids School properties and many seedlings have gone home with the students to be planted on their family property.

This tree seedling planting practice has been handed down over the years from retired 6th grade teachers to current 6th grade teachers. This author has a pine tree in his yard that was planted in 1989 when his daughter was instructed by Mr. Alan Grothe. The current teacher that now is very instrumental in promoting Arbor Day and the planting of trees is Mr. Jon Moe.

When planting a tree, we need to follow the proper tree planting guidelines and make sure that the tree is planted in a proper location as not to interfere with structures, overhead transmission lines and other trees when it grows to mature size. 

When digging the hole to plant the tree, we need to make a telephone call to Gopher State One Call to make sure that there are no underground utilities beneath the ground where we plan to plant the tree. Gopher State One call can be reached  at 1.800.252.1166. 

As a community, as a city, as a school and as individuals, we all can do our part to promote Arbor Day by the planting of trees. By doing so, we will reap the benefits of better health, cleaner air, lower energy costs, future material supplies and a better environment for mankind and all living creatures. 

Benefits of trees 

Trees not only are beneficial for our health, they also perform other functions such as:

• A tree’s root system slows down water runoff.

• A tree’s root system prevents soil erosion.

• Trees are a buffer for noise pollution.

• Trees help to cool our homes by providing shade.

• Trees save us money on energy costs.

• Trees increase our property values.

• Tree bark has provided the ingredients of medicines. 

• Trees can help us find our way in the woods (moss grows on the north side).

• Trees provide food for wildlife.

• Trees provide shelter and homes for insects, birds and small & large animals.

• Trees provide for heating purposes.

• Trees provide us with the materials for structures and housing.

• Trees are beautiful.

The above are just some of the important factors that trees provide to nature and mankind, and you probably have many more to add to this list.