By Rachel Kappler, Forest Health Coordinator
March 21st is not only the spring solstice but also International Day of Forests, a day of awareness and celebration of our forests started by the United Nations General Assembly. This year’s theme is, “Forest Restoration, a path to recovery and well-being”. You can read more here.
Forest restoration is needed worldwide, you may have heard about the relentless deforestation of the Amazon, the desertification events in Africa, and the loss of trees from invasive pests & diseases. Reforestation or forest restoration is the process of adding trees back into a location for improvement of environmental processes, such as rainwater flow, and reforestation also increases biodiversity; for every tree species supports the development of other forest species, such as when a large oak tree provides food and shelter for squirrels, birds and beetles.
There are climate describers for major forest types (temperate, tropical and boreal) that can be split into many more specific forest types based on species composition (ash-elm-maple forests or ponderosa pine-douglas fir forests), all of which can be reforested with different degrees of success based on the biology of the trees. What they all have in common is that the more involved the local community is with the reforestation the more likely success ensues, for trees need people and people need trees. Forests have a positive impact on people. The well-being of ourselves and our environment is enhanced from trees. Their shade and impact on our respiratory and mental health are a few of the very simple but important ways trees improve our well-being.
Planting a tree is a well-studied process and an easy one if you follow some simple steps. Holden Forests & Gardens has guides available for you to make tree planting simple and are asking that everyone take the People for Trees pledge to plant and care for a tree. The People for Trees initiative aims to plant 15,000 new trees in Northeast Ohio by 2025. Every tree counts, for example, a single mature sugar maple can produce about ½ gallon of syrup each year, live up to 400 years and sequester thousands of pounds of CO2 over its lifespans.