How Trees Promote Biodiversity

June 09, 2016 3 min read

Trees Promote Biodiversity

Do you have a favorite tree?  You know, one that stands out amongst all the rest?  Perhaps it’s in your backyard, or you pass by it on the way to school or work. 

Despite having a love for all trees, for me there is one that just seems stick out.  It’s on a road that I have the fortune of traveling along on a weekly basis, and last year as I went down that road from one week to the next, something changed.

All of a sudden I started seeing stumps where there used to be trees.  One tree after another, gone, cut down.  Part of me feared that my tree would have disappeared just like the rest, but as I approached its spot, I saw that it was alive and well.

So where did the trees go?  Unfortunately, an insect that is an invasive species to this area infested the ash trees, and they all had to be cut down. 

Why did this happen?  While there are many reason why and how this could have happened, the simplest way of explaining it is that the ecosystem was hit with a virus, and it wasn’t strong enough to fight it off.

You see our environment is a living system – just like human bodies.  It takes a healthy system to fight off viruses, and resist foreign germs that enter.  And just like the human system requires a strong level of gut flora to stay healthy, our natural environment needs a strong and diverse level of flora and fauna.

This is where biodiversity comes in.  You might also hear it referred to as biological diversity.  It has three components or facets to it:

  1. The variety within each species that exists;
  2. The variety of different species that exists; and
  3. The variety of different ecosystems that exists.

While trees rely on biodiversity to stay healthy, they also play an important role in promoting it.  Think about the amount of life that depends on trees.  Right off the bat (pun intended), I can think of 5 different specie types: birds, squirrels, ants, spiders, and fungi.  Each of these general species (with hundreds or even thousand subspecies) relies on trees to get through their daily tasks.

What would happen to these creatures if the trees were not there to provide nutrients and shelter?  Would they survive?  And if the health of our environment is dependent on a diverse ecosystem, and we are dependent on a healthy environment for our own wellbeing…you see where this is going right?

If there is one of the six pillars that I can say best displays interconnectedness, it would have to be that of biodiversity.  One part of the ecosystem feeds another part of the ecosystem, and the world keeps spinning round. 

So how do we ensure that we have biodiversity?  Planting trees is a good start.  However, in the name of biodiversity, let’s make sure to plant a good variety, and preferably ones that are native to your geographic area. 

There you have it, pillar number 3 of planting trees.  Sign up with your email, and stay tuned for the next blog where we’ll further explore how trees promote good health.      

In the meantime, comment below on your favorite tree or specie!