Trees are considered as carbon sink. They release oxygen and inhale carbon dioxide. They evolved before the evolution of man. They are here since the ages and remain here for ever. They serve as ecosystem service station. They provide shelter to many number of birds, insects, microorganisms etc. It has plenty of uses viz timber, plywood, food, fruit etc. It helps in foreign exchange and in turn have a major role in GDP of particular country. Besides various uses, they help in balancing and maintaining ecosystem of particular area or region as a whole.
The association of trees with humans, insects and birds is age old and are totally interlinked. Humans fell the tree and help in reproducing the tree by planting seedling. Likewise insects help in cross pollination and pollen dispersal. Birds consume fruits and disperse seeds at far places. And in turn live on trees and build their nest. Many of the animals are considered arboreal and they live on trees. For the strongest animals trees serve as resting place but for the weak they serve as hideouts during attacks. Even today many of the aborigines/tribes live on trees.
In fact, trees act as ecosystem service station. They provide various ecosystem services viz regulatory (Nitrogen fixing, carbon dioxide sequestration, climate regulation), provisioning (Timber, food, medicine, fruit etc), supporting (Preservation of biodiversity, movement of nutrients) and cultural services (protection of cultural heritage, enhancing scenic beauty, recreation and tourism opportunity). It is true that if a region bears good vegetation the weather at that place will be constant. They help in beautifying cities.
As an important ecosystem service it provide shade. During the months of March-May, the northen part of India experiences extremities in temperatures. The temperature rise up to 48o Celsius. There will be common occurrence of dry wind Loo which is dangerous to human health.
People used to cover their head to protect themselves. Even animals are no exception for this, sometimes cows, goats and buffaloes, were covered with wet clothes to keep them cool. I came across a beautiful scene at Mahoba district in Uttar Pradesh, India wherein, in the afternoon at 2.00 pm the human, goats, buffaloes were taking rest under Neem tree (Azardircahta indica). They were protecting themselves from the scorching heat. Indeed, trees are here to rescue everyone. They are really a ecosystem service station. It purifies air, controls pollution, soil erosion, helps in infiltration, checks runoff, provides everything from whatever the man required from his existence to exit.
Blogpost and photo submitted by Sridhar K.B (India) – sriaranya(at)gmail.com
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