10 things you didn’t know about trees

Trees are amazing. These complicated, wonderful lifeforms have been on our planet for thousands of years and they’re integral to our survival. But did you know that …..

  1. There are more than 3 trillion trees on earth – that’s 422 times as many trees as people! But at the beginning of human civilisation there were 6 trillion. We’ve destroyed around half the planet’s trees by clearing land for agriculture, urban development and more.
  2. Trees have only been growing for 10% of our earth’s history. The earth is 4.5 billion years old, but larger plants didn’t appear until 420 million years ago and it took even longer for trees more than 3 feet tall to evolve.
  3. Trees can ‘talk’ to each other and even share nutrients using special fungi on their roots called mycorrhiza. Trees in forests are connected in giants webs that allow them to communicate and share vital resources like water and even carbon.
  4. There are around 60,000 species of trees in the world – and about 300 are critically endangered. More than half of all tree species only exist in a single country too, so it’s vital that we protect them from threats like deforestation and disease.
  5. A tree’s leaves aren’t naturally always green. A chemical called chlorophyll makes them green and during the autumn, less sunlight means less chlorophyll is produced. That’s why leaves turn red, yellow, orange and even purple during the colder months.
  6. Trees release chemicals called phytoncides and research has shown that when we breathe them in it can reduce blood pressure, lower anxiety and even increase our pain threshold. Trees can make us happier, more relaxed and more creative.
  7. As many as 5 billion trees are cut down every year for agriculture and some estimates put this figure as high as 15 billion. We need every tree we have for the sake of ours and our planet’s future.
  8. A recent survey found that only 1% of families in Britain could identify our most common trees.
  9. 2% of the UK’s land is covered by ‘ancient woodland,’ meaning woodland that has existed since the 1600s in England and Wales (and since the 1750s in Scotland).
  10. The UK’s oldest tree is thought to be a yew in Scotland, which is estimated to be an incredible 3,000 years old.

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If you’ve twigged the benefits of tree planting and conservation and would like to learn more about ways to live a little more sustainably, including products that use recycled paper then download our free app.

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