Now that Thanksgiving is in the rearview mirror, all our attention is focused on the holiday season, especially with respect to gift giving. As it should be, much attention and Christmas day photos will focus on children shouting with glee as they open up the gifts that they find under the Christmas tree or wherever the holiday celebration takes place. While the little ones take center stage, this time of the year is also a perfect time to remember those who cannot be with us in person, only in memory. And what better way to honor those loved ones than to plant a memorial gift tree in their honor. The planting of a memorial tree has a number of benefits.
Memorial Trees are the Ultimate Green Gift
In this day and age, except for the kids, no one really needs or want more stuff. With wrapping paper and all the packaging, the landfill operators are the only winners. Plus, after the initial excitement, most of the gifts that are received are found in a closet a short time later. Planting of a tree, on the other hand, is a super green gift, one that will last long after the holiday season is over. And with a number of our tribute design options, including our animated eCard and handmade seed paper card, the tribute that is received is all natural and super environmentally friendly – sustainably-sourced and produced, and made from low-impact materials that won’t leave a dent on the environment.
Memorial Trees Help Fight Global Warming
While one can argue the degree to which climate change is affecting our earth, it is pretty much documented that global warming has been taking place over the last number of decades. The increased burning of fossil fuels coupled with the chopping down of forests has caused temperatures to rise on average around the world. The planting of memorial gift trees helps make a difference. Trees provide many benefits including easing soil erosion which helps clean our water sources and increasing the number of trees support biodiversity, helping animals and insects survive in our local communities and around the earth. But most importantly, trees fight global warming by removing carbon dioxide from the air, storing carbon in the trees and soil, and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere.
Memorial Trees Show You Care
When a loved one passes away, their memory lives on through the impact they had on the lives of others and their community. Whether the passing is recent or took place many years ago, the holidays are always a good time to remember and honor that person as this season is a time to spend time with and think about family. Planting a tree in memory of a family member, or someone special in your life, provides a meaningful expression to show you care. The tree has a lasting impact, growing stronger every year while being a majestic and powerful living tribute for generations to come.
https://www.thegiftedtree.com/wp-content/uploads/TGT-logo-header.png00Doug Bellhttps://www.thegiftedtree.com/wp-content/uploads/TGT-logo-header.pngDoug Bell2022-12-02 17:10:252022-12-02 18:24:57Memorial Gift Trees- The Ultimate Green Gift to Fight Global Warming this Holiday Season
World Mental Health Day is Sunday, October 10, 2021. The overall objective of World Mental Health Day is to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to mobilize efforts in support of mental health. Mental illness and its consequences come in many forms and has major effects on peoples’ lives worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly exacerbated the negative ramifications associated with mental illness and media attention has brought this destructive problem into better focus. While there is much written about mental health and many debates on ways to improve ones’ mental health, it is pretty universally accepted that trees have a positive impact on ones’ mental health and being around trees is good for our mental health and social well-being.
I touched upon the benefits of trees during the global pandemic in a prior blog and that trees can help provide a stress relief during these uncertain times. But the benefits of the forests was well known even before COVID-19 was part of our everyday lexicon. The Japanese even coined a term for it: shinrin-yoku. It means taking in the forest atmosphere or “forest bathing,” and the Japanese ministry encourages people to visit forests to relieve stress and improve health. Further research in the field has identified not only the well-known benefits of trees – producing the oxygen we breathe and sequestering carbon dioxide to help negate the affects of climate change – but many health benefits as well.
Trees Improve Health in Urban Areas
Being subjected to noise, pollution, and overcrowding in urban areas, individuals in cities suffer from higher rates of almost every mental health problem as compared to those who live in the country. Frederick Olmsted, who designed New York’s Central Park, and is considered the grand-master of landscape architecture, understood the importance of trees in designing his parks around the country. While open green space has value, it is the presence of trees, and its canopy cover, that really provides a stress relief for city dwellers. Trees, as he reflects, are simple and natural but “touch us so quietly that we are hardly conscious of them.”
Trees Help Reduce Stress
Spending time around trees reduces stress, lowers blood pressure and improves mood. While it is always beneficial to participate in active exercise, simply sitting and looking at trees has shown to reduce blood pressure as well as the stress-related hormones. Even those with a “green” view from a hospital recovery room following surgery recover faster, have shorter postoperative stays, take fewer painkillers, and have slightly fewer postsurgical complications compared to those who did not have a similar view or no view at all.
Other Ways Trees Make Us Healthier
Exposure to trees boosts our immune system which helps protect us as we fight off disease. Spending time in nature also helps us focus, stay calmer and be more patient in anxiety-producing situations. Even in children, studies show that young ones who spend time in natural outdoor environments have a reduction in attention fatigue, and those diagnosed with ADHD show a reduction in related symptoms. Finally, exposure to tree and forests helps improve sleep and leads to increased energy levels.
Even as awareness of mental health becomes more prevalent, and promoting action at an earlier stage become more common, unfortunately there are still a staggering number of lives lost to conditions associated with mental health. The Gifted Tree makes it possible to plant a tree in memory of someone whose life was lost due to mental illness. The tree planting in a U.S. National Forest or in one of 30 countries worldwide is accompanied by a beautiful, personal tribute sent to the family which will show you care and help in the grieving process. The Gifted Tree has also partnered with Hilinski’s Hope so that you can designate that the memorial tree be planted in its grove in California and Washington, and part of the proceeds is donated to this fine organization whose goal is to educate, advocate, and eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness, especially in students. Read the Hilinski’s Hope story here.
As we participate in World Mental Health Day, challenge your beliefs and possibly rethink the way you look at mental health. Support others who are going through challenging times and engage in ways to boost your mental health by finding ways to decompress and relax. Finally, find ways to give, whether it is by planting a tree in memory of someone who was lost to mental health disease or volunteering your time to an organization that works with those suffering from the seven major mental health conditions: Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Psychosis, Eating Disorders, Depression, PTSD, and Addiction/Substance Use Disorder. Hopefully, your actions can help bring hope to the 1 in 5 Americans living with a mental health condition.
https://www.thegiftedtree.com/wp-content/uploads/iStock-1256826512-1.jpg600900Doug Bellhttps://www.thegiftedtree.com/wp-content/uploads/TGT-logo-header.pngDoug Bell2021-09-29 11:22:472022-02-11 13:23:07Mental Health Trees
In a 2019 blog, I introduced our The Gifted Tree family to our Trees for a Cause tree donation program. As I explained back then, you, our customer can donate to plant trees through our program. The Gifted Tree’s Trees for a Cause charity donation program is a win-win-win partnership. Win 1 = Connect on a personal level with someone important to you and show them you care. Win 2 = By planting a tree, you are helping the earth, counteracting the devastating effects of forest fires and climate change. Win 3 = Directly help the hard work of a worthwhile cause by planting your gift tree in a charity specific “Giving Grove,” located in a U.S. National Forest. When you choose our Trees for a Cause program, The Gifted Tree will donate 10% of your purchase price to that organization to help fund their valuable programs.
Also at that time, I introduced our first charity partnership with Our Military Kids. Since 2004, Our Military Kids has empowered military kids by funding sports, arts, and other enrichment activities when their parents are deployed overseas with the National Guard or Reserves or recovering from severe injuries sustained in a post-9/11 overseas mission. Now, I want to introduce you to three additional charities we have partnered with in our Trees for a Cause program.
As has been well-documented in the news, 2020 was a challenging year caused by the pandemic and getting personal protection equipment to first line responders and safety personnel was a challenge. Direct Relief is a humanitarian organization, active in all 50 states and more than 80 countries, with a mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies. As part of its COVID-19 pandemic relief efforts, Direct Relief is working in overdrive to get protective gear and critical care medications to as many health workers as possible, as quickly as possible, with emergency deliveries leaving daily for medical facilities across the U.S.
Direct Relief is focusing on the four key areas of activity:
Providing assistance in the form of personal protective equipment for health workers.
Building an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) medication model and mobilizing private resources to build a stockpile to assist with anticipated spike in ICU patients.
Boosting support to safety-net facilities to address existing chronic gaps that are likely to grow.
Collaborating with infectious disease epidemiologists, technology companies and public agencies to use aggregated mobility data to support the COVID-19 response.
As the Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to increase, the work of Direct Relief has again become important in the fight to get equipment and supplies to where they are needed to fight this disease.
Mental illness has been prominent in the news lately, especially as it applies to athletes. Probably the most recent famous news story involved Simone Biles and her withdrawal from certain Olympic events in Tokyo due to mental challenges. This follows Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal from the French Open earlier in 2021 citing bouts of depression and not being in a good mental state. Mental depression not only affects star athletes, but athletes and individuals at all levels.
Hilinski’s Hope Foundation is a non-profit organization formed to promote awareness and education of mental health and wellness for student athletes. The Foundation’s mission is to educate, advocate, and eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness, while funding programs that provide student-athletes with the tools and resources that support their mental health and wellness.
The Hilinski’s Hope Foundation (H3H) was founded in 2018 by Mark and Kym Hilinski to honor the life of their son Tyler. Tyler was a top quarterback at every level and played collegiately for Division 1 Washington State University where he wore the uniform with number 3. Many describe Tyler as the happiest person in any room and on any field. He always had a smile on his face and kind words for his friends and teammates. Tyler will best be remembered for his play in the Boise State game. Ty was put into the game in the 4th quarter with less than 10 minutes to play and WSU was down 31-10. Three overtimes later, Tyler threw the game winning touchdown to Jamal Morrow. WSU fans rushed the field and the WSU players hoisted Tyler on their shoulders. From that moment on, Ty became known as the “Comeback Kid”.
Although Tyler always believed in happy endings and that good was around every corner, Tyler simply couldn’t endure the pain he must have been suffering. Just a few months later Tyler died by suicide on January 16, 2018. Tyler never showed any signs of depression or struggle.
H3H helps colleges and universities save lives, eliminate stigma, and scale mental wellness programs for student-athletes. H3H does this by sharing Tyler’s story, connecting students with mental health resources, and assisting universities to institutionalize best practices. H3H envisions a world where mental health is supported in parity with physical health and equally prioritized by universities as connected to athletic performance.
LA Family Housing
LA Family Housing helps people transition out of homelessness and poverty through a continuum of housing enriched with supportive services. Their vision is to be a leader in providing solutions to end homelessness, employing evidence-based best practices to achieve its goals. From its humble beginnings in a motel in North Hollywood, pictured above, it now operates 26 properties of temporary, permanently affordable, and permanent supportive housing across the Los Angeles metropolitan area.
Every individual has a unique life experience that defines what type of support they need. With these needs in mind, LA Family Housing connects participants to the right type of housing for them, and surrounds them with supportive services that are proven to foster long-term housing stability. Through its outreach and engagement process, LAFH helps thousands of people transition out of homelessness and retain long-term housing stability.
In 2016, the Fiesta Motel was demolished, making room for the new headquarters of L.A. Family Housing. The new facility includes a state-of-the-art health clinic, 50 units of permanent supportive housing, bridge housing, and a hub that draws scattered public and private homeless services into a single location.
Plant a Tree. Plant a Hope.
Whether donating a tree in memory or in celebration, The Gifted Tree will not only plant your tree(s), helping the world fight deforestation and the devastating affects of global warming, but also help one of these great organizations. It is easy to do — on the order page, just click the box of the Trees for a Cause program you would like to support. We will plant the tree(s) and make the donation. And stay tuned, as The Gifted Tree is working on adding several new organizations to our Trees for a Cause tree donation program.
A memorial gift tree is a powerful remembrance gift. A celebration gift tree is a memorable way to acknowledge a milestone event. Not only do these plantings honor a person or pet, but it also gives the earth a gift too by helping reforest areas ravaged by forest fires, deforestation and climate change. The Gifted Tree understands that you, the customer, have a number of company options that can plant your gift tree and announce the donation to the recipient or to the honoree’s family. We have occasionally been asked the question, “Why should we use The Gifted Tree for our memorial or celebration tree plantings?” We gave the question a great deal of thought and came up with seven reasons why The Gifted Tree is different and makes us the best option for planting your gift tree and sending a tribute card or animated eCard.
Reason 1. The Gifted Tree can plant your gift tree in multiple locations worldwide.
While our competitors give you options of planting locations only in United States forests, The Gifted Tree can plant your gift tree in 30+ countries on six continents around the globe. The entire planet needs trees, not just the United States. We have all read about forest fires ravaging Australia, Spain and Portugal. Also, the clearcutting of forests in the Amazon to expand agricultural land availability has been well documented. And the cutting down of trees in Asia and Africa so that families have firewood to cook their next meal is an ever-present actuality. Each of our planting projects around the world has its own goal, explained on the website. While we certainly plant a lot of trees in the U.S., and love to do so, the person you are honoring might have a connection to an international country and makes your commemorative gift even more special. That is why we offer you global options. (By the way, the country where your gift tree is planted is noted on the tribute certificate!)
Reason 2. The Gifted Tree sends unique, creative, and memorable certificates.
Most of our competitors send a generic card or a pdf that you can print out at home on your computer, both likely to quickly end up in the trash can. The Gifted Tree sends tributes that will stand out and ensure you connect on a personal level with someone important to you, as well as likely to be kept long-term and even displayed in the home. Our tributes are hand-crafted with a personal touch to make sure you stand out. Tributes come in different price points (all very affordable) and no matter which one you choose, they are suitable for display on a desk, bookshelf, or mantelpiece. As a bonus, each tribute includes a handmade seed paper heart that can be planted (instructions are printed on the back) to grow a small patch of wildflowers. A complete thoughtful and memorable package.
Reason 3. The Gifted Tree helps you find the right words to write on the tribute certificate.
Ever struggle to find just the right words, be it a sad or happy occasion? We all do from time to time. We can take a little weight off your shoulders by offering a range of heartfelt message options for you to include on your gift tree certificate. Just click on the one that feels right for you and that is what we will print on your certificate. Or if inspiration does strike, you can write your own. Either way, your voice and sentiments shine through showing your support, providing comfort, and making a lasting impact in a unique and different way.
Reason 4. Quick Turn Around
The Gifted Tree realizes that getting the tribute to the recipient in a timely fashion is vital. You want them to know that you are thinking of them. That is why we produce and get your tribute in the mail quickly. Usually your order is completed within one business day, and many times the same day we receive your order. Of course, for a speedier delivery, our premium animated digital eCards do the trick awesomely and quickly.
Reason 5. The Gifted Tree offers virtual tours of the planting project areas.
Not only does The Gifted Tree plant your gift tree to help restore fire-damaged or climate change affected forests, or replant trees in impoverished communities, we provide more. Each of our tributes contains an insert explaining how the recipient can learn more about the planting project where their gift tree is planted (which is indicated on the tribute certificate). Additionally, there is a link to Bing earth maps allowing those with a computer or smart phone the opportunity to virtually view the general area of their tree planting. We want you to know how your trees is making a lasting difference in the world.
Reason 6. Superb customer service
When we started planting gift trees in 2013, one thing that struck me was that many of our competitors did not have a listed phone number contact or chat feature. The Gifted Tree offers both. If you would like to speak to a human, our toll-free number (800-984-2101) is listed at the top of every one of our website pages. We are available to personally answer questions so that you are comfortable with what you are ordering. If a phone call is not your thing, The Gifted Tree has a chat function available during business hours, and of course the ability to send us an email, which we will answer promptly. Our customer comments focus on our superb customer service and further highlight why we are the “Company With a Personal Touch.”
Reason 7. The Gifted Tree is a trusted and accredited organization.
We are a member of the Better Business Bureau and meet their rigorous standards to be a trusted organization. We realize in this day and age it is important to know that we are doing what we claim to be doing. We only want you to expect the best and feel comfortable in ordering from us. I am not aware of any of our competitors being able to boast of the same.
There you have it, the seven reasons why The Gifted tree is different and better than our competitors. We ask you to put us to the test! I know you will be impressed.
P.S. Of course while putting this list together, we came up with a few bonus reasons:
Optional card enclosure available when you want to add a personal message that might not be right to have on the certificate.
Our Trees for a Cause Grove allows you to not only plant a tree but have part of the proceeds of your order benefit a specific charity.
Finally, our certificates are hand-created by a human, not a computer. A second set of eyes, so to speak. Therefore, on the chance that there is a spelling or grammatical error on your order, we can correct it before sending (or contact you to verify.) And, we arrange the certificate in the best looking way because we know this gift represents you!
Get Started With The Gifted Tree
If you’re ready to get started with selecting your next gift tree for that special occasion or as a way to remember a loved one, look no further than The Gifted Tree. Have more questions? Visit our FAQ page to learn more or contact us today to get help.
https://www.thegiftedtree.com/wp-content/uploads/Forest-5-Small.jpg13662000Doug Bellhttps://www.thegiftedtree.com/wp-content/uploads/TGT-logo-header.pngDoug Bell2021-02-24 13:37:192021-04-05 22:19:427 Reasons We Are Different (and Better)
2020 has been a difficult year in many ways and most of us won’t be sad when the ball drops on New Year’s Eve, ushering in the new year and hope for a better one ahead. There have been many stresses associated with the COVID-9 pandemic and an election year to boot. There have also been unprecedented stresses on the earth and our environment as climate change has wreaked havoc around the world. Forest fires of great size have occurred in all corners of the globe, and storms and other natural disasters have challenged all of us living on the planet. Yet, with all the devastation, there have been good environmental news stories from 2020 that can bring a smile to our face. Stories that your tree planting projects have helped us realize that there was some good news in 2020. And while world-wide forest devastation is an ongoing issue, let’s focus on three tree planting projects that you and The Gifted Tree have been involved in that have made a positive impact in the past year along with two other feel good tree-related stories.
Despite the challenges of COVID-19, our planting project in India planted many fruit trees which are directly impacting impoverished communities providing long-term fruit harvesting opportunities to farmers and rural villages. As one of the world’s largest food producers, it is an unfortunate irony that India is also home to the largest population of hungry people in the world. As people have lost their jobs and incomes due to the pandemic, food insecurity has skyrocketed among those already vulnerable.
Especially impacted are small farmers across India, who face droughts, floods, fluctuating markets, and now a pandemic. Meanwhile, many water sources are drying up as rivers are diverted, and climate change brings more extreme and less predictable weather patterns. Trees once shaded the landscape and kept soil and moisture in place, but in many parts of rural India, trees have historically been cleared for the expansion of farmland. Today, people are realizing the many benefits of planting trees to help green India and combat hunger.
With the help of dedicated local tree ambassadors, farmers are given fruit trees and encouraged to practice organic and sustainable farming practices. In this way, planting trees helps foster environmental consciousness and sustainability in rural communities. Trees planted include lemon, guava, custard apple, gooseberry, pomegranate, jack fruit, wood apple, and tamarind. All are native trees that produce a high yield of fruit seasonally or year-round. As these trees mature and yield fruit, they ensure food for local people during difficult times, acting as an insurance policy during times of drought or pandemic-induced insecurity.
You don’t read too much about wildfires in Florida, but they happen. The main objective of this project was to restore longleaf pine forests. Restoration following a fire is essential in restoring the ecosystem, and allowing the land to return to its once thriving state. At one time longleaf pine forests could be found throughout much of the United States, specifically extending from Virginia to Florida and from Louisiana to Texas. Today, only small patches of these trees are found in these areas.
This tree is an evergreen conifer. It gets its name quite clearly from the way the tree looks as it has long needle-like leaves. These trees can survive many different terrains, but they prefer sandy, dry, acidic soils which is perfect for Florida! Longleaf pine ecosystems are some of the most biodiverse in North America. Many animals, including the rare the Red Cockaded Woodpecker will benefit from reforestation as they require forested ecosystems, and access to an abundance of resources.
The Gifted Tree was involved in another planting project to restore trees after fires in another area where you don’t read about forest fires, Canada. This time in British Columbia, where the project is focused on reforestation in the wake of the 2017 Hanceville Fire which ravaged more than 590,000 acres of forest. The Douglas Fir that was destroyed in the fire has a difficult time regenerating naturally. By planting Firs and other diverse species, including lodgepole pine, hybrid spruce, ponderosa pine, and trembling aspen, this area of forest is being regenerated quickly. The species diversity included is designed to create a more climate-resistant forest.
Douglas-fir needs live seed trees present to distribute seed. Because of the intensity of the fire there are no live seed trees for many kilometers in some places. Without tree planting, it would likely take many decades to grow back to forested conditions. Planting will greatly speed up the process of returning the forest to its former glory.
Wildfire events commonly cause soil instability and erosion, due to the removal of the top litter layer. A severe fire can also physically alter soil properties making them repel water, which can further exasperate run off and soil erosion. Reforesting fire impacted areas promotes soil stabilization via roots and slows down the percolation of water to the soil via leaves.
4. Self-powered Wildfire Detector
Scientists say they have devised a new, less expensive way to detect forest fires. A way that could alert authorities earlier and hopefully be able to quell a fire before it ravages out of control. The new prototype fire detector doesn’t need batteries; it is powered by a “triboelectric generator” that harnesses small motions to produce energy, generating electricity from the slightest swinging of tree branches. The device requires a breeze to provide power, but fires create air currents, meaning power will likely be readily available. The technology is both fire- and waterproof, and because it has no batteries, there is no risk of leaking harmful metals.
At this point there are only prototypes devices which need to be field tested. But it is an exciting development as the device has several advantages over current fire surveillance approaches. Not only would it be cheaper and easier to operate in the long run, but it would provide more continuous monitoring than satellites, which often appear only periodically over specific parts of Earth. And, unlike satellites, the system would not be blinded by local weather conditions or the smoke and dust of wildfires. Triboelectric nanogenerators have revolutionized tech—from creating self-powered heart-rate monitors to battery-free intruder detectors—and the new device has the potential to do the same with forest fire monitoring. Stay tuned!
5. Using Drones to Plant Trees
Fact – we need to massively reforest the planet and we need to do it in a short amount of time.
Possible solution – Using AI (artificial intelligence) and drones to help with the task.
How does it work? – First, the replanting areas are identified using a combination of satellite images and drone-collected data. Specialized planting drones take to the skies loaded with seedpods containing a germinated seed and nutrients. Once in position, the drones use pressurized air to fire the seeds into the ground – at 120 pods per minute. The seedpods penetrate the earth and start to grow once activated by water.
Experts estimate that using this new technology would enable governments to restore forests much faster than planting by hand and at a much cheaper price. And because the companies involved choose native species and uses its seed pods to protect the seeds from drought, the process doesn’t typically require work from humans to keep the seedlings alive. This technology has the potential to help the world reach ambitious goals to restore forests to stem biodiversity loss and fight climate change.
Exciting news in the tree front in 2020 that can bring a smile to our faces and provide hope in what has been a tough year. Come on 2021!
https://www.thegiftedtree.com/wp-content/uploads/Happy-Hikers.jpg14142121Doug Bellhttps://www.thegiftedtree.com/wp-content/uploads/TGT-logo-header.pngDoug Bell2020-12-31 18:23:172021-02-25 15:43:43Five Positive Tree Stories from 2020
The Gifted Tree has been planting tens of thousands of gift trees since 2013 making it is easy to forget that not everyone understands exactly what a gift tree is. The fact is we get a number of customers contacting us to ask exactly that question: What is a gift tree? We figured that if several of you are calling or chatting asking about it every week, there probably are many more out there with that same question. Thus, this blog will answer that question along with related questions that have been asked over the years.
In a nutshell, a gift tree is a sapling tree that will be planted in the forest location of your choosing. While a gift tree is a meaningful way to honor or celebrate people and pets, a physical tree is not delivered. Instead, one chooses one of The Gifted Tree’s unique card tributes or animated eCards to send, that is personalized with your custom message announcing the planting and notifying the recipient of your gift. A gift tree is a way to create a lasting, living legacy while at the same time helping combat the effects of forest fires and climate change. The ultimate “green” gift, giving the world a gift, too.
Sapling versus seedling
Many of us use those terms interchangeably and in reality, there is not much difference. I like to say a sapling is a slightly more mature seedling, just like an toddler is to a newborn baby. Technically, a seedling is the young plant arising newly from the seed. It is the first stage of the growth cycle of a tree. Hence, the seedling is very tender and succulent. It has very small leaves attached and is very vulnerable to animals such as deer. A sapling, on the other hand, is a young tree that is less than one year old. It is the stage following the seedling stage. Saplings have little trunks of 1 to 6 inches in diameter and have more adult looking leaves. Similar to a seedling, a sapling is also a juvenile life stage of a tree. A sapling can originate from a seed, or through a vegetative part such as cutting.
As was gone into in-depth in a previous blog, https://www.thegiftedtree.com/reforestation-how-to-reforest-after-a-forest-fire/, your gift tree planted by The Gifted Tree starts out as a seed, but is planted as a sapling. These seeds were collected from the area where these seeds turned saplings will eventually be planted, usually a year or so later after having been nurtured in a nursery through the seedling to sapling stage. The reason for this is the sapling grown from the seeds have an extremely high survival rate because they are genetically ready for the climate, altitude and soil conditions of the area.
In summary, seedlings and saplings are two juvenile growth stages of a plant that will ultimately become a mature tree. Your gift tree from The Gifted Tree is a sapling because quite simply, it is best suited for long-term survivability and able to endure for generations to come.
Most popular gift tree reason
The most popular gift tree reason is planting a memorial tree in memory of a loved one or for someone close to you that has lost a loved one. A memorial tree not only can honor a person, but is a meaningful way to memorialize a loyal and faithful pet. A memorial tree is an epic tribute to a life well lived, and not only aids in the reforestation of areas ravaged by forest fire, disease or climate change, it also helps provide comfort to an individual or family at a time of grieving.
And also remember, planting a gift tree is an ideal way to celebrate life events, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, teachers, employee recognition, new births, graduations and holidays. A gift tree fits every occasion – helping you connect on a personal level with someone important to you and acknowledge these important milestones.
More Gift Tree FAQs specific to The Gifted Tree
Where is the gif tree planted?
The gift tree is planted in the forest location of your choosing. Unlike other gift tree businesses, The Gifted Tree plants trees around the world, not just in the United States. While there are numerous national and state forest locations to choose from in the U.S., you also can choose from 30+ other planting locations worldwide. No matter the planting location you finally select, the tree is planted by one of our trusted non-profit planting partners and will help combat the effects of forest fires, disease and climate change. There is also an educational component to the gift tree plantings, especially those planted in developing nations. Not only are we planting trees in these regions, but farmers are also being trained in best tree planting methods, nursery preparation, farm conservation and finance, and irrigation management. Most of these individuals have no prior knowledge of proper land management techniques, but this training will be a significant factor in the fight against deforestation. They also learn methods and techniques to protect trees to withstand local climatic conditions and thus help to ensure the newly planted trees’ long-term survival.
Are gift trees marked with plaques?
Unfortunately, this is not possible. Your tree is planted among thousands of other gift trees and there is no plaque designating your gift tree, but an official register is maintained in our office. Take comfort in the knowledge that while your gift tree is not designated on the ground with a plaque, it does become part of the much larger forest ecosystem.
Can I specify the species of gift tree to be planted?
While the types of trees planted at a particular project are listed in the planting location details on our website, you are not able to designate the type of tree to plant. We leave it up to the professionals on site to determine the best tree to plant to achieve the project’s goals. Silviculturists (scientists who study how to grow trees) decide on the type of tree that will grow best in an area, and the best time of year to plant. The objectives of the silvicultural prescriptions for planting sites include the reintroduction of tree species that were originally in that particular ecosystem in order to improve the resilience and resistance of the forest to fire, insects, diseases, and the potential effects of climate change.
Can I visit the gift tree I have planted?
Unfortunately, since the trees are not marked and can be in very remote locations, some dangerous to get to, it is not possible to visit your tree. It is possible, however, to visit the general tree planting location virtually on your computer. Information is included in the gift packet along with the certificate with all the details.
When will the gift tree be planted?
The gift tree will be planted at the best suitable planting time for each project, which is typically in the location’s spring or fall. Therefore, depending on when your gift tree was purchased, there could be a gap of time until it is actually planted. This is being done to ensure the long-term survival of the trees as well as to accomplish the goals of the project.
Now that you understand what a gift tree is, whether the gift tree is planted in memory of a lost loved one, or to celebrate a happy life event, know that a lot of scientific thought went into the planting, ensuring that your gift tree will have a lasting impact and be a gift to the earth as well.
https://www.thegiftedtree.com/wp-content/uploads/Growing-Sprout-reduced.jpg332500Doug Bellhttps://www.thegiftedtree.com/wp-content/uploads/TGT-logo-header.pngDoug Bell2020-10-30 12:00:412020-11-10 15:41:39What is a Gift Tree?
As if the COVID-9 pandemic is not enough, a record number of forest fires have occurred in California this summer. It is hard to pick up a newspaper these days, or turn on the television news, without reading about one of the 30+ fires devastating the state. Millions of acres of forest growth have burned to the ground, homes and other structures destroyed and the saddest part, human lives have been lost. And this epic year for wildfires has occurred BEFORE the typical forest fire season of October and November even starts. As California governor Gavin Newsom has stated, “This is a challenging year. It is historic in terms of magnitude, scope and consequence.”
With the acreage size of the fires burning being larger than some states in the northeast U.S. we at The Gifted Tree keep getting this type of question: What are the forces driving this record fire year? Fire experts say it’s not one thing causing the shocking series of infernos. “It’s a perfect storm of factors that have all come together,” said Jon Keeley, a research scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey at Sequoia National Park. We thought it would be educational to take a brief oversight of the factors that are contributing to this unprecedented string of wildfires.
One of the difficulties when it comes to mitigating wildfires in California is that, in recent decades, an increasing amount of the state is vulnerable. As the NY Times reported, “the engineering and land management that enabled the state’s tremendous growth have left it more vulnerable to climate shocks. While California is one of America’s marvels, by moving vast quantities of water and suppressing wildfires for decades, the state has transformed its arid and mountainous landscape into the richest, most populous and bounteous place in the nation. But that growth comes with a prices.
It’s counter intuitive, but the U.S.’s history of suppressing wildfires has actually made present-day wildfires worse. According to Park Williams, a bioclimatologist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, “For the last century we fought fire, and we did pretty well at it across all of the Western United States. And every time we fought a fire successfully, that means that a bunch of stuff that would have burned didn’t burn. And so over the last hundred years we’ve had an accumulation of plants in a lot of areas. And so in a lot of California now when fires start, those fires are burning through places that have a lot more plants to burn than they would have if we had been allowing fires to burn for the last hundred years.” This legacy of fire suppression and lack of good forest stewardship has led to a growth of highly flammable shrubs and bushes, a huge buildup of fuels and debris.
As the New York Times reports, in an effort to protect homes and encourage new building, governments for decades focused on suppressing fires that occurred naturally, allowing the buildup of vegetation that would provide fuel for future blazes. Even after the drawbacks of that approach became clear, officials remained reluctant to reduce that vegetation through prescribed burns, wary of upsetting residents with smoke or starting a fire that might burn out of control.That approach made California’s forests more comfortable for the estimated 11 million people who now live in and around them. But it has also made them more susceptible to catastrophic fires.
Climate change creating heat waves
In recent years, California’s climate has gotten hotter and drier. This combination of conditions mean less snowpack in the Sierras, less runoff in the spring, and less moisture for vegetation. These conditions have made it especially easy for massive wildland fires to ignite and quickly burn through parched vegetation. According to the NY Times, nine of the 10 largest fires in the state’s history have occurred in the past ten years, and it’s no coincidence that nine of the ten hottest years on record have happened since 2000. In August, while it is still being evaluated, Death Valley in Southern California possibly reached the highest temperature ever reliably recorded on earth. Last Labor Day Weekend brought one of California’s hottest periods ever observed. Extreme heat means drier vegetation, and more difficulty putting out fires.
The effects of the greenhouse gases humans produce underlie everything that occurs in the atmosphere, and the tendency of climate change to make dry places drier over time is a warning of a fiery future. And the state’s fire season has gotten considerably longer, too, extending up to 75 days, in some cases. In reality, “fire season” is a remnant of cooler world. “It just gets harder to predict,” Faith Kearns, of the University of California Institute for Water Resources in Oakland, told National Geographic. “We used to have a much more reliable rainy season and fire season, and a lot of variables are just shifting at the moment.”
Unusual Weather Conditions
A dry winter last year is a contributing factor. Snowpack in the mountains was very low and actual rainfall was at or below normal. When California has dry winters, moisture levels dry up earlier in the summer in grasses, shrubs and trees. Fires start more easily and spread faster. Furthermore, this historic stretch of drought has caused millions of dead trees. The drought leaves a legacy on the landscape of fire fuel that persists for many years, even after the drought is over.
Additionally, in mid-August, a series of freak summer storms blasted California with more than 14,000 lightning strikes and almost no rain. More than one-third of all the acres that have burned this year came from that lightning. And don’t forget about the Santa Sana winds which run from October through April. These strong gusts, which bring dry air into Southern California tend to spread fires even faster than what we are experiencing now, and burn closer to urban areas, moving embers and spreading fires.
While lightening strikes have started many of the forest fires in August, more often than not, humans are responsible for igniting the fires. “California has a lot of people and a really long dry season,” Williams said. “People are always creating possible sparks, and as the dry season wears on and stuff is drying out more and more, the chance that a spark comes off a person at the wrong time just goes up. And that’s putting aside arson.”
There’s another way people have contributed to wildfires: in their choices of where to live. People are increasingly moving into areas near forests, known as the urban-wildland interface, that are inclined to burn. Thus, California’s large population and the need to inhabit more fire prone areas means that when disasters do strike, they affect large numbers of people and property.
Needless to say, the wildfire situation in California is complex, one which does not produce simple, easy answers. While climate change is certainly a major factor in the increase in California wildfires, ultimately, determining the links between any individual fire and climate change takes time and analysis. But the effects of the greenhouse gases humans produce underlie everything that occurs in the atmosphere, and the tendency of climate change to make dry places drier over time is a warning to the West of a fiery future.
Some possible solutions? More forest thinning, better building codes, more renewable energy, a more robust power grid, experts say. Some suggest the state needs to rethink the way it fights fires, from response to planning, which would take the entire restructuring of a system. Prescribed burns and forest-thinning are, again, options to protect some communities from wildfires. “Technically, we have all the tools to do this,” UC Berkeley forest ecologist and climate change scientist Patrick Gonzalez says. “The more that people realize that proactive fire management can avoid the catastrophic wildfires … the more people hopefully will favor proactive fire management.”
But the reality is any and every action California is taking so far is incremental. Park Williams, a climate scientist at Columbia’s Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory in New York stresses, “No matter how hard we try, the fires are going to keep getting bigger, and the reason is really clear, climate is really running the show. Fundamentally, the main solution to a lot of the fire problems that we have [is] taking action on climate change. To be carbon-free is the ultimate end goal, and the sooner we reach that, the better it will be for nature and for people.”
In the short term? Be careful with fire. Understand how to reforest areas after devastating wildfires. Plant more trees in California (The Gifted Tree has a number of planting projects) and other areas in the United States in a smart way to help regrow the areas lost to wildfires. And pray for rain.
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NEW! Send a Birth Tree by Month gift card package. Click to learn more.
Understanding the Trees for Birth Months
Trees are special and provide a plethora of benefits both environmentally and economically. But did you also know that your birth tree can determine your personality? According to some, especially the Celtic druids, the date of your birth is tied to the lunar calendar and is related to the formation of one’s personality and behavior.
Before we delve into the meaning of each tree, first a little history. Trees have always had a special place in Celtic history. Living trees have played a central role in the practical daily and spiritual lives of the Irish people for centuries. Irish myth, story and music abound with references to trees and their being the home of fairies and spirits. Travelling the Irish countryside, as I have done many times, one is sure to find hand-crafted fairy homes scattered about the forest, always bringing a huge smile to my eyes.
Trees served as landmarks and icons of family and clan identity, and their importance can be measured by the great number of tree-based place name in Ireland – of the 16,000 towns in Ireland, 13,000 are named after trees! All this demonstrates the degree to which trees were understood and valued by the culture.
Celtic Birth Trees
The Celtic druids had a profound connection with trees and believed they were vessels of infinite wisdom. They felt the entire universe existed in the form of a tree. The roots grew deep below, representing the past. The trunk sat in everyday life, representing the present. The branches reached up high into the heavens, representing the future and afterlife. They developed Celtic tree astrology based on the lunar calendar, so it has thirteen astrological signs rather than twelve. Accordingly, the Druids designated a tree to each of the thirteen moon phases in their calendar and associated each tree with a type of personality. They even determined which signs were most compatible.
Ready to Get Started With The Gifted Tree?
Take a little time and discover more about your birth tree and the personality traits associated with it and with what other birth tree(s) you are most compatible.
NEW! Send a Birth Tree by Month gift card package. Includes seeds of the birth tree so the recipient can grow their own. Click to learn more about the birth tree gift card package.
January Birth Tree
The Rowan Tree: January 22 – February 18
Rowans are the philosophical minds in tree astrology. Rowans can be planted near doors and ward off evil and were thought to guard the gateway to the spirit world. Rowans are keen visionaries with high ideals. You are highly influential in a quiet way and others look to you for your unique perspectives. Their inner passion and burning creativity will get them noticed if they are patient in expressing what is inside them. Others will be impressed by their unique perspective and Rowans are highly influential.
Best match: Rowans pair well with Ivy and Hawthorne signs.
February Birth Tree
The Ash Tree: February 18 – March 17
Ash are free thinkers. Imaginative, intuitive, and naturally artistic, they see the world in water-color purity. Ash tend to be moody and withdrawn at times, but that’s only because their inner landscape is in constant motion. They are in touch with their muse, and are easily inspired by nature. Likewise, Ash inspire all that they associate with and people seek them out for their enchanting personality. Art, writing (especially poetry), science, and theology (spiritual matters) are areas that strongly interest Ash. Others may think they are reclusive, but in all honesty, they are simply immersed in their own world of fantastic vision and design. Ash are in a constant state of self-renewal and rarely place a value on what others think about them.
Best match: Ash pair well with Willow and Reed signs.
March Birth Tree
The Alder Tree: March 18 – April 14
Alders are pathfinders. They will blaze a path before anyone else with a burning passion. Alders are outgoing, have buckets of charm and mix well with different types of people. Not only do they get along well with everybody, others are attracted to them. Alders have faith in themselves and this makes them an attractive person to be around. Alders really hate waste and are uncomfortable with superficial people who aren’t the real deal.
Best match: Alders pair well with Hawthorns, Oaks and Birch
April Birth Tree
The Willow Tree: April 15 – May 12
Willows are highly creative, intuitive and intelligent. They have a keen understanding of cycles, and inherently know that every situation has a season. This gives them a realistic perspective of things, and also causes them to be more patient than most tree signs. With their intelligence comes a natural ability to retain knowledge and impress their company with the ability to expound on subjects from memory. It is Willow’s powers of perception that ultimately allow their true nature to shine, and what leads them to success in life.
Best match: Willow pair well with the Birch and the Ivy.
May Birth Tree
The Hawthorn Tree: May 13 – June 9
Hawthorns have a split personality. On the outside, they present themselves as a normal neighbor, but on the inside, they are wildly creative and passionate. They are good at adapting to changing life situations. They are good at making themselves content and making others content as well. Hawthorns are naturally curious, great listeners, funny have a good sense of both irony and silliness.
Best match: Hawthorns pair well with Ash and Rowans.
June Birth Tree
The Oak Tree: June 10 – July 7
Oaks have a special gift of strength. They are protective people and often become a champion for those who do not have a voice. In other words, the Oak is the crusader and the spokesperson for the underdog. Nurturing, generous and helpful, they exude an easy confidence and naturally assume everything will work out to a positive outcome. They have a deep respect for history and ancestry, and a love to impart their knowledge of the past to others, and thus, many Oaks become teachers. Oaks live long, full, happy lives and enjoy large family settings and are likely to be involved with large social/community networks.
Best match: Oaks pair well with the Ash and Reed, and are known to harmoniously join with Ivy too.
NEW! Send a Birth Tree by Month gift card package. Includes seeds of the birth tree so the recipient can grow their own. Click to learn more about the birth tree gift card package.
July Birth Tree
The Holly Tree: July 8 – August 4
Hollys are regal, noble and often take on positions of high status and leadership. Hollys have perseverance and never shy away from a challenge. They are hardly ever defeated simply because they keep trying until they get what they want as well as being competitive and ambitious even in the most casual settings They are very intelligent and breeze through intellectual challenges. Hollys are very kind and generous to a fault.
Best match: Hollys pair well with Ash and Elder for balance and partnership.
August Birth Tree
The Hazel Tree: August 5 – September 1
Hazels are highly intelligent, organized and efficient. Like the Holly, they are naturally gifted in academia, and excel in the classroom. They have the ability to retain information and can recall, recite and expound on subjects they have memorized with amazing accuracy. Sometimes they appear as a know-it-all to others, but they can’t help that; they are genuinely smart and usually know the right course of action because of an impressive knowledge base. Hollys have a gift for numbers, science and subjects that call for analytical skills. Although they like rules, they are typically making them rather than playing by them.
Best match: Hazel pair harmoniously with Hawthorns and Rowans.
September Birth Tree
The Vine: September 2 – September 29
Vines are born within the autumnal equinox, making their personality unpredictable, full of contradictions and often indecisive. This is due to their ability to see both sides of the story and empathize with each side equally. It is hard to pick sides because they can see the good points on each end. That being said, Vines are certain about enjoying the finer things in life such as food, wine, music, and art. Vines, while seemingly aloof and detached, are very romantic inside.
Best match: Vines pair well with Willow and Hazel.
October Birth Tree
The Ivy: September 30 – October 27
The Ivy’s most cherished quality is the ability to overcome all odds. They have a sharp intellect, but more obvious is their compassion and loyalty to others. They have a giving nature and are always there to lend a helping hand. Ivys endure troubling times with silent perseverance and soulful grace. Indeed, Ivys have a tendency to be deeply spiritual and cling to a deep-rooted faith that typically sees them through adversity. They are soft spoken, but have a keen wit, are charming and charismatic
Best match: Ivys pair well with Oak and Ash.
November Birth Tree
The Reed: October 28 – November 24
Reeds are great at keeping secrets. They can dig deep to find the real meaning of things and discover the truth. People born under this Celtic tree sign love a good story, gossip and scandals. This makes them perfect historians, journalists, detectives, and archaeologists. They have the ability to find the core of things and strip every layer of the story. However, they tend to be a bit manipulative at times, but still have a strong sense of truth and honor.
Best match: Reeds pair well with other Reeds, Ash or Oak.
December Birth Tree
The Elder Tree: November 25 – December 23
The Elder is a wild child, loving freedom. Elders are thrill seekers for the majority of their lives. They are also outspoken and refuse to be pressured by others into anything. They need constant mental and physical challenges. Furthermore, Elders are very thoughtful and considerate of others and genuinely strive to be helpful.
Best fit: Elders pair well with Alder and Holly.
New Year Holiday Birth Tree
The Birch Tree: December 24 – January 21
Birch are high energy, highly driven, and often motivate others. They become easily caught in their zeal, drive and ambition. They are always reaching for more, seeking better horizons and obtaining higher aspirations. Birch (just like the tree) are tolerant, tough, and resilient. They are cool-headed and are natural-born leaders, often taking command when a situation calls for leadership. They also bring beauty in otherwise barren spaces, brightening up a room with their guile, and charming crowds with a quick wit.
Much has been written about the importance of trees and one would be hard-pressed to refute their benefits. Trees are simply amazing. They clean air and water, reverse the impact of land degradation, prevent species loss, and ease poverty by helping communities achieve long-term economic sustainability by providing food, energy, and income. They even provide something as simple as shade to enjoy a picnic. Finally, planting trees is one of the easiest and most important way to help stave off the effects of climate change.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, trees also provide other benefits which have always been there but are now coming more in focus. Trees can help provide a stress relief during these crazy and unusual times.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has certainly caused people’s stress level to skyrocket. Fear and anxiety about an unseen virus and what could happen can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. I am sure there are many like me who worry about our health and the health of loved ones. That stress along with financial and job worries, changes in sleeping and eating patterns and difficulty in sleeping can be overwhelming, causing anxiety and the need for release.
Take my suggestion and get outside, and even better, if possible, take a walk in the forest! Numerous studies in the U.S. and around the world are exploring the health benefits of spending time outside in nature, green spaces, and, specifically, forests. (Some study results mentioned in this blog are detailed by the State of NY Department of Environmental Conservation.) Recognizing these benefits, the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, in 1982, even coined a term for it: shinrin-yoku. It means “taking in the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing,” and the ministry encourages people to visit forests to relieve stress and improve health. And it is essential to take care of your emotional health to help you think clearly and help other family members cope with stress.
As outlined below, research evidence continues to mount on how spending time outdoors makes us healthier. It’s important to make time to get outdoors as well, since doing so is beneficial — maybe essential — for human health. Psychologists and health researchers are finding more and more science-backed reasons we should go outside and enjoy the natural world.
Exposure to forests boosts our immune system. While we breathe in the fresh air, we breathe in phytoncides, airborne chemicals that plants give off to protect themselves from insects. When people breathe in these chemicals, our bodies respond by increasing the number and activity of a type of white blood cell that kill virus-infected cells in our bodies.
Spending time around trees and looking at trees reduces stress, lowers blood pressure and improves mood. While I make it a habit to take a weekly hike in the nearby forests, even just looking at trees has therapeutic effects. Researchers found that taking in natural sights significantly decreased the scores for anxiety, depression, anger, confusion and fatigue. And because stress inhibits the immune system, the stress-reduction benefits of forests are further magnified.
And you don’t even have to spend a lot of time outdoors (or be doing strenuous exercise) to soak in its effects. New research at Cornell University has found that as little as 10 minutes in a natural setting (just sitting or walking) can help college students feel happier and lessen the effects of both physical and mental stress. They found that 10-50 minutes in natural spaces was the most effective to improve mood, focus and physiological markers like blood pressure and heart rate.
Green spaces in urban areas are just as important as rural forests. You say you don’t have access to the wide-open forests. No worries. If you are like me and the other 85% of the US population who live in suburban and urban areas, gardens, parks and street trees make up what is called an urban and community forest. These pockets of green space are vitally important because they are the sources of our daily access to trees. Take some time and chill in these urban green spaces.
Being out in the sunshine will provide you with the vitamin D that your body needs. There is not a lot of vitamin D in the foods we eat, but exposure to the sun can do the trick, at least to some degree. Even in winter it is important for your body to be exposed to the sun’s rays. So when the snow starts flying, bundle up and get outdoors for a while. You will feel better and your mood will improve.
Spending time in nature helps you focus. Our lives are busier than ever with jobs, school, and family life. Trying to focus on many activities or even a single thing for long periods of time can mentally drain us, a phenomenon called Directed Attention Fatigue. Spending time in nature, looking at plants, water, birds and other aspects of nature gives the cognitive portion of our brain a break, allowing us to focus better and renew our ability to be patient. Furthermore, when you move your body, you produce endorphins that will help you feel good.
Finally, a number of studies help demonstrate other benefits of being among the trees including performing better on creative tasks, ability to focus better ( including helping children with ADHD), lowering blood pressure, protecting your vision, help fight anxiety and depression, eliminate fatigue, reduce body inflammation, improving short-term memory. Finally, hospital patients with “green views” recover from surgery faster, take fewer painkillers and had better post-surgical results.
Yes, there are many ways to destress, but few as easy and inexpensive as walking outside in nature. A simple solution to cope with stress during the global pandemic- spend some time outdoors where you can breathe in the fresh air of nature. Make it part of your daily or weekly routine. Go to the forest, take a walk along a river or around a lake. I guarantee, you’ll feel better and a little less stressed.
https://www.thegiftedtree.com/wp-content/uploads/Man-and-dog-walking-in-the-forest-reduced.jpg469700Doug Bellhttps://www.thegiftedtree.com/wp-content/uploads/TGT-logo-header.pngDoug Bell2020-07-31 11:05:512022-02-11 13:28:18The Benefits of Trees During the Global Pandemic
Forest fires and its resulting deforestation from tree loss are continually in the news. We read about the fires in Australia, the Amazon Rainforest and here in the United States. Unfortunately, as June is rolling into July, look for another busy wildfire season in the West. A relatively dry fall and winter coupled with mountain snowpacks that melted faster than normal, and overall warmer and drier-than-average conditions forecast this summer will keep firefighters busy.
Fact: In 2015, global forest cover fell below ten billion acres for the first time in human history.
Major deforestation is not only caused by forest fires, however. What is deforestation, technically? Deforestation is the permanent removal of trees to make room for something besides forest. This can include clearing the land for agriculture or grazing, or using the timber for fuel, construction or manufacturing.
Fact: Every year, more than 20 million football fields’ worth of forests (15 billion trees!) continue to be cut down.
Forests cover more than 30% of the Earth’s land surface, according to the World Wildlife Fund. These forested areas can provide food, medicine and fuel for more than a billion people. Worldwide, forests provide 13.4 million people with jobs in the forest sector, and another 41 million people have jobs related to forests. Forests are a resource, but they are also large, undeveloped swaths of land that can be converted for purposes such as agriculture and grazing. In North America, about half the forests in the eastern part of the continent were cut down for timber and farming between the 1600s and late 1800s, according to National Geographic.
Fact: At the current rate of deforestation, Earth’s rainforests, including the Amazon, could be completely gone in 100 years.
That’s bad news for everyone, especially for the 1/2 of the world’s terrestrial flora and fauna and 3/4 of all birds that live in and around forests. Additionally, 70% of land animals and plant species live in forests. The trees of the rainforest that provide shelter for some species also provide the canopy that regulates the temperature. Destruction of these forests along with its resulting change in temperature has a devastating effect on the forests’ inhabitants.
Deforestation in tropical regions can also affect the way water vapor is produced over the canopy, which causes reduced rainfall. A 2019 study published in the journal Ecohydrology showed that parts of the Amazon rainforest that were converted to agricultural land had higher soil and air temperatures, which can exacerbate drought conditions. In comparison, forested land had rates of evapotranspiration that were about three times higher, adding more water vapor to the air.
Fact: industrial agriculture accounts for around 73% of deforestation worldwide. The majority of this can be attributed to meat (particularly beef cattle), soy, and palm oil.
Meat producers clear vast swaths of forest to graze their livestock and in turn, the production of livestock feed accounts for 80% of the soybeans grown—and you may be surprised to learn that poultry and pigs eat up almost as much of that soy as cattle does.
Many forests are also cleared to make way for palm oil plantations. Palm oil is the most commonly produced vegetable oil and is found in half of all supermarket products. It’s cheap, versatile and can be added to both food and personal products like lipsticks and shampoo. Its popularity has spurred people to clear tropical forests to grow more palm trees. Growing the trees that produce the oil requires the leveling of native forest and the destruction of local peatlands, increasing harmful effects on the ecosystem.
Fact: One mature tree can consume 48 pounds of carbon a year!
Forests play a critical role in mitigating climate change because they act as a carbon sink—soaking up carbon dioxide that would otherwise be free in the atmosphere. Trees also absorb carbon dioxide, mitigating greenhouse gas emissions produced by human activity. As climate change continues, trees play an important role in carbon sequestration, or the capture and storage of excess carbon dioxide. Tropical trees alone are estimated to provide about 23% of the climate mitigation that’s needed to offset climate change, according to the World Resources Institute, a nonprofit global research institute.
But once trees are chopped down, all that absorbed carbon gets released right back into the atmosphere. Deforestation, therefore, not only removes vegetation that is important for removing carbon dioxide from the air, but the act of clearing the forests also produces greenhouse gas emissions. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations says that deforestation is the second-leading cause of climate change. (The first is the burning of fossil fuels.) In fact, deforestation accounts for nearly 20% of greenhouse gas emissions. Stopping deforestation, then, is absolutely critical if we want to avoid catastrophic climate change.
Solution: Develop alternatives to deforestation, such as sustainable farming, to decrease the need for tree clearing.
As large amounts of forests are cleared away, allowing exposed earth to whither and die and the habitats of innumerable species to be destroyed, the indigenous communities who live there and depend on the forest to sustain their way of life are also under threat.
The loss of forests has an immediate and direct effect on their lifestyle that we in the highly industrialized parts of the world, despite our own dependency on what the rainforest provides, will never know. The level of immediacy is exponentially greater for indigenous peoples.
If communities in developing nations were able to adopt sustainable farming practices or employed new farming technologies and crops, the need for more land might be diminished, according to the UN’s Sustainable Forest Management Toolbox. Indigenous people and local forest communities are on the front line of the battle for the forests they call home. When you plant your trees through The Gifted Tree in Africa and Asia, the project not only is replacing trees, but is educating community members, especially the youth, as to the long-term benefits of trees. Areas of education include farmers being trained in best tree planting methods, nursery preparation, farm conservation and finance, and irrigation management. They also learned methods and techniques to protect trees to withstand local climatic conditions and thus help to ensure the newly planted trees’ long-term survival. Most of these individuals have no knowledge of proper land management techniques, but this training will be a significant factor in the fight against deforestation.
Solution: Plant More trees.
Forests can also be restored, through replanting trees in cleared areas or simply allowing the forest ecosystem to regenerate over time. The goal of restoration is to return the forest to its original state, before it was cleared, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The sooner a cleared area is reforested, the quicker the ecosystem can start to repair itself. Afterward, wildlife will return, water systems will reestablish, carbon will be sequestered and soils will be replenished. Remember, trees help control the level of water in the atmosphere by helping to regulate the water cycle. In deforested areas, there is less water in the air to be returned to the soil. This then causes dryer soil and the inability to grow crops.
If done correctly, reforestation can restore damaged ecosystems, stabilize soil and soil erosion, support the water cycle, reduce coastal flooding and slowly recover the vital ecosystem services that depend on. Trees also help the land to retain water and topsoil, which provides the rich nutrients to sustain additional forest life. Planting new trees is, ultimately, an investment in future forests and is the calling and mission of The Gifted Tree!