How Many Different Species can Thrive Together in One Single Tree?
Among various benefits, trees are an integral part of a resilient ecosystem
What if I told you by planting one single tree, you were creating an established home for a handful of different animals, plants, and insect species? Through the simplicity of tree planting, you have the ability to foster a successful ecosystem that will provide clean water, air, and other natural processes that are key to our survival on Earth.
The single tree you planted may be home to a population of honey bees who need to live close to the abundance of flowering plants in your garden in order to pollinate. Without pollinators such as honey bees, humans and ecosystems would not survive, according to the United States Forest Service.
With such a large impact on biodiversity’s ability to survive, our tree planting abilities are once again crucial to the functioning of our ecosystems and our own future on Earth, too.
Biodiversity and Endangered Species
About 31% of Earth is forested land, according to the State of the World’s Forests report. This extensive forest that covers many different climates has allowed many different species to evolve and adapt to different terrestrial habitats.
Often, you may hear that biodiversity is crucial for the Earth because of the variety of different species that have been able to evolve over thousands of years and live in our current environments. Over the past century, concerns over endangered species have increased, due to the reduced populations of certain species due to climate change, pollution, and other factors.
According to the World Wildlife’s report in 2020, there has been a 68% decrease worldwide across all species since 1970.
Photo by Sonika Agarwal on Unsplash
Numerous movements for saving endangered species are centered around saving the population from human activities, such as poaching, hunting or land use conversion, which result in habitat loss.
Although there is a high percentage of forested land, deforestation is a crucial concern for biodiversity. With 80% of terrestrial species that call forests home, according to the Global Forest Watch, habitat loss can cause many of these species populations that are adapted to the environment to decrease significantly.
Therefore, us people play a huge role in the success of ecosystems and preventing deforestation by planting trees in areas where there has been significant tree cover loss. That way, we can reciprocate the services we receive from ecosystems that are essential to our existence.
Biodiversity in Ecosystems
We can see the diversity across species by simply looking in our own backyard or in a park. With the variety of flowering plants and trees and the different types of insects, there seem to be endless possibilities. Now imagine a world without biodiversity. Hard to imagine, right? In this world, humans couldn’t exist. Because of deforestation, there is biodiversity loss.
According to the Woodland Trust, a forested area with more biodiversity is likely to be more resistant to natural disasters, pests, diseases, and other threats to the landscape. This increased resilience allows the ecosystem to function successfully.
Ecosystem services are the benefits that humans receive from the coordinating aspects of nature. Trees represent a majority of these services, specifically supporting services, which provide habitats and foster genetic diversity for species in ecosystems.
The significance of trees is also prevalent in regulating services, as they control carbon sequestration, air quality, and maintain soil fertility. With an integral role in ecosystems, many other components and life itself could not function without the benefits from trees.
Photo by Jelle de Gier on Unsplash
A single tree
As we have seen, there are immense services that trees provide without us even realizing it. Furthermore, we play a huge role in their success by preventing deforestation and planting in ecosystems that have experienced collapse or loss.
Through the simple act of planting a tree, we ensure our survival as the human race and the hundreds of other species that call these terrestrial areas home.