Trees are much more than a source of paper products or just a part of the natural landscape. Trees surround us almost all of the time yet we remain largely unaware of their immense significance and purpose. Here are some incredible facts that will deepen your knowledge and appreciate of trees – and some that will absolutely astonish you!
1) Trees live longer than any other organism on Earth. One of the oldest living trees on record is a Bristlecone Pine named Methuselah with an estimated age of nearly 5,000 years. The location of this tree is kept secret to prevent vandalism and damage from tourists.
2) Trees can defend themselves against damaging insects by flooding their leaves with chemicals called phenolics.
3) Trees help fight climate change. Every year a fully grown tree can remove almost 50 pounds of carbon dioxide from the air while releasing oxygen in the process.
4) The largest tree in the world is a Giant Sequoia named General Sherman that stands 275 feet.
5) Trees release chemicals called phytoncides that lower anxiety and increase our pain threshold when we breathe them in. Research suggests that we’re kinder toward one another when we’re around trees.
6) Older and bigger trees will share nutrients with smaller trees. Scientists also found that the smaller trees will then pay back this “generosity” when they have matured.
7) Just one large tree, in a single day, can lift up to100 gallons of water out of the ground and release it into the air.
8) Leaves are green since chlorophyll absorbs red and blue light, which makes the green light bounce off the surface of a leaf.
9) About 99% of a tree is non-living. Only about 1% of a tree is composed of living cells. These cells are in the leaves, root tips and phloem (a thin tissue just under the bark that delivers food to the parts of the tree where needed).
10) Every year 700 pounds of paper are used by the average US citizen. Put another way, the United States has almost 5% of the world’s population, though consumes 30% of the world’s paper.
11) A fascinating custom takes place on the Indonesian island of Tana Toraja. If a baby dies before teething begins, then a hole is cut into a tree where the baby is placed and then covered up. Overtime, the tree will absorb the baby.
12) Every 1.2 seconds an area of forest the size of a football is destroyed.
“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”
— John Muir