UKTC Archive

Re: Another Big Tree OpEd

Subject: Re: Another Big Tree OpEd
From: Wayne Tyson
Date: Jan 13 2022 00:08:11
To avert a climate catastrophe, we have to save the world’s big trees |


By Meg Lowman and Jane Goodall January 11, 2022 11:27 AM

It’s as important to save old forests for their benefits to the planet as
it is to plant new trees. It’s as important to save old forests for their
benefits to the planet as it is to plant new trees. Getty Images In 2020,
after tragic fires burned millions of acres in the Amazon, Australia,
Indonesia, the United States, the Mediterranean and Siberia, an
international newscast asked one fundamental question: “What will happen if
all the world’s forests disappear?” Our blunt answer: “Humans will become
extinct. Period.” Trees provide essential functions that keep us alive.
These green machines contain zillions of efficient energy factories — known
as leaves — without which no life on Earth can exist. We collectively have
dedicated more than 11 decades to studying global forests and biodiversity.
This includes a range of programs outside of our own foundations: “One
Million Trees by 2000” in the 1980s in outback Australia after dieback
killed millions of rural gum trees; Mission Green ( to
save 10 of the world’s highest biodiversity forest tracts; and Trees for
Jane in 2021, aligned with the United Nations, and that aims to restore 1
trillion trees by 2030. As two field biologists who have spent thousands of
hours under forest canopies, we have seen how trees keep the planet
healthy. And although we both advocate for planting trees, first and
foremost, we want to make a clarion call to save big trees and mature
forests. $2 for 2 months Subscribe for unlimited access to our website,
app, eEdition and more CLAIM OFFER This distinction is critical. Yes, we
absolutely need to plant more trees. Such efforts will benefit our
grandchildren. But for today’s generation and in the immediate wake of
accelerating climate change, we need to conserve native, mature forests,
whose trees are the senior citizens of the planet. An estimated 50% of our
planet’s land-based biodiversity lives in the treetops. It will take
decades — more likely centuries — before koalas can survive in the canopies
of newly planted gum seedlings or birds return to nest in their uppermost
boughs. Big trees provide essential ecosystem services, both economic and
cultural, even as we sleep: fresh water; climate control; medicines;
timber; carbon storage; energy production; food; soil conservation; a
genetic library for millions of species; and essential spiritual sanctuary
for more than 2 billion people. Primary, or old-growth forests, are
precious. They are the stalwart sentries that stand between life and life’s
extinction. Total plant biomass has declined twofold to 450 gigatons (GTs)
since humans increasingly cleared forests in the last few generations.
Shrinking fragments of tropical rain forests store less carbon today than
20 years ago, in part because we have cleared so many big trees and then
replanted seedlings on hot, dry, cleared landscapes where few will survive.
Earth’s three major primary tropical rain forest regions — Southeast Asia,
Amazon, Congo Basin — are rapidly shrinking because of human clearing and
climate disruption. In the United States, Florida has cleared 1.95 million
hectares of trees between 2000 and 2020, a whopping 26% decrease in the
state’s native forests (, yet this state relies
on nature tourism, including forest recreation, for much of its economy. We
are, in essence, shooting ourselves in the foot. During any Baby Boomer’s
lifetime, approximately 50% of the planet’s mature forests already have
been removed or degraded by human activities. That is a deplorable track
record. Planting trees is important, but their benefits are not realized
for many decades. In the case of tropical rain forests, it may require a
thousand years or more to restore mature trees, plus the millions of
resident species — such as orchids and their host-specific bee pollinators
— living in the crowns. We do not have the luxury of that long timeframe to
restore a new cohort of arboreal “senior citizens.” The Miami Debate A
weekly look at thought-provoking opinions from the Miami Herald’s Editorial
Board, fresh insights from columnists and other local views. This site is
protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service
apply. Many countries are spotlighting tree planting activities, which is
laudable, but we need to prioritize saving existing forests. Recently,
Ethiopia organized an official tree day during which citizens planted more
than 350 million seedlings; other countries have undertaken similar
actions. But the success rate of seedling survival is extremely small,
unless each tiny plant is watered and protected, many preferably under the
canopy of big trees, until they reach a certain age. The millions of
species living in the tops of big trees not only serve as a future
apothecary for human health, but provide essential pollinators, foods and
materials that sustain humans; they are building blocks of essential
ecological cycles that keep our planet healthy. We both agree that
humankind faces a planetary triage similar to that of a hospital emergency
room: What should we save first and foremost? We argue that we must focus
on saving those parts of nature that contribute the most to planetary
health. Planting trees is important, but saving big trees — and whole
forests — is even more critical. There is no time to wait. Meg Lowman,
Ph.D., is founder and executive director of TREE Foundation and a a
National Geographic Explorer. Jane Goodall, Ph.D., is founder of the Jane
Goodall Foundation and a U.N. Messenger of Peace.

Read more at:

On Wed, Jan 12, 2022 at 1:46 PM <> wrote:

I hit a paywall using that link....

-----Original Message-----
On Behalf Of Michael Richardson
Sent: January 12, 2022 3:20 PM
To: UK Tree Care <>
Subject: Another Big Tree OpEd

Michael Richardson B.Sc.F., BCMA
Ontario MTCU Qualified Arborist
Richardson Tree Care


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The UKTC forum is supported by Bosky Trees arboricultural consultancy and
Stockholm Tree Pits

The UK Tree Care mailing list
To unsubscribe send

The UKTC forum is supported by Bosky Trees arboricultural consultancy and
Stockholm Tree Pits