It is a well-known fact that trees act as storehouses of carbon. They absorb carbon dioxide, break it down, and store carbon in their trunk, roots and leaves as well as the soil and release oxygen.
Forests converted into agricultural lands and cattle ranches and felling of trees for structural building materials, furnishings, paper, firewood and newsprint among others has led to deforestation. Needless to say, deforestation leads to reduced carbon absorption by trees, effecting increased carbon in the atmosphere.We can do our bit by planting more trees or preserving existing ones.Trees shade the buildings and the air gets cooled during evapo-transpiration of the leaves. This in effect is estimated to reduce energy usage by air conditioners by up to 70 . In colder climates, trees planted to slow the wind, reduce the heating energy requirement by 30 .
While constructing houses, plan them so as not to disturb existing trees. If they are right in the middle and have to be removed to make way for the house, seek experts help to relocate them elsewhere. If removing and replanting are beyond your means, plant a new sapling to compensate for the one you are cutting down.
If the space available is less, opt for smaller trees such as tecoma, frangipani, oleander and bottlebrush. Big trees have a longer and wider root system, which may affect the building.
While planting new saplings, provide a layer of coconut husks at the bottom of the pit. This retains the water. For existing trees, mulch of dead leaves around the base, reduces evaporation, thus reducing the water need.
Even if we cannot plant trees in our space-crunched cities, we can learn to be tolerant of our neighbours trees that shed all the leaves in our yard.
Avoid planting exotic trees.
Experts have estimated that we need to plant a tree for every 375 litres of petrol we use or every 3200 km traveled by car.
Planting trees not only helps in carbon dioxide absorption, but also prevents soil erosion and supports birds and other small animal and insect life.
It is good to plant trees. But it is not the same as cutting down on the use of fossil fuels, a major source of carbon dioxide emission.