Why Plant Trees/Alice Publow
What are all those white ‘posts’ popping up on the Loon Lake Wetland Preserve? The plastic tubes are mini greenhouses which help protect the young trees from deer graze and rub, excessive wind drying, and rodent gnawing. But, why all those trees? Trees protect and improve water quality, clean the air, attract wildlife, and provide shade and beautify the landscape.
Forested buffers are vital to prevent nutrient carrying sediment from flowing into Loon Lake. Tree canopies intercept and hold water during rainstorms and facilitate a drip at a slower rate allowing absorption rather than overwhelming streams and ditches. Even fallen leaves and sticks provide a layer of protection, shielding soil from the full impact of rain or wind. Roots help break up compacted soil and open spaces where water can be absorbed. These roots hold and stabilize stream banks and the lakeshore, preventing erosion and sediment runoff.
Trees filter out harmful chemicals such as fertilizers, pesticides, and road salt, before they can reach the water. The trees themselves take up some chemicals while fungi, bacteria, and other microorganisms which live in forest soils take up others.
Shade provided by trees lowers the water temperature, which improves the habitat for aquatic ecosystems from microorganisms to reptiles and fish. When water travels through the tree structures, nutrients are stored, utilized, or returned to the soil. Excess nutrients and higher water temperatures are causes of harmful algae blooms and explosive growth of aquatic vegetation.
Planting trees remains one of the most effective, and low cost means for improving air quality. Trees help by removing CO2 and act as carbon sinks, alleviating the greenhouse effect. Gaseous and airborne pollutants are removed through plant stomata (pores on the outer skins of the leaves).
Forests are also incredibly valuable for the habitat they provide for birds, insects, and wildlife. Forests generate both food and shelter and encourage a diversity of vegetation, fungi, and microorganisms above and below the forest floor. Trees also act as windbreakers and noise absorbers.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “The future is literally in our hands to mold as we like. But we cannot wait until tomorrow. Tomorrow is now.” Trees we plant and nurture today, will provide generations to come with a healthier and more beautiful world. Join us at Loon Lake Wetland Preserve to help plant and care for our new trees. Check the Loon Lake website (http://LoonLakeSteubenNY.com) for scheduled volunteer times. Happy planting!
Did you know?
23 truckloads of trash were hauled away from the Preserve!
70 truckloads of gravel, dirt fill, and trees were removed from the creek
22 loads of dirt were deposited elsewhere at the Preserve