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Is Your Relationship with Trees on the Rocks?

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Is Your Relationship with Trees on the Rocks?

By Sarene Marshall, The Nature Conservancy

Given my work for a global conservation organization and my residence in a neighborhood filled with massive oaks, maples and hickories, it shouldn’t be surprising that my family and I are fond of trees.

And while we should all welcome any shade we get during another summer of record-breaking heat, even the most conservation-minded amongst us might find our love for trees tested right about now. You may not even feel like hugging one. After all, severe storms, like the derecho that freight-trained through the DC area recently, brought branches and trunks down on power lines and property and left millions without electricity for days.  Meanwhile, epic large-scale forest fires, like the recent devastating blaze in Colorado Springs, have burned through much of the western U.S., threatening homes and businesses in their wake.

No, this hasn’t been a good PR month for trees.

I heard that one neighborhood proposed the drastic measure of cutting all their trees down. With global temperatures soaring, in part because of carbon pollution caused by massive deforestation in the tropics, that seems a little like cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Yet, after days of being trapped in a 100-degree house with no air conditioning and seeing the horrifying images of scorched earth and destroyed neighborhoods, I sympathize with the instinct to prevent future disasters by getting rid of a perceived cause.

But, when it comes to managing the roles that trees play in these disasters, there is a better way. The secret lies in observing forests over time in the wild.

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6:10PM PDT on Apr 13, 2015


5:36PM PDT on Apr 13, 2015

I have a petition for this and to make it more affordable. It's on those 2 links...

2:18AM PDT on Aug 2, 2012

There's such a variety of trees, all beautiful, some majestic, and who could imagine a world without them? They will still be here when the last humans have finally destroyed one another.

What better way to spend a hot afternoon than to read a good book, sitting on the ground with your back against the trunk of a tall tree with its branches shading you from the sun and a breeze whispering through its leaves. And if you nod off, what wonderful dreams you'll have.

7:07AM PDT on Jul 29, 2012

Plant a tree. Plant a garden. PLANT!

7:05AM PDT on Jul 29, 2012

I love the trees in my yard, even the sweet gum which, after stepping on a dry seed pod you sometimes think horrible thoughts about the trees worth. I have planted one that I will enjoy for years to come but now I will plant more. Maybe move the house up in the trees and we can all go together when its our time.

6:22AM PDT on Jul 29, 2012

Trees are not only beautiful but they provide shade and are Earth's lungs. We need trees, that is why God gave them to us.

2:47PM PDT on Jul 28, 2012

Had a good comment ready to send...hit the wrong key...poof!
I throughly enjoyed your article ..Nature Conservacy..Sarene M. I gave away 14, 2'-4' spruce trees that started from seed themselves from my nearby spruce trees. Hubby wants to cut them down, as is afraid if a bad storm they could hit the house. They are healthy, and I am not letting these go yet!??

1:16AM PDT on Jul 28, 2012

Very good and interesting article. Here in Brazil we have a website for those who are fans of trees. Every new member subscribed a tree is planted. I invite everybody to join this group. The website is

10:11PM PDT on Jul 27, 2012

Plant more trees! We need more trees! Trees are the earths lungs, therefore they become ours too. Earth is battling to breath as there are so few trees! That's way we have so many respiratory diseases. Asthma is increasing in children. Sure pollution is a huge problem but trees will reduce that, plus they are very cooling, and their benefits go on......

6:25PM PDT on Jul 27, 2012

thanks for sharing

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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