The objective is to promote awareness and respect for the preservation of our trees, which are so essential for life on the planet.
And there are many curiosities about the trees, some of them quite unknown. Check it out below:
1. They give us medicines
Do you know that little boring headache that you only get with an aspirin pill? Yes, acetylsalicylic acid originally came from the willow bark, although modern aspirin contains a synthetic derivative. The remedy was discovered about 3,500 years ago, when the bitter powder extracted from the willow bark and leaves was found for the first time to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
2. Trees clean the air
Trees absorb odors and polluting gases (nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and ozone) and filter air particles by trapping them in leaves and bark. Air pollution is linked to premature death and respiratory diseases, so trees help us by improving the quality of the air we breathe. To give you an idea, an area of about four thousand square meters of planted trees is capable of providing enough oxygen to 18 people in one year.
3. They provide us with raw materials
Cork stoppers are generally made from the bark of a tree quite common in Portugal called cork oak. The tree does not need to be cut for this, as the corks are made from its bark. In addition to serving to seal the wine bottle, the stopper also favors the maturation of the drink, allowing the correct evolution of the wine and the formation of its appreciated aromas.
4. Trees serve as homes for many species
Trees provide survival conditions for all wildlife. They provide leaves and fruits, safe habitat for nesting, shade and shelter, as well as height for the safety of many species. Oaks, for example, can house more than 280 types of insects, which serve to feed birds and other animals. That is why preserving trees is so important, as the life cycle depends a lot on forests.
5. They are fundamental to mental health
Many studies have already demonstrated the benefits of trees for restoring health. Patients admitted to hospitals that have access to a window view with trees, for example, recover much faster and with less complications. Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have fewer symptoms when they have access to nature. Exposure to trees and nature also helps with concentration, reducing mental fatigue.
6. Trees talk to each other
The trees are connected by a network of fungi that grow in and around their roots. Through this network, they share resources, exchange nutrients and alert messages – when they feel threatened.
According to ecologist Suzanne Simard of the University of British Columbia (UBC), these networks include older and larger central trees (also called “mother trees”) that can connect to hundreds of younger trees around them. According to the researcher, these mother trees can help forests adapt to human-induced climate changes, thanks to their “memory” of slower natural changes in the last decades or centuries.
According to her, these older trees lived for a long time and went through many fluctuations in the climate, so they healed that memory in DNA. “DNA is encoded and has adapted through mutations to this environment. Therefore, this genetic code carries the code for changing climates that are emerging”, he explains.
7. Trees did not exist in the early years of Earth’s history
The Earth is 4.5 billion years old and it is estimated that the plants appeared about 500 million years ago, the first species being probably moss and liver, without deep roots.
The appearance of the first organisms capable of photosynthesis, known as cyanobacteria, dates back to 2.7 billion years. Cyanobacteria that live in the shallow waters of the sea produced oxygen for the primitive planet and, over a long period of time, the concentration of oxygen in the atmosphere grew slowly.
Only in the Devonian period (419 – 358 million years) did the first plants and trees in the world appear, forming the first forests.