Trees; A Sustainable Solution
We can all do something in our lives to protect the environment for future generations. I have always been a firm believer that every effort counts - no matter how small or insignificant it may seem.
For thousands of years people have been taking trees from the earth to meet demands for food and consumer products – a process known as deforestation. Leaving nothing behind but a baron wasteland, deforestation causes numerous environmental impacts.
From short-term soil erosion to long-term impacts of climate change and rising sea levels, deforestation is an issue that needs to be addressed. The solution? Bring back the trees!
It’s a fact that a single tree can absorb approximately 48 pounds of oxygen each year while producing about 260 pounds of oxygen. This is enough to support two people over the course of one year.
The absorption of carbon dioxide is also important for reducing fossil fuel emissions that contribute to climate change and global warming. By using farming practices to preserve maximum tree cover, we can develop a sustainable approach that tackles these problems head on.
Let’s take a step back in time to the early 20th century, when Europeans were carrying out sustainable practices for mountain farming in Corsica, a Mediterranean island and territorial collectivity of France. What stood out for me about the Corsican mountaineers was their use of chestnut trees instead of cornfields. J. Russell Smith wrote about this in his 1950’s book Treecrops: A permanent agriculture. The difference, he said between the Corsican people and alternative farming practices, is that
“when the Corsican starts a crop, he does it by planting beautiful trees whose crops he and his children and his children’s children will later pick up from year to year.”
In other words, the trees stay put, and the soil is held in place. A corn-based system cannot be permanent. Eventually, after a few seasons of cultivation, the cornfield can no longer be used, and the farmer must find another field to ruin. Such farming practices leave the earth gutted, gullied and abandoned.
This cannot be ignored. No system of farming has been so destructive of soil as that practiced in southeastern part of the United States during the past century. Something needs to change. We must act now, or forever hold our peace.
Emily Murphy writes for www.forestfarms.net on the benefits of sustainable farming practices.
image from: greeningforward.org