Trees are a gift to our planet and ourselves. Trees support life on earth and provide humanity with the air we breathe. The livelihood of our world and its inhabitants depends on the health of our trees and forests and there are many compelling reasons why we should plant trees.

1. To tackle climate change

Trees absorb CO2, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. In addition to removing carbon from the atmosphere, trees, shrubs and grasses also store carbon and are important carbon sinks. Trees also release oxygen to sustain life on earth.

2. To clean the air

Trees clean the air we breathe, by absorbing harmful pollutants like nitrogen oxides, ammonia and sulfur dioxide. These pollutants can have negative impacts on the health of humans, animals and plants, so trees play a key part in keeping our earth’s living inhabitants healthy and reducing the effects of climate change.

3. To prevent soil erosion and improve water quality

Intricate tree root systems hold soil in place, encouraging water to seep into soil rather than running off into nearby water sources. This process is important as runoff picks up and carries pollutants which can run into rivers, lakes, wetlands and oceans, where it can have a negative impact on aquatic ecosystems and wildlife.

4. To create and restore habitats

Without trees, hundreds of species of animals and other native vegetation would have nowhere to call home. A single tree can provide a home to a number of living things including mammals, reptiles, birds and smaller organisms such as insects, fungi and other plants.

Planting native seedlings can improve habitat for native wildlife, leading to increased populations and supporting endangered species. It also allows for the development of vegetation corridors, which are crucial in allowing wildlife to move between fragmented habitats.

5. To improve your mental and physical health

Humans are biophilic creatures, meaning we have an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other lifeforms. Because of this, being in the presence of nature reduces stress and anxiety in humans, in addition to other health benefits such as lowering blood pressure and reducing risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke. Getting out and planting trees is a fun and easy thing to do and a great activity to connect with family, friends and your community.

We know that trees have many benefits. In forests they provide habitat, wood, biodiversity and ecosystem services. In cities, they can mitigate the urban heat island effect by cooling the air and reducing greenhouse gases.

But, perhaps surprisingly, there is increasing evidence that trees are also good for our mental health.