Sunday, April 20, 2008

Earth Day: Trees Need Our Help

As you know, trees are vital to the health of the Earth. They filter the air, using photosynthesis to store carbon dioxide and release oxygen back into the atmosphere. Trees also help with climate by regulating local and regional rainfall. Finally, there is global awareness as to the importance of trees. The United Nations has started a Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign, and countries across the world are joining in, pledging and planting.
Humans are not the only ones who plant trees. Animals do too. Seeds exist in a dormant state. Some need the fierce heat of fire to begin germination. Others need sustained periods of cold, ensuring the young plant doesn’t sprout too soon and then be killed by frost. A larger number of seed groups need to have their tough outer husks abraded by the digestion or partial digestion of animals.
After the Dodo bird became extinct, the Tambalacocque, or dodo tree, no longer sprouted new seedlings. The existing trees still grew and bore fruit, but no new trees were detected. It was discovered that the Dodo had consumed the tree’s fruit and digested the seeds, thereby weakening the seed’s husk. Once the seeds were passed through their systems, the Dodo provided a fertilized soil in which the seeds could grow. No Dodo, no Dodo tree. Happily the Tambalacocque trees did not suffer the same fate as the birds. Botanists have used manual abrasion as well as the digestive tract of turkeys to keep the Dodo tree from extinction.
So plant a tree today. Or save an animal. It could be the same thing. If you don’t have the time or the money, use your mouse to make a difference. It just takes a click.
Reduce your Carbon Footprint Protect some Habitat Rescue the Apes Preserve the Big Cats Keep our Oceans Clean Save the Seals

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