Trees are a living miracle.

waldmueller treeFerdinand Georg Waldmüller (1793 – 1865)
O
ld Grove

 

Diana Beresford-Kroeger is a native of Ireland who has bachelor’s degrees in medical biochemistry and botany.
She favors what she terms a bioplan, reforesting cities and rural areas with trees according to the medicinal, environmental, nutritional, pesticidal and herbicidal properties she claims for them, which she calls ecofunctions.

Ms. Beresford-Kroeger is also concerned about the fate of the Northern forests because of overharvest and the destruction of ecosystems.
Federal scientists estimate more than 93 percent of old growth has been cut.
As forests are fragmented, they dry out, losing wildlife and insect species. As a result, subtle relationships, the nerve system of biodiversity, are breaking down before they have been studied.

“In a walk through old growth forest, there are thousands if not millions of chemicals and their synergistic effects with one another,” she said. “What trees do chemically in the environment is something we’re only beginning to understand.”

Edward O. Wilson, a Harvard biologist, said that more research into the role of trees in the ecosystem was imperative and that it was alarming how little was known. “We need more research of this kind to use the things we have, such as trees, to their fullest,” he said.

Both Dr. Wilson and Ms. Beresford-Kroeger proposed using stock from old-growth forests for planting new forest in the hopes of taking advantage of good genetics. “There’s an enormous difference between old-growth forests and tree plantations,” Dr. Wilson said.

A recent study by researchers at Columbia found that children in neighborhoods that are tree-lined have asthma rates a quarter less than in neighborhoods without trees. The Center for Urban Forest Research estimates that each tree removes 1.5 pounds of pollutants from the air. Trees are also used to remove mercury and other pollutants from the ground, something called phytoremediation.

And, of course, trees store carbon dioxide, which mitigates global warming.

“Trees are a living miracle,” Ms. Beresford-Kroeger said. “Leaves can take in carbon dioxide and create oxygen. And all creatures must have oxygen.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/12/science/12prof.html

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