Air, What’s a Tree Got to Do with It?

Most of us do not walk around thinking about the air we are breathing, at least not until there are serious changes notable by sight or scent. Those of us with more than an elementary school education know that breathable air is not just magically “there”, but how often do we really think about how clean air is produced? We owe our clean air to trees.

Trees are natural filters. Humans and animals breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. Through nature’s processes, trees “breathe” in carbon dioxide and other pollutants and exhale clean oxygen. In truth, all plants help to filter the air, but without trees, there would not be enough oxygen in the air to sustain life. Big trees are especially important as they recycle the most air and provide the majority of the oxygen in our atmosphere.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, “One acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen. This is enough to meet the annual needs of 18 people.”

Another way in which trees improve air quality is by conserving electricity. Shade trees reduce the need for air conditioning, thereby saving energy and reducing carbon in the air (Department of Energy).

A tree has everything to do with the air we breathe. A tree’s place in the cycle of life is integral to sustaining life on our planet. That is why it is so important to combat deforestation by recycling products made from trees, planting trees and educating others on the value of trees on our earth.

One tree cannot provide enough oxygen for life on earth, but according to the Colorado Tree Coalition, “If every American family planted one tree a year, it would remove more than a billion pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere annually.” It starts with one tree, but it takes a village; it takes a nation; it takes a world.


U.S. Department of Agriculture

U.S. Department of Energy


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