More and more individuals are accepting the idea that we've got to change our ways if we want our planet to be preserved. We have a finite number of natural resources, and it's our responsibility to ensure their longevity.
One of the most important of those resources is our precious forested lands. Unfortunately, we're losing them every year at an alarming rate.
Tree loss has implications for our planet that far exceed just losing the beauty of a hardwood forest. It's time we take a look at what we can do as individuals to help conserve trees and stop devastating losses to our forests.
It starts with understanding what products put our trees most at risk and knowing just what the eventual consequences can be if we continue to lose them. Then, it's important to know there are many practical ways you and your household can contribute to efforts to save trees.
Products and Processes Promoting Tree Loss
Several industries and products are responsible for our remarkable decrease in forested lands.
Pasture expansion for beef is the main driver behind deforestation, responsible for 41% of tree loss worldwide. Agriculture is responsible for a significant share, particularly crops for seed oils like soy and palm. Forestry, which includes logging for wood and paper, clears 680,000 hectares per year. (1)
Other reasons our trees are so vulnerable:
- Roads and other infrastructure construction
- Urban expansion
Extreme weather events linked to climate change, like wildfires, droughts, and extreme flooding, are natural occurrences that contribute to tree loss.
The Toll of Losing Our Trees
According to National Geographic, about 2,000 years ago, 80 percent of Western Europe was forested; today, the figure is 34 percent. Nearly half of the forests in the eastern part of North America were used up for building materials and agriculture by the 1870s. Between 1990 and 2010, China lost over two million hectares of forest.
A new WWF report on global forest cover and forest loss finds that over 160,000 square miles, an area roughly the size of California, were lost in deforestation hotspots around the world between 2004 and 2017. (2)
Losing trees puts human health and the health of our planet at risk.
With a decrease in trees comes an increase in carbon dioxide. Trees take in this greenhouse gas during photosynthesis, and with fewer trees around to absorb carbon dioxide, the gas accumulates in the atmosphere and accelerates climate change.
Tree loss also disrupts our biodiversity. Countless species of plants and animals make their homes in our woodland areas. When forests are harvested, the habitats for these species are destroyed, which can lead to endangerment and even extinction.
Erosion is another issue. Removing trees leaves soil more vulnerable, putting other native plants in danger of losing the nutrients they need to thrive. Erosion due to tree loss is slowly turning once lush, moist forest areas into bare, arid spaces.
But what can you do? The tragedy of deforestation is indeed a global issue that can seem insurmountable from an individual point of view; however, there are many small steps individuals can take that add up to big gains for our forests!
Practical Ways to Save Trees
Saving trees can start small, and it can start with you! Here are several smart ways to save trees just by modifying some of your current behaviors.
Reduce Paper Usage
One of the easiest ways to save trees is to reduce paper usage. You can start by using digital alternatives such as e-books, e-newsletters, and e-bills. Many companies offer paperless options for their products as well as paperless ways to pay.
When you're at the office, think about preserving printing jobs. Printing only when necessary and printing double-sided can also go a long way in reducing paper usage.
Support Reforestation Efforts
Consider joining in to support reforestation efforts. There are several reputable and worthy organizations noted for their focus on protecting our forests.
Making donations and volunteering to help such organizations is a big help in restoring the tree cover that has been lost over time.
When you do find a great tree conservation group to support, help them raise awareness. Share their efforts and let others know they should join you in supporting and promoting them.
Raising awareness and educating others on how they can help is crucial for getting people involved and making a bigger impact.
Adopt Sustainable Purchasing Practices
Consumers have a lot of power to help save the planet. When you purchase goods that have the environment at heart, you're helping! You're also making a powerful statement that eco-friendly products are important and should continue to increase on supermarket shelves.
Try starting with a simple swap in the bathroom. ecoHiny organic toilet paper is a completely tree-free product you can feel good about introducing into your home.
Add Other Sustainable Household Practices
Recycling reduces the amount of waste that goes into landfills. These are both overall environmentally-conscious practices, but they can actually end up having an effect on trees.
Recycling slows the need for manufacturing new materials, which can then lessen the need for some of the activities that clear trees, like mining and logging.
Conservation at Home
Planting trees in your yard or neighborhood provides shade and helps to keep the surroundings cool during hot weather. Trees can also attract birds and other wildlife, which can help to create a more diverse and interesting ecosystem in your backyard.
Planting trees can also enhance the aesthetic appeal of your home and increase its overall value.
Benefits of Saving Trees
The environmental impact of saving our trees is immense. Because trees are our biggest combatants against carbon, we need them in our battle against climate change. Saving trees also means delicate ecosystems and viable animal habitats remain intact.
Trees help preserve our soil and ensure that our land is fertile and able to sustain Earth's vital biodiversity. Their roots contribute to keeping the soil intact during storms and floods, preventing the loss of valuable land and damage to infrastructure.
Saving trees has a number of social and health advantages. Trees help to purify the air by absorbing pollutants, such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. This can lead to a reduction in respiratory problems, such as asthma and bronchitis.
They're also simply beautiful. A landscape rich in green foliage is a calming, therapeutic sight that provides shade and comfort.
Save Trees by Starting With Your T.P.
Because the paper industry is a major culprit in tree loss, we know you want to cut down on your contributions to deforestation. ecoHiny has the solution for you!
Purchasing our 100% bamboo toilet paper means you can wipe with a clear conscience, knowing there's no one flushing our forests in your household. Bamboo toilet paper is the most sustainable, eco-friendly option out there.
If you're on board to start saving trees, give ecoHiny eco-friendly toilet paper a try. Your smart switch is significant. We're here to help you combat a major issue facing our forests.
Buy ecoHiny, and together, we will give trees a chance!
- "Cutting down forests: what are the drivers of deforestation?" Our World in Data, ourworldindata.org/what-are-drivers-deforestation.
- "Responsible Forestry: Timber." World Wildlife Foundation, www.worldwildlife.org/industries/timber.