Trees are our breathing partners. You may not live in a forest, but you need trees in order to live. People and animals depend on trees and plants for oxygen. As you breathe in, your body uses oxygen. As you breathe out, it gives off carbon dioxide. Trees do just the opposite. They take in Carbon Dioxide and then release oxygen (which also helps clean the air).
Trees also help cool the Earth. Trees give off moisture. More moisture in the air means more rain and all living things need water. Trees cool the air by shading and through water evaporation. They act like huge pumps to cycle water up from the soil back into the air. The 200,000 leaves on a healthy 100 foot tree can take 11,000 gallons of water from the soil and breathe it into the air in a single growing season.
Trees are also very important for us as a renewable resource. Trees are a natural resource that can be renewed - by the planting of trees - replacing the trees that are harvested for use by people. We depend on forest products for things like the wood we burn for heat and the wood we use to make houses and furniture. We use trees for the paper to make books and letters we write. Actually, there are more than 5,000 things made from trees. Trees give us baseball bats, shoe polish, and even tooth paste that comes from tree extracts.
Today, the people and companies that manage our nation's forests recognize that trees are a valuable resource and that it is in the best interest of each of us to conserve them. The idea of sustainable forestry means trying to keep things in balance - when trees are cut down to make paper and other products, new trees are planted or regrow naturally. Forests helps wildlife by providing them food and a home. Trees and forests help us by cleaning our air, soil, and water - and provide a place for you to camp and hike! So you can help the world by planting a tree.