Here in Vermont, it’s impossible to live without being personally touched by trees. From their colorful plumage in the fall to their fresh regrowth in the spring, trees provide a kind of beauty and calm that is hard to find anywhere else. Whenever I’m stressed, I like to look out at the forest and watch the swaying branches and fluttering of birds, each living their own lives but relying heavily on each other for safety. In normal life, it’s easy to feel like my problems are the center of the universe, but after observing the utter connectedness and serenity of trees, I am finally able to put things into perspective. Though I’m not the kind of person who particularly enjoys a hike in the woods, seeing and understanding the balance of nature give me a sense of center that is unique and crucial for enduring these troubling times.
Trees are also essential for the survival of many Vermont ecosystems, as they provide important habitats for animals and are central to the cycle of energy and matter. During the day, trees use the available sunlight to photosynthesize, which creates both energy for themselves and clean oxygen for other organisms. Trees are also an important food source- many of Vermont’s native animals rely on their leaves, fruit, and branches to get through the winter. Even the ones that don’t consume trees still rely on them in other ways, for habitats, hiding places, or even just the stability that they provide. Without trees, very few of the species here today would be able to survive, and Vermont would be a very different place.
Though the support that trees provide for natural ecosystems impacts us as well, trees also help human communities in other ways. It could be said that they provide habitats for us- they can be used as building materials for our homes, wood for our fires, and are the source of the numerous paper products that we use every day. They also give us the maple syrup that our state is so famous for, as well as delicious apples, nuts, and other foods. As a result of this, we have more jobs: to harvest the fruit, boil the sap, prepare the wood, and build homes with the material that trees most graciously provided. Just like they do for ecosystems in nature, trees also provide clean air for us, keeping Vermonters free of the pollution induced illnesses that plague other regions in the world. Unfortunately, however, their generosity isn’t endless. If we cut down too many trees and continue to take their limited resources for granted, there will be drastic consequences for the climate, nature, and our communities. It’s important that we remember to be grateful and sustainable with our use of trees, so we can continue to reap the benefits of having a forest in our backyard.
PLANT. LIVE. GROW.