On April 25, 2020, the time has come again: The International Day of the Tree is celebrated worldwide as an annual holiday to make us humans aware of the great importance of trees. Especially the present time underlines the importance of forests and meadows where we can find recreation. In the following, we at HAILO would like to share some exciting information to shed light on the background to this internationally celebrated day.
Without the trees and forests, our ecosystem would not be the same. Because their role is so important for people, the environment and the climate, the holiday was created in Germany in 1952. However, trees are not only the well-known "green lung" of our planet: Trees provide habitat or food for countless animal species. The raw material wood, from which paper, furniture or houses are made, has become an indispensable part of our lives.
Every year, numerous events take place worldwide on the occasion of the International Day of the Tree. Cities and communities celebrate the Arbor Day, which was adopted by the UN in 1951, with symbolic tree plantings, among other things. On the first Arbor Day, which was initiated in 1872 by the State of Nebraska in the USA, over one million trees were planted. Each year, different tree species are the focus of attention - in 2019, the flutter elm was the "Tree of the Year" in Germany.
Trees are so important for the ecosystem because they store pollutants from the air, convert them into oxygen and release the oxygen to their environment (the so-called photosynthesis). The existence of trees thus contributes significantly to our air quality. On average, a tree binds around 20 kilograms of climate-damaging carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, although exact figures are difficult to establish. The same applies to the amount of oxygen released. It can be roughly estimated that a single tree can supply between 10 and 15 people with oxygen per day.
Trees also represent an important and indispensable raw material for humanity. Many people around the world are dependent on the timber industry. It is therefore important to keep wood production and unregulated deforestation in balance and to counteract massive deforestation through legislation and reforestation initiatives. Symbolic events, such as the International Day of the Tree, help to draw attention to the importance of trees and to ensure environmental protection.
Incidentally, around one third of the total area in Germany is forest land. This corresponds almost exactly to the ratio of the forested area to the total area worldwide. The most common tree in the German forest is spruce - closely followed by beech and pine. Among the pines is also the largest of our native specimens - at 65 meters, this is the Douglas fir "Waldtraut", which is located near Freiburg. The world's tallest trees even reach a height of over 100 meters.
In our current situation, many people find it difficult to avoid contact and to limit their own stay to their apartment, supermarket and pharmacy. But that is not necessary at all! The forest offers a wide range of leisure activities that not only bring variety and fun, but are also beneficial to your health - and most of them are completely free of charge.
A delicious mushroom risotto or a fresh wild garlic bread has been on your cooking list for a long time? Nothing easier than that! If you are well versed in botany, woods and meadows offer you numerous healthy herbs and flowers for culinary processing or for decorating your home. Before you go for a walk, however, you should inform yourself sufficiently about the desired plants so that you can avoid potential poisonous herbs.
The shady green areas are also ideal for sporting activities. Depending on your mood, you can go for a walk or jog - or use your bicycle, which is already slowly gathering dust in the garage. And your dog or horse will certainly also enjoy a trip into the green nature. The forest as a natural oxygen supplier promotes and supports your natural, deep breathing.
These are just a few suggestions to bring a little bit of holiday home to you. Find out on your local forest pages on the Internet which activities your public recreation area offers and how you can best use it!