In the UK, we are all appreciating the beautiful Autumn colours of our trees. From rich reds to rusty browns and burnished golds, we cannot help but feel serene, peaceful and tranquil in a grove of trees.
Trees provide us with so many other benefits that perhaps we take for granted. These include the following:
- Trees supply safety and a home for much wildlife. Our lives are undoubtedly enriched by the presence of birds and other small mammals who shelter among their branches.
- Local climates are moderated from the extreme effects of sun, wind, and rain. Radiant energy from the sun is absorbed or deflected by leaves on deciduous trees in the summer and is only filtered by branches of deciduous trees in winter. Trees also play a part in combating climate change. Rain, sleet, snow and hail are absorbed or slowed by trees, providing some protection for people, pets, and buildings. Trees intercept water, store some of it, and reduce storm water runoff, thus decreasing soil erosion and the accumulation of sediments in streams. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, removing and storing the carbon while releasing the oxygen back into the air. In one year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the amount of carbon dioxide produced when a car is driven for 26,000 miles.
- Trees in urban surroundings can screen unattractive views and soften the harsh effects of masonry, metal, asphalt, steel, and glass. They can create a huge impact on how a community is perceived by visitors and they can positively affect the mood and community pride of its residents.
- Research shows that the soothing effect of nearby trees and foliage can significantly reduce workplace stress levels and fatigue, calm traffic, and even reduce the recovery time needed after illness. Apartment buildings with higher levels of green space have lower crime rates than nearby blocks without trees.
- Because of their potential for long life, trees are frequently planted as living memorials. We often become personally attached to trees that we, or those we love, have planted.
Have you ever wanted to work with trees? To make an important difference to the natural world? This wide-ranging subject is known as Arboriculture. A knowledgeable arborist understands that working with trees is about more then felling them; once a tree is removed it cannot be put back. Arborists are there to encourage and maintain healthy, growing trees where at all possible; their work therefore has an important role in the community.
Opportunities in this growing industry include employment in private specialist contracting businesses, self-employment, local and state government positions. Activities include the maintenance and care of trees and large shrubs in private gardens, public parks, reserves, bushland reserves, recreational areas, industrial complexes, housing estates and institutions. The Academy for Distance Learning provides a variety of courses in Arboriculture. Why not check these out?
By Iona Lister
Iona has been a clinician and manager of health services for fifteen years, and a trainer for UK-based medical charities, focusing on psychosocial issues, mental health disorders, and also the promotion of communication skills for people in helping roles. She tutors and facilitates groups via workshops and teleconferences, and now specialises in Sight Loss. As a freelance writer, she contributes regular feature articles for magazines, has written five published books, as well as published courses relating to personal development and counselling skills.