Trees play a key role in our battle against climate change, regulating the impact of storms and floods, and harbour biologically-diverse ecosystems. They also play a very important role for many animals in providing shelter, jobs and security. Within our cities, trees purify the air and ground water, regulate temperatures, provide shade, and encourage pride of place.
Ultimately, trees promote life and are an important element in our eco-system. Trees do not just produce oxygen and sequester carbon dioxide, they also recharge groundwater, replace soil nitrates, prevent erosion and more. Trees control climate by moderating the effects of the sun, rain and wind. Leaves absorb and filter the sun’s radiant energy, keeping things cool in summer. Trees also preserve warmth by providing a screen from harsh wind. In addition to influencing wind speed and direction, they shield us from the downfall of rain, sleet and hail. Trees also lower the air temperature and reduce the heat intensity of the greenhouse effect by maintaining low levels of carbon dioxide.
No tree dies of old age. They are generally killed by insects, disease or by people. California Bristlecone Pines and Giant Sequoias are regarded as the oldest trees and have been known to live 4,000 to 5,000 years.
Malta has around 60 tree species, many of which are quite rare and are protected. The oldest trees in Malta are olive trees dating back some 2,000 years ago. Yet trees that are native to the Mediterranean islands are becoming very rare in the wild and are regarded as endangered species. Many Maltese indigenous trees have completely disappeared from our natural habitat.
The addition of an indigenous tree to any environment will have countless environmental benefits. We encourage all our readers to protect our trees and if possible help by planting new trees.