Earth’s Primary Ecosystem Services Restoration, explained in 80+ Great Reasons to Plant Diverse Feeding Forests

Photo by Sadhu Govardhan

As promised, we managed to use the Primary Ecosystem Services Nomenclature with some twist. Some reasons to plant trees can unequivocally be economically quantifiable today, some will be unequivocally economically quantifiable soon and some are intuitive or need further scientific evidence or a shift in our way of being to understand the value. Note that Galileo, Einstein and Da Vinci had some intuitions that turned out pretty cool! “E pur se muove!”

Provisioning services are the products obtained from ecosystems such as food, fresh water, wood, fiber, genetic resources, medicines, minerals, proteins, but also services such as education, learning and sciences. These are easy to monetize economically today.

  1. Produce clean water through Foliar evaporation and provide the planet with clean clouds that help move rain around. During a growing season, an acre of corn gives off about 12000 litres of water a day and a one single large Oak tree in Wanakaset France will produce around 400 litres a day. We will not comment on Wanakaset Sri Lanka or Panama where each tree can produce an entire cloud every hour!
  2. Trees produce edible leaves for humans, animals, insects, microbes and bacteria needed to produce humus, essential to life.
  3. Trees produce fruits and delicious syrup from sap like the one Maple trees deliver.
  4. Trees produce extracts used in medicine and are at the forefront of technological innovation! The bark of some trees from the Rubiaceae (coffee family) and the Bignoniaceae when synthesized enabled humans to discover Quinine and other medicine needed to treat Malaria and possibly COVID-19?
  5. Trees produce flowers that feed insects and humans but also produce perfumes or colorants.
  6. Trees produce a bark that is used for cork but also latex.. needed for many interesting things!
  7. Trees can be used as fuel as well and help with barbecue in winter or at night when our solar plants produce nothing, and our batteries are empty. It happens every now and then at Wanakaset as we are off grid.
  8. Forests provide food for herbivores who then become food for carnivores and then offer humans Hunting grounds.
  9. Forests are Future fossil fuels (in a million year or so) and potential bio-gas in the near future.
  10. Mineral weathering, through the roots, trees transform minerals from rocks into minerals in fruits and leaves that are edible. We need those minerals for our immune system.
  11. Forests are excellent for edible Mushroom production that turn wood fiber into edible stuff like truffles.
  12. Spices and coffee or teas are extracted from trees and forests.
  13. Old trees have the ability to give us clues about weather patterns over centuries and millennia. READ MORE
  14. Trees are good for business, increase property value and attract more customers. READ MORE
  15. Trees’ sap and fruits are great for making Alcoholic beverages if needed! (consume moderately) READ MORE
  16. Trees and plants can deliver lethal poison, the pangium edule or conium maculatum. Ask Socrates!
  17. Trees are time machines. Dendrochronology help us date past events. Very useful to archaeologists.
  18. Forests and tree planting generate jobs and saves livelihoods especially during recessions READ MORE
  19. Trees produce pulp needed for paper production but also toilet papers, diapers and adult male and female hygiene/care products.
  20. Forests provided humans with the most illegally traded wild products! By volume and prize, it is actually a tree, a good reason to plant some! READ MORE

Regulating services are defined as the benefits obtained from the regulation of ecosystem processes such as climate regulation, natural hazard regulation, water purification and waste management, pollination or pest control. These are a bit more difficult to monetise at present. Most can be considered as free commodities. Mining Oxygen for example.

  1. Trees sequestrate CO2 in their leaves, branches, trunks but also in their roots
  2. Trees hold the soil together and avoid landslides and thousands of deaths a year.
  3. Trees reduce the risk of waterlogging. READ MORE
  4. Trees reduce the risk of salinization
  5. Trees and forest are used as very effective wind breaks.
  6. Forests slow down, storm, hurricanes and tsunamis when they are made of indigenous and deeply rooted trees.
  7. Forests are exceptional noise reduction systems. Up to 8 to 10 decibels for every 30 metre of trees! The rainfroests of Wanakaset Sri Lanka and Panama remain very noisy and buoyant with life though! READ MORE
  8. Trees or forests provide privacy from nosy neighbours (birds, foxes, etc..)
  9. Nitrogen fixing trees have the rare ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen with the help of Rhizobium and other fungi and turn it into an accessible compound to plants and other trees.
  10. Trees and forests reduce erosion with their roots by slowing down the water flows downstream and reducing the loss of soil to rivers and oceans.
  11. Trees support our Energy Saving efforts. READ MORE
  12. Some trees can delay forest fires and if planted around your house can save your property too! READ MORE and MORE
  13. Trees and Forests slow down coastal erosion too. READ MORE
  14. Produce Free Oxygen and compensate for the Oxygen that internal combustion engines (hydrogen, bioethanol, diesel or jet fuel, etc..) consume to produce energy.
  15. Trees through the root system help water percolate to the aquifer.
  16. Forests regulate the population of pests through biodiversity and to some extent by changing their DNA and/or producing natural enzymes affecting pests growth rate. READ MORE
  17. Trees moderate soil temperature and provide shade unlike solar panels potentially increasing ambient temperatures by 3 degrees through the heat island effect. READ MORE
  18. Forests block sandstorms by collecting the sand and diatoms and turn it into food. But they also slow down deserts slowly moving into arable land. READ MORE
  19. Tree bark is also necessary to scratch your back and that of wild boars and many animals to get rid of pests!
  20. Trees help decontaminate polluted soils. READ MORE
  21. Trees “cleanse” the air we breathe (NO2, Sox, O3). READ MORE and MORE and MORE
  22. From Tony Juniper’s book, we learned about the Biotic Pump Theory which argues that forests are the driving force behind rain precipitation over land masses. It is condensation from forests (intensive evaporation from the canopy area, larger than our oceans) and not temperature differences that bring precipitation over land and all terrestrial life.
  23. Some Trees convert sea water to fresh water. READ MORE
  24. Trees absorb 95% of UV radiations. Amy Chillag of CNN cited David Nowak from the US Forest Services. Indulge in Forest Bathing! READ MORE

Habitat services highlight the importance of ecosystems to provide the habitat environment for all living organisms.

  1. Trees produce material for nests, building homes, furniture and even insulation with cork but also as a living structure are used as nests and dens in their branches, leaves, trunks but also between their roots for a flurry of animals and insects!
  2. Trees protect and nourish each other via fungal networks with Carbon compounds and talk to one another. READ MORE
  3. Big cats need a “tree canopy corridor” to move around. Now we understand and can keep them around. READ MORE
  4. Trees support coastal marine life and river life too! Aquatic and semi aquatic species need them to lay their eggs and as feeding grounds. READ MORE
  5. Some tree canopy enables more food production from a shrub and a vegetable garden layer. Some call it forest gardening, permaculture or Wanakaset (Forest Agriculture in Thai) READ MORE
  6. Trees, through their flowers, leaves, bark and sap produce natural aromas and scents perceptible miles away like those of pine, eucalyptus, orange flowers or camphor!
  7. Trees and plants can absorb many chemicals including Formaldehyde from ambient air and tackle the Sick Building Syndrome. It is very common in South Korea to buy furniture from wood that treats your apartment or office issues. A bed or a chalet made of Stone Pine, Swiss Pine or Cembran Pine seem to reduce the number of heartbeats per night by 3500 strokes. That is a full hour saved 😊.READ MORE

Cultural services include non-material benefits that people and other living organisms obtain from ecosystems such as spiritual enrichment, intellectual development, recreation and aesthetic values.

  1. Some forests or trees are serious tourism attractions, our 350 years old Umbrella Pine in Wanakaset France, the forest in Fontainebleau, Sakura in japan, Kui Buri in Thailand or Jianfengling on the island of Hainan and Kenting National Park on the island of Taiwan.
  2. Trees are used for Art. Background for wedding pictures, flowers to nuts to wood carving. But also man-made gardens on the UNESCO heritage list like Suzhou or Singapore.
  3. Trees provide for excellent obstacles for mountain ski and bike riders!
  4. Without Trees decorated, Christmas would never be the same
  5. Prizes of War! The history of the Nutmeg serves as a reminder that competition for trees was and is still raging. READ MORE
  6. Forests are incredible Playgrounds for kids and humans.
  7. Trees help friends and family remember us. A beautiful reason from a 5-year-old boy leaving Brazil who decided to give away his avocado sapling to his friend hoping he will remember him.
  8. Trees support our mental health. READ MORE
  9. Trees bring us together.
  10. Time spent in forests improves our problem solving abilities and boosts our creativity. READ MORE
  11. Greater Tree canopy cover is associated with lower rates of both violent and property crime. READ MORE
  12. Trees are useful navigators’ companion when lost. READ MORE
  13. Plants and trees have a more positive impact on road safety than initially thought. READ MORE
  14. Trees can be used as free weather stations! Pine cones for instance can be used as hygrometers! READ MORE and MORE
  15. Trees love music and emit sounds that have spiritual powers. READ MORE and MORE
  16. Shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing. Japanese believe hanging out in forests can restore our mood, give us back our energy and vitality, refresh and rejuvenate us. READ MORE
  17. Deodorants anyone? Some trees figured humans might be inconvenienced when smelling certain odours. READ MORE
  18. Trees can be used as funeral homes for infants in some cultures. READ MORE
  19. Trees represent religious deities in many cultures. Some believe trees have souls and others used them to protect their ancestors. READ MORE
  20. Trees are used for Totem poles and monuments by the Haida people. READ MORE and MORE
  21. Trees are wonderful play areas for animals too but also for them to share their art! READ MORE
  22. Trees in the desert give you hope as they highlight proximity to water for both humans and other planet users.
  23. Trees support us when healing from illnesses. READ MORE
  24. Planting trees is an act of faith according to @Kimerer Lamothe. READ MORE
  25. Trees can help you give birth? “Birthing Trees” were more common than you think! From the people of Australias’s Djab Wurrung and all the way to Jamaica (Kitzinger, Oral traditions, Field notes 1964), trees were commonly used to support women giving birth. Now it is a bit easier my wife retorted, men finally admitted some form of responsibilities and started to be the tree!
  26. Just plant trees and do not worry about their sexual life! According to Yampolsky, 1922, 72% of plants are hermaphrodites, 7% are monoecious, 17% are intermediary and only 4% are dioecious. Some can also switch sexes when faced with hardship. A headache for amateurs but when you throw 10 seeds of palm dates in a box, 5 will be male and 5 will be female! Amazing no? READ MORE
  27. Trees through their seeds and roots are genius #Frequent Travellers! Those who refrain from planting trees because they cannot move are mistaken. Trees move around with gravity, wind, ballistic technology, animals and of course humans! You can plant the seeds below, move away (up to 5000km) and you could get your trees back one day! READ MORE
  28. Dreaming of planting in the desert makes you a visionary! “It can flower in the mind even as it withers at your feet”. Burkhard Bilger. READ MORE
  29. Forensic Botany? According to Cleve Backster, plants and trees can spill the beans and solve court cases! Ever since Dr Jagardish Chandra Bose of Culcutta discovered that animals and plants have feelings in 1858, scientific evidence is changing. Jordano was sentenced to death for his intuition that our planet was round and Galileo struggled a bit with “e pur si muove”! READ MORE and MORE and MORE
  30. Trees for Matchmaking? Post #COVID19 dating? Try this 600 year old Oak tree in Germany. It is known as the Tinder ancestor and has been successfully matchmaking for almost 130 years!READ MORE
  31. Trees and plants offer us the potential to Terraform on other planets! READ MORE
  32. Could Planting diverse fruit trees be the next Fitbit app? Planting trees is better than any #Bootcamp, #Marathon or #Ironman! You want to build an anti-fragile body and get into shape? Do it with a purpose! One day, who knows, it may even become an Olympic #sustainability discipline. Lift the plant, lift the tools, run, dig, plant, run again, lift the water, run, water the plant, give it love and go to the next one 😊. You could even do it in winter with your ski gear!
  33. Trees also allow short people to see important things.