Wildlife Habitat Matters

Sabriga Turgon

Planting Trees Nurtures Animal Survival

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OUCH!! According to American Forests, “…a shocking one million species will become endangered in just the next 50 years. Forests are the primary habitat for wildlife around the world.” Planting trees nurtures the survival of animals, birds, insects, fish, and reptiles—not to mention the plants and fungi that need arboreal shade and moisture to survive.

And let’s not forget that, “Three hundred million people worldwide live in forests and 1.6 billion depend on them for their livelihoods.”

Within forests, uncountable numbers of wildlife rely on trees for protection, nesting, food, and water. We may not think that the extinction of a butterfly matters to our child’s survival, but if that butterfly helps pollinate plants that bear the fruit we eat, the butterfly’s extinction means less fruit yields, which means less food for our child.

Planting trees to preserve wildlife habitats helps animals in the short run, and all of us in the long run.

Fortunately, we — the global population — are more and more aware of how to protect and preserve threatened habitats. Even better, organizations around the world are working to partner with governments, NGOs, schools, and private citizens to create programs that help wildlife survive.

Every ecology is different, and the animals within it have evolved to use what the forest gives them.

· Chimpanzees, great apes, and monkeys all live the high life in branches that form the rainforest canopy. Their diet relies largely on leaves and fruits as well as the insects in the bark of trees the apes call home. Tree branches are the hub of life where these close relatives of humans socialize, procreate, and nurture their young.

· Giant pandas exist in the bamboo forests of western China. Their sole source of food is the bamboo tree, and an adult panda can 26–84 pounds of it in one casual day.

· Macaws are only one of a thousand birds that populate and decorate the Amazon rainforest, eating its berries and insects. When macaws travel through the forest, their droppings help spread seeds that replenish and extend it.

· Jaguars not only live in but hunt around rainforests. They rely on it to harbor smaller game, provide protection, and keep rivers cool so fish and reptiles thrive.

· Monarch butterflies range from Canada in the summer to Mexico in the winter. In their winter migration they rely on the moderate climate in Mexican forests for hibernation.

· Brown bears are found in forests throughout the northern hemisphere. Not only do they use the forest for food and protection, they communicate with each other through scratch marks on trees.

· Tree kangaroos live in the rainforests of Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and Queensland, Australia. They are vegetarians, living off the leaves and fruits of the trees they call home.

This tiny list of endangered or threatened species gives us a small taste of what we can protect when we preserve forests, plant more trees, and find better ways of agriculture that don’t require deforestation.

What wonderful creatures rely on the trees in your area for survival?

Planting trees that attract birds, butterflies, or bees is an easy way to increase ecosystem vitality in your own back yard.

What if we measured wealth by the number of trees we planted?

Increase your riches, plant a tree today!

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Helping us get along with each other, the earth, and our precarious future. I write about the beautiful strangeness of life, women & kids, the planet's survival, and reflections from my 60s And I'll help you write your book.

Los Angeles, CA

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