Soil Stabilization Through Tree Planting

Sabriga Turgon

“The nation that destroys its soil destroys itself.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt

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Shifting sands, falling coastlines, crumbling riverbanks…scary problems with a simple solution — TREES. Creating or controlling soil stabilization by planting trees can save millions of homes for people and habitats for wildlife.

According to the US Bureau of Land Management, “Resilient soils across a landscape provide a number of (ecosystem) services, including buffering nutrient concentrations for long-term productivity, improving water and air quality, and regulating flood waters…”

Wind and water are not soil’s best friends. Without arboreal protection, these two wild forces can drastically change a landscape, destroy watersheds, drive away hundreds of life forms, and eliminate the economic foundation of communities.

Trees are the secret sauce of soil

Every forest floor/soil is different, depending on the climate and the types of trees and plants that compose it. Some soils are more acidic (like under redwood trees), some more neutral (like under pecan trees); some are thick (like in old growth forests), some are thin (like topsoil in the rainforest).

Knowing the soil in your area also tells you what trees will flourish there. Conversely, knowing which trees grow in your area can tell you a lot about the pH or thickness you can expect from the excellent dirt in a forest near you.

But no matter what the climate, temperature, or age, every forest helps preserve the soil in and around it by managing the effects of wind and water.

Tree roots anchor soil, holding it in place so other life forms can grow in it. That branching network beneath the soil introduces water and nutrients. In a forest, the compost created by the marriage of trees and soil teems with vibrant life. And beneath the topsoil compost, hundreds of creatures thrive. According to the World Wildlife Federation, “Forests also provide habitat for a vast array of plants and animals, many of which are still undiscovered.“

The canopy of rural trees buffers and breaks apart strong winds that would otherwise shriek through the area, carrying soil nutrients away with it. Cool soil beneath the canopy nurtures a vibrant ecosystem.

In cities, trees and their canopies interrupt the wind that can build in strength as it passes through the wind tunnels created by high buildings and straight streets. And in the desert, those canopies create new moisture that helps anchor the soil, introduces more life forms, and encourages new economies to grow.

Along healthy rivers, trees line the banks, acting like arboreal security police that guard and protect. They hold the soil in place and prevent it falling into the water where it could accelerate sedimentation. They create buffers to protect and maintain riverside habitats, shade the water for cold-water fish and reptiles, and aerate the riverside soil so it captures rainfall yet drains well.

Soil preservation is essential to stable environments and lifestyles. Where the soil is protected and developed, it gives rise to new life. Where the right trees grow in the right place, soil thrives.

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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