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Trees are what make planet earth a livable planet. Without trees, there would be no crunchy apples, delicious walnuts that go into fudge, or maple syrup to put on pancakes.

In forests, oaks, hickories, maples and other trees drop their leaves every year. The dropped leaves add to the richness of the soil, and support many plants that grow there.

Then, as the leaves decompose, they feed the rich soil ecosystem loaded with bacteria, fungi, worms, mites and insects. Animals eat the acorns and mushrooms and berries that grow in the rich soil. Their droppings, in turn, feed the roots of the trees. And the dead leaves and other natural litter on the floor of the forest, along with dead tree trunks, provide cover for hundreds of animals.

Trees not only provide homes for wildlife, they help clean the air and purify our water. They collect and filter rainwater that becomes groundwater. The decomposing leaves, bark and tree trunks create a porous soil. This porous soil is like a huge sponge, absorbing the water and purifying it as it seeps into the ground.

Through their growth, transpiration, and death, trees transfer minerals and nutrients from the air, water and soil. They also stabilize the soil and keep it from eroding. And trees help prevent drought by maintaining steady stream flows into drier seasons.

But, scientists say, the Global benefits of forests are even more important. One half of all forms of life on the planet live in forests. So a forest's ecosystem is critical for evolution.

Trees generate vast amounts of oxygen. The average tree releases 13 pounds of oxygen a year, enough to meet the breathing needs of a family of four! That’s just from one tree. When we breathe, our lungs take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide. Trees and other plants do just the opposite.

The average tree absorbs 26 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. This 26 pounds of carbon dioxide equals the amount emitted by one car traveling 11,300 miles! Trees and other plants keep the earth’s carbon levels in balance. This is imperative because carbon build-up in the atmosphere is the major contributor to global warming.

Besides being a food source, with their nuts and fruits, trees are also an energy source. Many products such as paper, pencils, furniture, lumber and even medicines are made from trees.

Without trees, birds wouldn’t have a place to raise their young in, there wouldn’t be shade, to escape the hot sun from, there wouldn’t be challenging limbs to climb. Trees make our planet a living, beautiful, livable world!