It is known that trees act as stores of carbon dioxide and synthesize oxygen. Their function as a habitat for small organisms and animals is also quickly apparent. Less well known, however, seems to be their enormous importance for the water supply, i.e. for the groundwater, for rivers and lakes and also for the cultivation of agricultural products.
Trees increase and regulate the soil’s storage capacity for water. With their roots, they prevent rainwater from seeping away or evaporating immediately. The stored water is then slowly and evenly returned to the earth. This effect is extremely useful for agricultural areas. Exceptions are plants such as the eucalyptus tree, which penetrate very deeply into the groundwater with their tap roots and thus turn off the water from the higher layers of the earth.
Trees protect against erosion. In the lowlands they ensure that less earth is carried away by wind and water by holding the earth, so to speak. This effect is also very useful on river banks in order to keep the respective river in steady courses instead of the bank edges being carried away by the water flow.
Trees bring rain. Through the formation of so-called terpenes, trees have the ability to stimulate cloud formation and thus attract precipitation through rain. This effect is also extremely useful for making the surrounding land fertile.
With the help of trees, even desert areas can become usable land again. By combining the above effects, it is possible to re-create fertile land in arid and desert areas with the help of afforestation. The combination of an intensive and extensive approach makes sense here: both fast and slow growing trees should be planted. This creates a short-term effect that lasts for 1-2 years, but at the same time the foundation is laid for creating a dense green again with the help of slowly growing plants. This method can be used to restore ecological balance in the relevant areas.
Conclusion: trees are essential to regulate the ecological water balance. It makes sense to plant certain types of trees on rivers, lakes, fields, etc. Forest areas are excellent guarantees of a good groundwater supply. And with the targeted, scientific use of reforestation, even drought areas can be cultivated again.
By Elias Amritesha Rolf