Interesting question. Planting trees does seem to be the solution many companies use to try to make consumers feel better about their product. First you have to think about all the things planting trees could do. One obvious thing is that they exchange CO2 for Oxygen, which can help slow global warming. They can also provide a home to wildlife, create a root structure that prevents land erosion, and even be food for animals or humans. I am sure there are even more things I am missing.
In terms of mitigating the effects of the oil spill, planting trees likely does not help to filter oil from the ocean or coastline. However, it might help offset the CO2 generated from the early attempts to remove oil by burning it off the top of the ocean.
Great question, Makenzie! I’ve been thinking about the ways in addition to GreenBean’s answer that trees are related to the Gulf spill. One of the main concerns right now in the Gulf is the intrusion of oil into the wetlands. Wetlands are some of the most important land types because they act as a water filter, an extremely active habitat and barriers to hurricane damage. Louisiana is home to 40% of the nation’s coastal wetlands, so wetland restoration is definitely one way to help mitigate the effects of the spill.
There are tree species such as the bald cypress that are planted to directly strengthen wetland ecosystems. The Agricultural Center of Louisiana State University holds tree planting volunteer sessions to restore wetlands in several areas around the state. This is one way that tree planting can help teh Gulf spill zone.
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