This year, with your help, Honoring a Life will plant thousands of memorial trees throughout the United States and Canada with our planting partners, American Forests and The Canadian Institute of Forestry. Forests are crucial to so many aspects of life that their importance cannot be understated — it begins with providing the air we breathe, filtering the water we drink, sheltering the wildlife we love, and it continues with a long list of other benefits too hefty to convey succinctly. We understand the importance of forests to life on the planet and are making a lasting commitment to their protection, especially this Earth Month.
But, sometimes, it is difficult to grasp the deep impact even one tree can have on our environment. Some may ask, “How will just one tree make a difference?” Each individual tree that we plant will absorb 48 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere annually. One mature tree can also filter as much as 36,500 gallons of drinking water per year, and, given that the average person drinks roughly 90 gallons of water annually, we are helping to purify the water supply for millions of people. We’re not just doing this for people, either — each tree is an integral part of the forest ecosystem that helps to support wildlife.
Just one square kilometer of forest may be home to more than 1,000 species, and forests are vital to the survival of many threatened and endangered flora and fauna. In the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas alone, there are 500 different species of birds, 300 different butterflies, 900 types of beetles and 1,200 different species of plants. It is also the home of the endangered ocelot, a beautiful cat whose population is sadly estimated to be down to 50 in the United States.
And, we can’t leave the subject of what one tree does without mentioning that just TWO trees supply enough oxygen for you to breathe — every day.
The benefits of forests are abundant, especially when our forests are healthy and thriving. At times this can seem obvious, yet forests across the globe are still in danger and the vital resources they provide are being compromised. Bark beetles and blister rust are decimating stands of pines across the West; population expansion and agriculture have diminished old-growth forests in the eastern U.S. to the point of exceeding rarity — a mere 1 percent remain. Some of the worst wildfires in history have swept through landscapes, including those in the drought-afflicted Sierra Nevada and Fort McMurray, Alberta.
Since 2001, global forest cover has been decreased anywhere from 471 to almost 600 million acres, threatening critical habitats for endangered wildlife all over the world. Now more than ever, it is necessary for everyone to contribute what they can, wherever they can. If you’d like to make a difference, while honoring a life well lived at the same time, we invite you to explore planting an Honoring a Life Memorial Tree. Along with the memorial tree, we will build a memorial page on the Honoring a Life Website, and the recipient of your choosing will also receive a personalized card letting them know of your gesture. Together, we can all do our part to improve the state of our forests!