Why All Animals Need Trees #teamtrees

Being a tree ain’t easy. Dogs pee on them. People cut them down for raw materials to
make everything from toilet paper to million dollar homes, and those that dare to defend
them are called “tree huggers”—a moniker that makes it difficult for most people to
take their cause seriously. But the simple truth is that we should all
do what can to promote tree conservation, because every animal on the planet depends
on them. In this episode of Animal Facts, we’ll focus
on the relationship between animals and trees, a mutually beneficial relationship that is
vital to the life cycles of both. The #teamtrees initiative started by YouTuber
MrBeast has a goal of putting 20 million trees in the ground around the globe by January
2020. All proceeds go to the Arbour Day Foundation
that promises to plant a tree for every dollar donated. Check it out, there is a link below this video. Trees are essential to the continuity of all
species. Well, for starters, they produce the element
that we all need to survive—oxygen. But there are so many other ways that trees
are essential to the survival of wildlife. The life cycle of a tree consists of seven
stages: seed, sprout, seedling, sapling, mature, decline, and snag. Each stage either directly or indirectly provides
one or more basic needs of our animal friends. Forest animals such as birds, squirrels, deer,
and bears rely on nuts or seeds, like acorns for food. In the process of foraging for seeds, some
of them get stuck to their feathers and fur, hitching a ride to other areas, where the
seeds sprout up into new trees, furthering the growth diversity of the area. And sometimes, our furry friends forget where
they’ve buried their snack stash, and before you know it there’s a new sprout in neighborhood. It’s a win for the animals and the trees. Sprouts and seedlings provide valuable nutrients
for small creatures, many of whom are herbivorous, and depend solely on plant material for food. The sprout and seedling stages are also the
most critical periods in the life cycle of a tree. Like babies of any other life form, “baby
trees” need to be fed regularly. Trees make their own food through photosynthesis,
a process which requires sufficient amounts of water, sunlight, and carbon dioxide from
the air. If a baby tree gets too much or too little
of these elements, its delicate internal balance will be upset and it will die—but its death
will not be in vain. The remains will decompose and help fertilize
the soil, so other plants and trees will have a better chance to mature and thrive. Once trees reach maturity, they are invaluable
to the wildlife that surrounds them. Like humans, animals prefer to live in areas
where they have access to everyday conveniences. So what better place for an animal to set
up camp than a strong, healthy tree? Not only do trees provide shelter, strong
limbs for resting and nesting, and lookout posts for hunting prey, they also supply the
most precious commodity of all—food. Most tree dwellers survive on the fruits,
nuts or leaves that their trees produce. It’s like owning a farm or house with a
garden out back. Can’t get more convenient than that. Any sensible landlord collects rent from tenants,
and trees are no different. For all that the trees offer them, the animals
help the trees in three very important ways: pollination, propagation, and fertilization. Plants and trees create new seeds through
pollination. As hummingbirds, or insects like bees and
butterflies travel from flower to flower sucking their nectar, pollen from the flowers’ stamens
cling to them and when they touch another plant’s stigma, the pollen is deposited
and a new seed begins to form. Seeds are introduced into new territory through
propagation. Propagation occurs when animals eat a tree’s
fruit, digest it and defecate in another location, leaving the seeds behind to grow into new
trees, or when seeds get stuck to or tangled in an animal’s fur and fall off elsewhere. Perhaps the most precious commodity that an
animal can offer a tree is poop—yes, poop. When used as a fertilizer, animal manure is
a rich source of nutrients, organic matter, and microbes. These nutrients are building blocks that are
essential to the tree’s growth, and the microbes are nature’s hazmat crew, helping
to rid the soil of contaminants. Poop as a decontaminant…Ironic, don’t
you think? Even snags, or standing trees that are dead
or dying, play an important part in sustaining wildlife. Birds and other animals claim snags as storage
units or use them for roosting, nesting, and perching. Mature trees with attributes similar to dying
trees, like hollowed-out trunks, cavities or dead branches can also prove valuable to
the animals in surrounding areas. In addition, snags can add to the biodiversity
of an area by attracting wildlife that wouldn’t normally be found there. Also, snags that are rooted near rivers or
streams may fall into the water, enhancing the aquatic habitat and supplying wildlife
like ducks, frogs, and alligators with wood for perching, shelter, and nesting. Now it’s time we break it all the way down—literally. Although decaying logs and dead wood are part
of the final stage of a tree’s life cycle, it doesn’t mean these remains aren’t as
valuable as they once were. They just serve a new purpose for a different
set of creatures. The nutrients and moisture of decaying logs
encourage new plant growth, and provide the perfect habitat for earthworms and many insects,
like beetles. Wood from dead trees is also naturally repurposed
as ground cover, which helps curb soil erosion, and keeps wildlife, such as deer, from plundering
plant seedlings. Finally, as bacteria, fungi, and insects break
down the wood, it becomes softer and softer until it decomposes completely and returns
to the earth. Yep, the symbiotic relationship between trees
and animals is so tightly woven that without it, life as we know it would cease to exist. And although being a tree ain’t easy, they
make life considerably easier for us. So, next time you go hiking or take a walk
in the park, “branch out” and hug a tree…they deserve it!

8 thoughts on “Why All Animals Need Trees #teamtrees

  1. As admirable as this is, there are some problems with it. The problem with too much CO2 is not really destruction of trees, as bad as that is. It's smog and hydrocarbons created by 100 big companies. There isn't enough room to plant enough trees to be able to compensate for all the CO2 produced by these sources. The money would be better spent in other ways to combat climate change. Look at the Green New Deal.

  2. Trees are awesome and much needed by animals and humans alike. I don't understand the wanton destruction of trees. Thank you for this beautiful video!

  3. I like the topic here and find it very true and extremely educational for all of us calling this little blue ball home! Thanks again Animal Facts!

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