As a common sight along roadways and in yards, trees are seldom appreciated as they should be. They might seem like they just sit there, but in reality they are serving numerous functions that make our world a much better place to live in. One person in America uses 750 pounds of paper each year and 95 percent of our homes are built from wood. Besides that, trees do a number of other amazing things.
Trees do not die of old age. Instead, they are killed by insects, disease or injury. California Bristlecone Pines and Giant Sequoias are the world's oldest trees and have lived up to 4,600 years. In contrast, a tree growing in the city has a life expectancy of a mere eight years, according to TreeLiberty.com.
A tree can have up to 400,000 leaves, or about 1,600 square yards of leaf surface area. A leaf's surfaces acts as an air filter by trapping dust and heavy metals from the air. One acre of trees can remove 13 tons of dust from the air each year. According to a Connecticut study, a single maple tree removed 60mg of cadmium, 820mg of nickel, 140mg of chromium and 5,200mg of lead during a single growing season.
L'Arbre du Ténéré, or the Tree of Ténéré, was considered the most isolated tree on Earth. This acacia tree was the only one growing within 120 miles of the Ténéré region of the Sahara desert. It survived by extending its roots about 100 feet down to reach the water table. The tree survived about 300 years until, ironically, it was struck and killed by a drunk driver in 1973. On the other side of the planet you can find the Amazon Basin, which at 81.5 million acres is the largest area of forest.
A 369-foot-tall Giant Sequoia tree growing in California's Redwood National Park is the tallest tree in the United States. It has a circumference of about 270 feet, weighs about 2,750 tons and is about 2,000 years old. A 236-foot tall Ada tree in Australia has a 50 foot girth and a root system that expands over an acre.
The average-sized tree produces 260 pounds of oxygen and provides seven dollars worth of environmental savings by reducing pollution and helping conserve energy. Trees provide shade and wind buffers that reduce heating and cooling costs by 2.1 billion dollars each year, according to SavATree.com. Trees also provide drinking water by inducing rainfall and reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the air.