Trees are one of the most recognizable living things on earth. Even though there are thousands of types of trees, they all have the same basic shape and parts. All trees are unique, but all species and types of trees have many things in common, as well.
Humans and animals exhale carbon dioxide as a waste product of respiration (breathing). Trees need carbon dioxide, and they breathe it in and covert it to oxygen. Trees and humans need each other in order to survive. Each takes the other's respiration waste products and turns it into something necessary for survival.
Trees remove pollutants from the air, acting as living scrub brushes for the outdoors. In just 24 hours, an acre of trees absorbs the amount of carbon dioxide that a car produces in two years. Trees also trap soot and particulates (tiny particles of harmful dusts and powders) within their respiratory systems. Without trees, these particulates would be breathed into human lungs where they could do damage.
Trees that grow along riverbanks, streams and beaches protect the earth from becoming eroded. By supporting the banks, trees help to keep them strong and high enough to withstand some flooding.
The leaves, blossoms and bark of many trees are used for medicinal purposes. Some tree parts are used to make herbal teas. Some asthma and cough medications are made from parts of trees. Aspirin, which is used as a pain reliever and blood thinner, is made from the bark of the willow tree.
Trees are used in some form every single day. Pencils, writing paper, books, homes and furniture are all made from trees. Each year, the average American uses the equivalent of a 100-foot tree. Luckily, trees are a renewable resource, and many things made from trees are recyclable.