Page last updated: 4th November 2010
This is our treeformation page - here you will find a couple of
fascinating facts about trees- the topic of our project. Read on to
amaze your friends with your spectacular tree knowledge!
For more information on the latest tree related activities taking
place in Ireland click onto the link below.
Tree Council of
Did you know?
1) Trees renew
our air supply by absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen.
The amount of oxygen produced by an acre of trees per year equals the
amount consumed by 18 people annually. One tree produces nearly 260
pounds of oxygen each year.
3) One acre of trees removes up to 2.6 tons of carbon dioxide each year.
4) Shade trees can make buildings up to 20 degrees cooler in the summer.
5) Trees lower air temperature by evaporating water in their leaves.
6) Tree roots stabilize soil and prevent erosion.
7) Trees improve water quality by slowing and filtering rain water, as
well as protecting aquifers and watersheds.
The cottonwood tree seed is the seed that stays in flight the longest.
The tiny seed is surrounded by ultra-light, white fluff hairs that can
carry it on the air for several days.
9)One of the tallest soft wood trees is the General Sherman, a
giant redwood sequoia of California. General Sherman is about 275 ft or
high with a girth of 25 ft or 8m.
10)The 236 ft or 72 m high Ada Tree of Australia has a 50 ft or 15.4 m
girth and a root system that takes up more than an acre.
tallest tree is a coast redwood in California, measuring more than an
12)The world's oldest trees are 4,600 year old Bristlecone pines
in the USA.
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Trees and Cimate
Trees alter the environment in which we live by
moderating climate, improving air quality, conserving water, and
harboring wildlife. Climate control is obtained by moderating the
effects of sun, wind, and rain. Radiant energy from the sun is absorbed
or deflected by leaves on deciduous trees in the summer and is only
filtered by branches of deciduous trees in winter. We are cooler when
we stand in the shade of trees and are not exposed to direct sunlight.
In winter, we value the sun’s radiant energy. Therefore, we should
plant only small or deciduous trees on the south side of homes.
Wind speed and direction can be affected by trees. The
more compact the foliage on the tree or group of trees, the greater the
influence of the windbreak. The downward fall of rain, sleet, and hail
is initially absorbed or deflected by trees, which provides some
protection for people, pets, and buildings. Trees intercept water,
store some of it, and reduce storm runoff and the possibility of
Dew and frost are less common under trees because less
radiant energy is released from the soil in those areas at night.
Temperature in the vicinity of trees is cooler than
that away from trees. The larger the tree, the greater the cooling. By
using trees in the cities, we are able to moderate the heat-island
effect caused by pavement and buildings in commercial areas.
Air quality can be improved through the use of trees,
shrubs, and turf. Leaves filter the air we breathe by removing dust and
other particulates. Rain then washes the pollutants to the ground.
Leaves absorb carbon dioxide from the air to form carbohydrates that
are used in the plant’s structure and function. In this process, leaves
also absorb other air pollutants—such as ozone, carbon monoxide, and
sulfur dioxide—and give off oxygen.
By planting trees and shrubs, we return to a more
natural, less artificial environment. Birds and other wildlife are
attracted to the area. The natural cycles of plant growth,
reproduction, and decomposition are again present, both above and below
ground. Natural harmony is restored to the urban environment.
A wildfire is any uncontrolled fire in combustible vegetation that
occurs in the countryside or a wilderness area. Other names such as
brush fire, forest fire, grass fire, hill fire, peat fire, vegetation
fire, veldfire and wildland fire may be used to describe this same
process- depending on the type of vegetation being burned. A wildfire
differs from other fires by its extensive size, the speed at which it
can spread out from its original source, its potential to change
direction unexpectedly, and its ability to jump gaps such as roads,
rivers and fire breaks. Wildfires
are characterized in terms of the cause of ignition, their physical
properties such as speed of propagation,
the combustible material present, and the effect of weather on the
Wildfires can affect climate and weather and have major impacts on
Wildfire emissions contain fine particulate
matter which can cause cardiovascular and respiratory problems.
Forest fires in Indonesia in 1997 were estimated to have released
between 0.81 and 2.57 gigatonnes (0.89 and 2.83 billion short tons) of
CO2 into the atmosphere, which is between 13%–40% of the
annual carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels.
Atmospheric models suggest that these concentrations of sooty particles
could increase absorption of incoming solar
radiation during winter months by as much as 15%.
The Kyoto Protocol
In December 1997, 160 countries reached an agreement that by
2008-2012 the industrialized countries would reduce their greenhouse
gas emissions by a percentage of 1990 levels. Canada agreed to a 6%
reduction by 2012 relative to 1990 levels (which will be 20%-25% of the
"business as normal" 2012 levels) and signed on to the Kyoto Protocol
The Role of Trees
Since 50% of a tree is composed of carbon, trees represent one of
the best ways to get rid of carbon (CO2
emissions) from the air. The Kyoto Protocol recognizes this and defines
afforestation (the planting of trees and seeds on land that has not
recently been part of a forest) as a opposed to reforestation.
Team Tree To One's
Top 5 Reasons on Why You Should Plant a Tree
1) Trees produce oxygen: Of course where would we be without the
precious air that we breathe in! A mature leafy tree produces as much
oxygen in a season as 10 people inhale in a year. What many people
don't realize is the forest also acts as a giant filter that cleans the
air we breath.
2) Trees are carbon sinks: If you haven't already read it, you can
learn more about carbon sinks on our Climate
Change page. To produce its food, a tree absorbs and locks away
carbon dioxide in the wood, roots and leaves. Carbon dioxide is a
global warming suspect. A forest is a carbon storage area or a "sink"
that can lock up as much carbon as it produces. This locking-up process
"stores" carbon as wood and not as an available "greenhouse" gas.
3) Trees clean the soil: The term phytoremediation is a fancy word
for the absorption of dangerous chemicals and other pollutants that
have entered the soil. Trees can either store harmful pollutants or
actually change the pollutant into less harmful forms. Trees filter
sewage and farm chemicals, reduce the effects of animal wastes, clean
roadside spills and clean water runoff into streams.
4) Trees slow down storm water runoff: Flash flooding can be
dramatically reduced by a forest or by planting trees. One Colorado
blue spruce, either planted or growing wild, can intercept more than
1000 gallons of water annually when fully grown. Underground
water-holding aquifers are recharged with this slowing down of water
5) Lastly, trees generally look nice! Who wouldn't love to have a
magnificent willow tree in their backyard!
are a deciduous type of tree- this means that they lose their leaves in
Autumn. Their are over 400 hundred species of willow trees and the grow
on moist soils in cold, temperate (mild) climate regions. Basically
Ireland in a nutshell!
have a watery bark and are usually soft, flexible and tough with long
lean branches. Their leaves are oval shaped and feathery- coming in a
variety of colours varying from green to yelllow to blue-ish.
Uses: The leaves
barks of willow trees are mentioned in ancient scripts such as the
Ancient Greeks for being used as a form of medicine to cure body aches.
In 1763 the medicinal attributes of the willow tree were noted by
Reverend Edward Stone in England who took an extract out a willow
tree's bark, called salicin. It was later discovered by a French
pharmacist called Henri Leroux and a Italian chemist named Raffaele
Piria that when salicin is in a saturated water solution the chemical
becomes acidic and is called salicylic acid, which is used in the
making of aspirin.
Just So You Know:
are often used in art as the have a very graceful appearance. Willows
are also a symbol of purity. The willow trees native to Ireland
include: The Goat Willow; The Grey Willow; The Bay Willow and The Eared
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The Birch Tree
trees are very closely related to oak/beech trees. Birches are
small to medium sized trees that grow in temperate climates. Their
leaves are simple and spiky. Birches have a distinctive bark which has
marked with dark horizontal lines. The Silver and the Downy
Birch are both birch trees native to Ireland.
The bark of a birch tree can be soaked in water and used as a cast
for a broken arm!
2) Did you know, that you can also physically eat the inner bark of a
3) Birch trees are useful in everyday life as they are used to make
4) Birches are associated with the Tír na nÓg, the land of the dead in
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are about 600 hundred different species of oak trees around the
world. In these species there are both deciduous and evergreen
Appearance and Properties:
Oaks have spirally arranged leaves- oaks are very strong and have a
high immunity to fungal infection. As a result of oak trees being
solid and strong they are often used in the making of furniture. Acorns
(the nuts that grow on oak trees) are used in the production of flour
and acorn coffee.
Oak Trees in Irish History:
The druids and ancient Celts had many beliefs about our native oaks,
chief among the Celts beliefs being that doors made of oak wood kept
out evil spirits. One of the druid’s main beliefs was that carving
symbols into large oak trees gave them protection from lightning. This
may be because a large oak tree acts like a lightning rod, diverting
the electrical charge away from the druids settlements than any magical
You Know: Galway’s largest example of our native oak is
a Pedunculate oak growing in Clonbrock, Ahascragh, Ballinasloe with a
girth (circumference) of 5.73 metres to a height of 27 metres.
Unfortunately, for the Galway supporters this
is beaten to the title of king Irish Oak by a tree growing at Farnham
Estate, Farnham, Co. Cavan, which is an amazing 28 metres tall with a
girth of 8.09 metres.
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The Ash Tree
ash tree is sometimes called the Venus of the woods because of it's
lanky, graceful shape and it's luscious vibrant foliage. Our
common ash is a tree that grows at a fast rate to 25mtrs in height by
20mtrs spread. This rapid growth and the ability to re-sprout
after being cut down made ash a valuable renewable tree to the early
Irish. After cutting, the hard wood was allowed to rest and renew for
about ten years before the farmer’s saw came tearing back for that
inevitable second cut. Ash trees grow near streams which is another
reason as to why they were popular with the early Irish settlers.
You Know: 1) The ash tree is very popular in Ireland
because the wood from ash is used to
make hurleys as it is flexible.
2) Leaves on an ash
do not appear until May
3) The timber is
very tough and flexible and is used in the making of
oars and frames for large vehicles like buses. this
was used to make aircraft wings
during World War II.
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The Irish Juniper
Junipers vary in size and shape from tall trees, 20–40 m tall, to low
spreading shrubs (bushes) with long trailing branches. They are
evergreen with needle-like leaves.
Uses: Juniper berries are a spice used in a wide
variety of culinary dishes and best known for the primary flavoring in
gin (and responsible for gin's name, which is a shortening of the Dutch
word for juniper, genever). Juniper berries are also used as
the primary flavor in the liquor Jenever and sahti-style of beers.
Juniper berry sauce is often a popular flavoring choice for quail,
pheasant, veal, rabbit, venison and other meat dishes.
Many of the earliest prehistoric people lived in or near juniper
forests which furnished them food, fuel, and wood for shelter or
Fact: 1) Juniper's
are surprisingly slow growing trees- they can take about 20 years to
grow two and a half
2) Juniper trees
rarely exceeds 7 metres by 4 metres in height
and width at a comfortably slow rate.
3) These trees release quite a strong aromatic scent if clipped or
* For illustrative information please go
to the Funstuff & Links page and play
our cool jigsaw puzzles to reveal pictures of these
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1) Find out where you will plant the tree... make sure there is
enough space on the grounds.
2) Ask for permission- this is important even if you are planting
the tree in your own back yard! If you plan on planting the tree
in your local park it is important that you know what kind trees can or
cannot be planted on the soil.
3) Ask for some advice especially if this is your first time
planting a tree. Search the internet for guides or ask your local
forester (the person in charge of your local park).
Planting the Tree
the hole as deep as the rootball and twice as wide.
- 2) Check
to see if the soil around the hole is too hard - if it is, loosen it up
a bit with the shovel.
the container from the rootball. (The roots are like the tree's blood
vessels and they work best if they are not all twisted and knotted up,
so you might need to straighten them out if they are circling around
after having grown in the container.)
the tree in the hole, making sure the soil is at the same level on the
tree as when the tree grew in the garden center. If your tree has
burlap around the rootball, place the tree in the hole and then
carefully untie the burlap. Simply leave the burlap lying in the bottom
in around the rootball with soil and pack the soil with your hands and
feet to make sure that there are no air pockets.
a little dam around the base of the tree as wide as the hole with left
over soil or grass clumps to hold in the water.
your new tree a good soaking of water to help settle it into its new
the "One In A
There are millions of people in
But it just takes one to make a
I promise to make a difference in
Because it starts with me and the
time is now!
I am somebody so I will stand up
and be counted
As One In A Million.
your tree a mulch
blanket which is a
2- to 4-inch covering of rotten leaves, wood chips, pine straw or
that will insulate the growd, decrease the amount of weeds that will
around your tree, keeps moisture around the roots and provides food for
tree. Make sure that the mulch blanket is not piled up on and touching
of the tree but has a little space between the tree and where the mulch
- you simply might need to push some of the mulch back from the bottom
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Last updated: 4th November 2010
National Tree Week 2011: 6 –12 March 2011
The Year of the Forest
2011 has been declared International year of the Forest to mark the
part that the world’s forests play as an integral part of global
sustainable development. Forests are important because: they are a
vital part of global ecosystems and their continued survival is being
compromised by human activities forest-related economic activities
affect livelihoods of 1.6 billion people worldwide. They provide
socio-cultural benefits such as recreational, medical and contribute
towards community development. Forests play a critical role in
mitigating the effects of climate change and protecting biodiversity.
Together with soil forests are the world’s largest carbon sinks
The International Year of Forests will help raise awareness and
promote global action to sustainably manage, conserve and develop all
types of forests, including trees outside of forests. This is an open
invitation to the world community to come together and work with
Governments, international organisations and civil society, to ensure
that our forests are managed sustainably for current and future
Every two days 700 square kilometres (about the size of Co. Cork) of
forest cover are lost worldwide. Conversion to agricultural land,
unsustainable harvesting of timber, unsound land management practices,
and creation of human settlements are the most common reasons for this
loss of forested areas.
Current efforts in forest planting and restoration have helped stem
some of the net loss of global forest area, but further global action
is needed. The real challenge is to move beyond just raising awareness.
Member States of the United Nations Forum of Forests recently adopted
four ambitious Global Objectives on Forests, which included a
commitment to reverse the loss of forest cover worldwide. The Forum is
currently in the process of creating an international instrument on
forests. However, it is only through broad public participation and by
harnessing the skills and practical experiences of forestry
practitioners worldwide that we can realize these international
objectives and effect change.
Various activities will be organised throughout the world to
celebrate the International Year and foster knowledge exchange on
practical strategies to promote sustainable forest management. To help
facilitate organisation of these activities, Governments, regional and
international organisations and civil society organisations are
expected to create national committees and designate focal points in
their respective countries. The United Nations Forum on Forests
Secretariat has been tasked with serving as the focal point for the
implementation of the International Year of Forests.
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