The photo on the cover of my recent issue of American Tree magazine depicts the frightening devastation of the pine forests of Colorado caused by the mountain pine beetle. The outbreak of this tiny insect has already killed billions of trees from British Columbia to the southern Rockies in the U.S. This is a resource we cannot afford to lose.
For decades, we have taken trees for granted, but the devastation and loss of the ash tree population in Michigan due to the emerald ash borer has helped focus our attention on the role they play in our lives.
Trees provide beauty by adding color and texture to the landscape. Trees soften and hide the hard edges created by man. Trees provide food and a haven for wildlife. Trees provide wood to build our homes. Trees give us the fruits and nuts that help us thrive. Trees provide medicinal products to treat pestilence and disease. Trees give shade and cool the earth in summer. And most importantly, trees clean the air of contaminates and carbon dioxide, and in return, manufacture life-giving oxygen. Without trees, man could not exist.