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Wherever it is possible for them to grow,

trees form an important feature of the

landscape. They provide shelter, materials

and fuel for human use, and are a habitat

for countless birds, insects, animals and

micro-organisms. Together in a forest, trees

form the tallest and most impressive plant

community on Earth.

 

In terms of a brief human life, a forest may

seem to be permanent and unchanging. But

this apparent static quality is an illusion ;

a forest, like a single tree, - and indeed like

our own bodies and beings - is a flux, a

flowing, dynamic inter-relationship of

minerals, energy and time.

 

Trees and forests have been around for a

lot longer than humans have.

Today's forests are similar to those of

sixty million years ago - tropical rainforest,

jungle and temperate woodland, together

with herbaceous plants occuring wherever

there is sufficient light.

 

Every tree is a living watercourse ; its roots,

trunk, and branches conduct water up from

the soil to the leaves, from which the water

evaporates into the atmosphere, as a link in

the global cycle of clouds, rain, rivers and

oceans.

 

Microscopic organelles in the leaves of the

tree build up sugars and starches through

the transmutation of sunlight and water.

Water and minerals are absorbed from the

soil by fine hairs on the tree roots, passing

up the trunk and along the branches and

twigs to the leaves, where 99 percent of the

water is transpired into the air through tiny

pores in the leaf surface called stomata.

Thus, there is a continuous movement of

water through the tree.

 

 

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