David Stone
Trees: A Refresher for Roosevelt Island
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

After the events of last week when much-loved, deeply valued trees were abruptly cut down and mulched, an act that flowed naturally from years of arboreal neglect, we think a reminder is just what Roosevelt Islanders need, right now.

"Trees are an important part of the terrestrial ecosystem, providing essential habitats including many kinds of forest for communities of organisms," says Wikipedia.

"Epiphytic plants such as ferns, some mosses, liverworts, orchids and some species of parasitic plants (e.g., mistletoe) hang from branches; these along with arboreal lichens, algae, and fungi provide micro-habitats for themselves and for other organisms, including animals. Leaves, flowers and fruits are seasonally available. On the ground underneath trees there is shade, and often there is undergrowth, leaf litter, and decaying wood that provide other habitat."

That is, trees form individual communities on and within themselves, small universes that connect with the rest of the word.

"Trees stabilize the soil, prevent rapid run-off of rain water, help prevent desertification, have a role in climate control and help in the maintenance of biodiversity and ecosystem balance."

Tree Talk

"I’m in a redwood forest in Santa Cruz, California, taking dictation for the trees outside my cabin. They speak constantly, even if quietly, communicating above- and underground using sound, scents, signals, and vibes. They’re naturally networking, connected with everything that exists, including you," writes Ephrat Livni in Quartz.

"Biologists, ecologists, foresters, and naturalists increasingly argue that trees speak, and that humans can learn to hear this language."

So, what's it like when you hack one down? How does the act reverberate across a community?

"A revolution has been taking place in the scientific understanding of trees, and [Peter] Wohlleben is the first writer to convey its amazements to a general audience. The latest scientific studies, conducted at well-respected universities in Germany and around the world, confirm what he has long suspected from close observation in this forest: Trees are far more alert, social, sophisticated—and even intelligent—than we thought," reports Smithsonian.

Save our trees, Roosevelt Island, New York City Poster
Save our trees, Roosevelt Island, New York City Poster
by RIDaily

Benefits of Trees

There's more, much more, as leading edge science clues us into awareness that trees are not simply obstacles to be removed when not necessary for shade. 

Read Top 22 Benefits of Trees.  

We're learning how much more there is to the universe, close up as well as distant, than we ever thought.

Let's not screw it up.