Tree of Life (Valerie Foulkes)
The Bible is bookended with the tree of life.
Genesis 2:9 says, “The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”
In Revelation 22: 1-2, John shares that Eden will be restored and the tree that ushered the fall will bring healing, “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.”
This tree of life stands as a symbol, reminding us that trees bring life to us.
Trees add layers of beauty and utility to any landscape. Branches, bark, and roots provide places for insects, birds, and beast to nest and hide. On a hot sunny day, shade from their canopies is greatly appreciated. Trees increase property values. And they mark the changing of seasons.
Ask an avid ecologist and they will offer many reasons for planting trees.
In grade school we learned the chemical equation of photosynthesis where carbon dioxide plus water powered by energy from the sun leads to sugar and oxygen. A mature tree produces approximately 260 pounds of oxygen per year. That means two mature trees can supply enough oxygen annually to support a family of four.
Trees reflect changes in the environment as you climb higher in elevation or discover a shaded oasis. They play a major role as building blocks in an ecosystem and reflect God’s great wisdom in His design.
Branches and leaf litter break the fall of a harsh rain while roots anchor valuable topsoil. These roots create pathways through soil for water to travel and replenish underground aquifers. Leaves release water into the atmosphere through tiny holes called stomata and as they do this, humidity increases.
Rows of trees offer natural protection from strong winds, capable of protecting hillside farms during hurricanes.
Certain trees even add necessary nutrients to the soil. Legumes take nitrogen from the atmosphere and add it to the ground so other plants can access this necessary mineral.
So trees—they’re pretty important to the water cycle, the oxygen cycle, the nitrogen cycle, and to life!
Over the past 32 years, Plant With Purpose—an international Christian organization—has planted 20 million trees around the world. Planting trees is an integral part of PWP's programming, which transforms the lives of the rural poor in undeveloped nations through environmental restoration, economic empowerment, and spiritual renewal. Thanks to PWP more than 30,000 farming families are currently mobilized to reforest their lands and revitalize their communities. Crop yields increase with reforestation and sustainable agriculture practices, which include planting trees and crops together to maximize beneficial, ecosystemic interactions. With reforestation, biodiversity returns and grows, and family farms become more sustainable. With healthier ecosystems, rural communities are far better equipped to thrive. Learn more about the benefits of trees, reforestation and agroforestry here.