Death in Paradise (the Importance of Trees)

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The importance of trees

Trees are vital for maintaining healthy and vibrant communities and preserving the environment. Planting trees helps make cities clean and green, but protecting established trees is even more important: large mature trees provide many more benefits than smaller sapling trees.

Mature trees capture more carbon, filter more particulate matter to reduce air pollution, capture more stormwater, create shade to reduce the impact of urban heat islands, promote lower energy use, reduce erosion, provide habitat for wildlife, and many other environmental and health benefits.

The Melody of a Fallen Tree

Trees combat greenhouse gases

Global warming is the result of excess greenhouse gases, created by burning fossil fuels and destroying tropical rainforests. Heat from the sun, reflected back from the earth, is trapped in this thickening layer of gases, causing global temperatures to rise.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a major greenhouse gas. Trees absorb CO2, removing and storing the carbon while releasing the oxygen back into the air. In one year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the amount of CO2 produced when you drive your car 40,000 kilometres.

Instead of clearing vast tracts of land for building housing estates, shopping centres, for production of wood and timber products, woodchip, and for agricultural purposes, we need to in fact plant more trees. This in turn will ensure a healthier planet and environment for our children to grow up in.

(source: http://www.treepeople.org/)

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Death in Paradise

by John Hansen © 2014


The wattle tree was dead,

Its skeletal form now leafless

Where once a myriad of yellow bloomed.

Stubbornly postponing its fate

For weeks, then months.

Then finally it fell.

Its lifeless trunk

Too heavy to defy gravity any longer

Crashed to Earth.

Blanketing the garden,

Suffocating the pretty flowers.

The chainsaw buzzed

The secateurs snipped.

I felt like a butcher cutting up a carcass.

The tree was dismembered

Piece by piece.

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Branches and twigs

Like arms and legs,

And pieces of torso

Of a once living thing,

Loaded onto a trailer,

Taken away for disposal.

And at some later day

When conditions are right,

A mass tree cremation will occur.

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Will we celebrate it's life?

Not likely.

Value its contribution?

I doubt it.

Mourn its passing?

It was just a tree,

Like so many others.

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Golden Wattle (Acacia Pycnantha)

The "Golden Wattle" brightens the bushlands and roadsides of Australia in late Winter and early Spring. It deserves its place as Australia's floral emblem with its sprays of beautiful yellow flowers often signalling an end to a long dry Winter.

Acacia pycnantha is a small tree, or sometimes a shrub, seldom exceeding eight metres in height. It generates freely, particularly after fire, and frequently grows in dense thickets of spindly understory plants in eucalypt forests where rainfall is between 350 and 1000mm per year.

The large racemes of deep yellow, fluffy flower balls are highly perfumed and are very striking when massed above the glossy green foliage. The bark is extremely valuable for tanning purposes and has been extensively cultivated for that purpose, particularly overseas.

Although it is a magnificent bush specimen in its natural habitat, the "Golden Wattle" does not take kindly to cultivation, growing rapidly but suffering a shortened lifespan and reduced flowering.

(source: A Field Guide to Australian Trees by Ivan Holliday and Ron Hill)

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Comments 76 comments

bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 24 months ago from Central Florida

John, your poem is so sad. Reading about the benefits and differences between mature trees and saplings made me even angrier about the 20 lots of mature trees that have been torn down in my neighborhood.

When will it stop?


Jodah profile image

Jodah 24 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Shauna, yes I meant it to be sad. Yes new plantings cannot replace the clearing of old growth. It's better than nothing, but takes at least 20 years to get to the same stage of carbon dioxide processing etc. "When will it stop?" Good question. Thanks for reading and commenting.


SAQIB6608 profile image

SAQIB6608 24 months ago from HYDERABAD PAKISTAN

Will we celebrate it's life?

Not likely.

Value its contribution?

I doubt it.

Mourn its passing?

It was just a tree,

Like so many others.

Beautiful Lines. So, It is the sad truth. Man is Mortal too. Its so sad when a flower withers, Plants shrivel and Human beings....

So emotional.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

Can you imagine if all of us planted just one tree each....on HP alone that would be what, 100,000 new trees? Now that would make a difference, don't you think?

Great food for thought my friend.


ocfireflies profile image

ocfireflies 24 months ago from North Carolina

John,

I will plant not just one, I will plant three. Informative and so filled with emotion-filled descriptions. I think the Lorax would agree your hub should be shared for all to read.

Kim


Jodah profile image

Jodah 24 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you SAQIB, you are right plants are living things just like humans. They should be respected too.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 24 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Let's do it Bill! How about we issue a challenge for all hubbers to plant at leasr one tree. It doesn't have to be on their own land if they don't have room, but there are plenty of public areas where they encourage tree planting. If you put a challenge on one of your hubs it may have more effect because you get more viewers. Kim has already agreed to plant three, and so will I.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 24 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Well Kim, we need to keep the Lorax happy don't we. If you really intend to plant three trees, that's great. I'll do the same, and if everyone that reads this agrees to plant even one...it will make an impact. Glad you felt the emotion I was trying to create.


btrbell profile image

btrbell 24 months ago from Mesa, AZ

Trees are a very valuable commodity here in Arizona.. they are respected and cherished unlike must if the places I've lived before!

I love the poem. So sad and so true. I will rise to the challenge and plant a tree. I don't own my land but it has been a tradition for us to donate to plant trees in Israel since I was a child.

Thank you for sharing this opening our eyes


midget38 profile image

midget38 24 months ago from Singapore

Yes, John. We only sense the insignificant when it is too late.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 24 months ago from Taos, NM

I have never heard of nor seen a wattle tree before. This is very interesting and informative. Your poem is lovely and an inspiration. Thank you for all the background info on this tree and the conservation of all trees. When one dies we need to plant a new tree. Voted up+ and shared.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 24 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi btrbell, it sounds like Arizona has the right idea. Glad you enjoyed the poem and thank you for agreeing t no sponsor the planting of a tree in Israel.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 24 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for reading Midget38. We need to be aware of our environment and the significance of trees and nature before the fact, not after everything is dead and extinct and it is too late.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 24 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

I am glad this hub was informative to you Suzette and you now know about our national flower and tree here in Australia. Glad you liked the poem too, and thanks for the vote up and share.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 24 months ago from England

Your poem is lovely but sad, I actually wrote a poem about a tree many years ago, and won a comp with it! it was similar in how you wrote yours about it being sad, and would we mourn it, I love all your other facts, and the Golden Whattle tree looks amazing!


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 24 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

I already miss that tree, I will mourn for it. I just love trees -- think I will go hug mine right now!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 24 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Nell. Glad you liked the poem. I would love to read the one you won the comp with long ago. Yes the Golden Wattle is amazing but unfortunately short lived.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 24 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Eric, I miss it too. You go give yours a big lad hug. You could always plant a new one as well :)


dragonflycolor 24 months ago

Where ever I go, I always stop to admire the trees. I am drawn to them for some reason and find them so relaxing. I am enthralled when I walk through a forest. Thanks, Jodah!


Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

Jo_Goldsmith11 24 months ago

Another very well written article here. We need our trees! And I can never understand why we cut down so many. Then mother nature gets upset and she knocks down a few more. Really enjoyed this insightful and beautiful words here. Up, shared & tweeted. :-)


Dana Tate profile image

Dana Tate 24 months ago from LOS ANGELES

Don't quite understand why we have to cut down so many trees any way. I agree that trees are a vital part of our world and they should be respected. They were created for a reason but unfortunately in our twisted way of thinking we see things than our un-expendable as expendable. We put more value in things created by our own hands. We are destroying ourselves.


jhamann profile image

jhamann 24 months ago from Reno NV

This is an awesome hub Jodah! Great science and ecology with a very well written poem. Thank you! Jamie


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 24 months ago from Shelton

The message was clear and the poetry amazing... voted up and amazing my friend :)


always exploring profile image

always exploring 24 months ago from Southern Illinois

John, you would be happy if you could see how many trees I have on my property. My house sits on 1.6 acres. I have 20 trees, not counting the shrubbery, which is more than 20. I know how important trees are and your hub is a wonderful reminder to take good care of our tree's. The only bad thing are the falling leaves, my yard is already full. yipes! I have two squirrels living in a tree just off my kitchen. I love watching them play, they love peanuts. Ha..Tweeted.


Autumn McNeil profile image

Autumn McNeil 24 months ago from Tucson, Az

Where is Johnny Appleseed when you need him? I loved this hub Jodah! I am a big fan of trees. I always have been but especially when I was younger. I feel that they not only benefit us and our planet by supplying us oxygen and reducing global warming but they also make the world a beautiful place. Trees are so beautiful and provide so many things to not only people but to animals and insects. I loved the poem about the tree and how personal it was to you. It is reassuring to know I am not the only one who loves trees so much.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 24 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

I'm the same dragonfly, I can't get enough of trees. That may be why I live in the country.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 24 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Exactly Dana, the trees were here long before us. The reason dinosaurs and other creatures grew so large in the pat was because of the amount of oxygen in the air due to the incredible number if trees in the planet. The more we cut down, the less oxygen and more co2 in our atmosphere, the smaller and unhealthier we become.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 24 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for reading Jamie, glad you enjoyed.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 24 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Frank, much appreciated as always.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 24 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

I would love to see your property Ruby, it sounds wonderful. I don't even mind leaves as they put nutrients back into the soil, and squirrels must be fun to watch. Thanks for tweeting.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 24 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Autumn. I can tell by your name that you have an affinity with trees. If there are no trees on the planet there will be no other life either. Glad you enjoyed the poem. Best wishes.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 24 months ago from southern USA

I truly love trees. In the state in which I live, most of it is a National Forest, so we have plenty of trees, but in the big cities, of course, there are blocks and blocks of concrete abandoned buildings. I think there should be some incentive to the abandoned property owners who are unable to sell their property, to demolish the concrete and plant trees, or a community garden.

My yard has plenty of trees, but I have been wanting to plant several kinds of lovely trees that I do not have on my property now.

Your poem is poignant.

God bless.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 24 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

The death of a tree is always sad. Thanks for sharing the poem, Jodah, as well as the interesting information about the Golden Wattle. The flowers of the Golden Wattle are lovely. They have such a cheerful colour!


DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

DrBill-WmL-Smith 24 months ago from Hollister, MO

Save a tree today. Plant a tree tomorrow! What a plan!

I once planted 25,000 trees on the family farm in Iowa... far too many.

One a time is better. Did that in Tucson... many years ago. Most of them are still there! ;-) Thanks for sharing this both sad, and thrilling, experience! ;-)


DDE profile image

DDE 24 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

I always liked the idea of having trees around our home. Yet so many people don't like trees. A very sad issues here. You expressed with such greatness in a lovely poem.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 24 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hey Faith, always good to hear from another tree lover. Your state must be beautiful being mostly National Forest, but yes that's a great iea that abandoned properties be turned into parks or community gardens. Hope you do plant a few more different trees on your property. Bless you.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 24 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Alicia, glad you enjoyed this hub. Some people think I'm crazy caring so much about trees...but that's their problem :)

Yes the Golden Wattle is a beautiful flowering tree.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 24 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for reading Dr Bill. Wow 25,000! Yes one at a time is better, but sounds like you have certainly done your fair share of tree planting. Glad you enjoyed this.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 24 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Devika, I don't understand how anyone can dislike trees. I had a neighbour who poisoned any trees that we had growing near the fence because they dropped leaves. Glad you liked the poem.


annart profile image

annart 24 months ago from SW England

I hate seeing trees felled and I hate seeing dead trees in a field. Sometimes they've obviously been struck by lightning but at other times they've been poisoned or destroyed in some way.

We don't look after them well enough, we cut great swathes for housing and then we suddenly wonder why the woods and forests are disappearing.

We've planted a few in our small garden and we're lucky to have some on the canal banks. Having greenery around lifts the spirit and does us good.

Lovely poem and a great message, John.

Enjoy your weekend!

Ann


MsDora profile image

MsDora 24 months ago from The Caribbean

Great poem as usual. The beginning of the second verse affected my stomach while it made the point. Great article altogether with interesting information. Thanks!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 24 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Ann. It is a pity more of the population don't really care as long as they have their paper and wooden products. Good for you for doing what you can. You have a great weekend too.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 24 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi MsDora, sorry that upset your stomach but it's what I felt and I think it helped to get my message across. Thank you for reading as always.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 24 months ago from TEXAS

What a timely,important, and poignant piece, John . . I mourn the death of trees, too. My area had a huge storm blow through Thursday - 75mph wind and driving rain. I'd just placed my trash can out by the alley for pickup Friday morning. The sun was shining when I headed out there. By the time I got back in the house, it had struck and my trash can was in the alley about to careen on down it, where it would interfere with through traffic expected that time of day with folks coming home and headed for their garages facing the alley. So out I went to try to retrieve my trash can. B_A_D idea! I can barely set it aright in the best of conditons, so was struggling mightily. I must have stepped back into the yard when the wind literally blew me over in the grass - on my back! I wasn't hurt physically - too relaxed, I suppose - but my dignity took off with that wind! haha - Fortunately the humor of it saved the day and I laughed as I scrambled to my feet and made my way back to the house.

My yard & trees were very blessed. Only one rather small limb hanging from one of my bois d'arc trees out back. My neighbors' oak trees had more damage and all up and down my street it now looks like a forest of major tree parts and limbs piled along the street curb for bulk pick up as soon as the city can get around to all the damage. Power is out all around - mine has been out since Thursday and no hope in sight. No internet, of course. I'm at the Apple Store getting recharged (laptop and iPhone) and they're kind enough to let me use their internet. Otherwise, I'm out of touch and 'cut off' till who-knows-when. I will be going to Del Rio and the ranch on business and will have access in Del Rio in the hotel. But my freezer is rapidly thawing. Lots of side-effects. I'm enjoying candlelight at night and getting to bed really early and staying there till daylight! It's not a preferred adventure but it is one, none the less. The poor trees. May were literally uprooted or broken and blown down around the Metroplex. So sad. My situation is quite mild.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 24 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Wow Nellieanna you certainly are having an adventure. Thank.fully you weren't injured while retrieving your trash can and being blown over on the grass. The worst part of long power outages is when your freezer is off and the food goes off. I think if it does you can apply to the power company for compensation or insurance company depending on the situation. Sounds like your trees were lucky too. I hope all goes well in Del Rio. Talk soon.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 24 months ago

I love those programs that allow you to plant a tree in memory of someone. Wouldn't it be wonderful it if were a common gift idea? Love your promotion of good will concerning trees. I love trees!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 24 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Yes it's a great gift and environment program Dianna, and more people should take advantage of it. There can't be too many trees on the planet.


The Examiner-1 profile image

The Examiner-1 24 months ago

This was beautiful John, another one for saving the trees. Talking about the harm of global warming. Message received. Great text and I loved the poem. I voted up, shared and definitely pinned it, and G+.

Kevin


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 24 months ago from High desert of Nevada.

Bless you, Jodah, for this hub and others where you express concern for Nature and Mother Earth and reach out to spread the word how important tress and preservation is. We need more articles like this sending out the message. You inspire me to do more in this important work for Earth. I love your poem, it is so endearing and timeless.

Vote up and all but funny. H+, G+, and other sharing.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 24 months ago from High desert of Nevada.

PS: edit: trees, not tress.


bethperry profile image

bethperry 23 months ago from Tennesee

Jodah, this is a very sad poem, but poignant. Well done.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 23 months ago from New York

"I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree" Joyce Kilmer told it like it is and you have added your own beauty to that of the tree. We can be so unkind to that which helps sustain our life. Well done my friend.

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 23 months ago from East Coast, United States

Such a sad poem and beautifully expressed. If it does any good, I've cried for trees. When I was a kid, I came home from school one day to see the entire woods at the end of our street was gone, mowed down for apartments that were never built. 50 some years later, the thought of that day still brings tears to my eyes.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 23 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Kevin for reading, sharing, voting up etc, but most of all for supporting this important message.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 23 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Phyllis, thank you for reading another of my hubs. I will continue to do my bit to spread the word in support of trees and the environment in general. It's probably the most important thing I can do as a writer. Thanks too for your kind comment, vote up and share.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 23 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Beth, sometimes we need to write sad poems and tell it like it is to make the message more effective.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 23 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Oh Mary, that Joyce Kilmer poem was one of my favourite growing up, I am glad and honoured that you put Miya poem in the same category. It is an important message, thanks for the vote up.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 23 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Dolores, what a sad waste to destroy a whole wood for a proposed development that never happened. I would cry too.


Raimer Gel 23 months ago

I wonder if trees have feelings too.. Like they think like us despite their silence.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 23 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

I truly think that they may have feelings too. Imagine what they think of the human race after all the devastation we have caused. Thanks for reading Raimer Gel.


klidstone1970 profile image

klidstone1970 22 months ago from Niagara Region, Canada

Very melancholy, John. We are slowly destroying the beauty around us. Will we ever learn? I hope. Thank you for bringing awareness to such an important issue. Blessings, Kim.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 22 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for reading this Kim, and sympathizing with the plight of our trees and the environment. Blessings back.


mary615 profile image

mary615 20 months ago from Florida

Call me crazy, but I believe all plants (including trees) do have feelings. I have always talked to my plants and they respond by blooming. I want to come back after death as an Oak tree. Don't laugh. You can buy a recyclable urn with a tree seed inside. From your cremains will come a tree! I'm not making this up. After I read about it, I wrote a Hub about it.

It makes me very sad to see beautiful trees destroyed to make way for a new store or residence.

Voted UP, etc. and shared.


whonunuwho profile image

whonunuwho 20 months ago from United States

Poignant and such a waste is the destruction of our trees. This was well written and its message was well received. whonu


Jodah profile image

Jodah 20 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

You are not crazy at all Mary, I too believe all plants have feelings and we should treat them with respect and love. What a great idea, a ercyclable urn with a tree seed inside it. I'll have to look up that hub of yours. Thanks for the vote up, share etc.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 20 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for reading whonu, yes the destruction of our old growth forests especially has to be curbed. It is a sad waste and destroying our environment.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 20 months ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

A lovely poem surrounded by important facts we need to realize. I hope the world will wake up and protect these wonderful friends, trees, a gift of nature.


Harishprasad profile image

Harishprasad 20 months ago from India

John, a few days ago, I read a poem about the Oak Tree and now went through this informative hub about trees. The poem is special as it speaks of care and attention that trees deserve the most from us. While giving all benefits including the life sustaining oxygen to us, what all trees want in return from us is to just let them live in peace.

How long it will take us humans to know that this beautiful planet is not for us humans only but is also for other creatures and trees ! My friend, you shower such vast empathy on trees, our best silent friends. Voted up and shared.


ladyguitarpicker profile image

ladyguitarpicker 20 months ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

A great hub about something that we take for granted, just like other things we should take serious.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 20 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for reading Rebecca. To me it just seems like common sense for us to protect our trees and the environment. By destroying them we ultimately destroy ourselves.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 20 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Harishprasad, thank you for reading another of my tree hubs. Your wise comment makes it clear what we humans are only sharing this Earth and have no right destroy the environment for our own progress. Trees are our "silent friends" as you say. Thank you for the vote up and share.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 20 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank ladyguitarpicker. You would think common sense would prevail and mankind would realise that destroying the environment is detrimental to life on this planet.


SteveSunpire profile image

SteveSunpire 8 months ago from England

beautiful words


Jodah profile image

Jodah 8 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for reading Steve. I appreciate your kind comment.


RJ Schwartz profile image

RJ Schwartz 8 months ago from Idaho Falls, Idaho

Great poem and supporting facts about trees - I applaud you bringing this topic to higher level of visibility


Jodah profile image

Jodah 8 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks RJ, we just do what we can and write on issues we care about, then hope people read it.

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    Jodah profile image

    John Hansen (Jodah)686 Followers
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    John has a certificate and Permaculture design from the Eco School and is an avid organic gardner, recycler, and supports renewable energy.



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