Tag Archives: carbon dioxide

WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT TREES

Copyright@shravancharitymission

    Over the course of its life, an average tree can absorb a ton of carbon dioxide. Only about one in a million acorns makes it all the way to becoming a mature oak tree.

    Trees form by far the bulk of Earth’s biomass. In life and in death trees contribute to the biosphere by making oxygen, moving water, storing carbon dioxide, enriching soil with dead  and decaying parts, and recycling the nutrients that life on Earth depends on.

    Trees are vascular plants that develop a single woody stem known as a trunk. Generally, trees grow to 15 feet or taller. Trees differ from shrubs, which are shorter and usually have multiple stems. Trees span the three botanical groups that represent vascular plants—pteridophytes, gymnosperms, and angiosperms.

    Gymnosperms and angiosperms propagate by seeds. In the former type, seeds are exposed, or naked, on a structure such as a cone; on the latter, they are within the ovary of a flower. Pteridophytes, on the other hand, are seedless vascular plants such as the tree fern.

    Not all parts of a tree are alive at one time, especially, in mature trees. Keeping so much mass alive all the time would require more energy than a tree’s system could handle. The inner core of the trunk, called the heartwood, is composed of out-of-commission xylem that no longer transports water throughout the tree. Similarly, the oldest layers of phloem, which transports the food manufactured through photosynthesis, form the outer, dead bark of the tree’s surface.

    In between the heartwood and bark lies the tree’s sapwood, its living energy-storage tissue.

WHY DO LEAVES CHANGE COLOUR?

    As days grow shorter and temperatures cooler, deciduous trees prepare for winter dormancy. Lacking sufficient light and water, photosynthesis shuts down, and trees must live off food stored during the growing season.

    In spring, leaves lay the groundwork for their demise. A special layer of cells forms at the base of each leaf, called the abscission or separation layer. Its work is to transport water to the leaf and take food, created by photosynthesis, back to the tree.

    In autumn, the cells of this layer begin to swell and the bottom of this layer forms a corklike substance that eventually cuts off all transfer between leaf and tree. Meanwhile, the top of the layer begins to disintegrate, making it easy for the leaf to detach.

    As photosynthesis ceases, the leaves lose their chlorophyll, which gives them their green colour. Without chlorophyll, other colours emerge. Yellow and orange, for example, are normally present in the leaves but are overshadowed by the chlorophyll. Maple-leaf red occurs because glucose remains when photosynthesis shuts down. Drab oak-leaf brown represents wastes left in the leaves.

A TREE FROM AGES PAST

    The long-needled Wollemi pine is a survivor from the age of dinosaurs. While fossil records made the 200-million-year-old species known to us, it was believed to be extinct. Then, in 1994, an Australian parks officer found a single tree in the Blue Mountains in Wollemi National Park. Subsequently, a hundred adult trees were counted there. Conservation efforts funded in part from the sale of saplings go to save and strengthen the species.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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