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Trees: Natural Science


What are Trees?

A tree is a woody plant that regularly renews its growth (perennial). Most plants classified as trees have a single self-supporting trunk containing woody tissues, and in most species the trunk produces secondary limbs, called branches.

To many, the word tree evokes images of such ancient, powerful, and majestic structures as oaks and sequoias, the latter being among the most massive and longest-living organisms in the world. Although the majority of Earth's terrestrial biomass is represented by trees, the fundamental importance of these seemingly ubiquitous plants for the very existence and diversity of life on Earth is perhaps not fully appreciated. The biosphere is dependent on the metabolism, death, and recycling of plants, especially trees. Their vast trunks and root systems store carbon dioxide, move water, and produce oxygen that is released into the atmosphere. The organic matter of the soil develops primarily from decayed leaves, twigs, branches, roots, and fallen trees, all of which recycle nitrogen, carbon, oxygen, and other important nutrients. There are few organisms as important as trees for maintaining Earth's ecology.  Continue reading from Britannica

Deciduous and Coniferous Trees

If you’ve ever gone for a winter hike in an evergreen forest, you’ve seen beautiful green branches covered in snow. However, right next to these mighty evergreens are trees with only a few crumpled brown leaves still clinging to their branches. What gives? These are deciduous and coniferous trees.  Trees are classified as evergreen or deciduous trees, depending on whether they shed their leaves in the winter. The term coniferous refers to trees that reproduce with cones rather than with flowers. Read on to learn more about the different types of trees and how easily these terms can overlap. 

Evergreen trees are green all year. Their leaves are typically compact, scaly and full of resin so they can survive a range of temperatures. This kind of tree often has needles for leaves, although there are some exceptions. Although evergreen trees do replenish their leaves, they never all fall off at once. Because evergreen trees are able to gather energy from the sun all year, they grow slowly and live for a long time – some up to 2000 years. They’re sometimes called softwoods because their wood is less dense than that of deciduous trees. The small surface area of their leaves allows evergreens to store water efficiently, which means they can grow in dry and rocky environments. 

Deciduous trees lose their leaves each year before the cold or dry season. These trees typically grow thin, wide leaves that gather energy from sunlight quickly. At the end of the growing season, deciduous trees move nutrients from their leaves to their roots by a process called abscission. Continue reading from Environment

Watch Videos

Check out a Book or Film about Trees

link to how to read a tree by tristan gooley in the catalog
Link to Native Trees of Connecticut by John Enrenreich in the catalog
Link to The Sibley Guide to Trees by David Sibley in the Catalog
link to the tree book by Michael Scott in the catalog
Link to Finding the Mother Tree by Suzanne Simard in the catalog
Link to National Audubon Society Trees of North America in the Catalog
link to the treeline by ben rawlence in the catalog
Link to Trees by Tony Russell in the Catalog
Link to Trees by Allen J. Coombes in the Catalog
Link to Seeing Trees by Nancy R. Hugo in the Catalog
Link to the Song of Trees by David George Haskell in the catalog
Link to the Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben in the catalog
Link to The Overstory by Richard Powers in the catalog
link to grow trees by zia allaway in the catalog
Link to Bark by Michael Wojtech in the catalog