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Trees and Water Quality

How can trees help clean water? And how can clean water help trees? The two parts of nature interact often, and can help us learn how all the elements of our ecosystems are interdependent.

Rain can often run through areas that lead into another body of water such as a river, pond, or lake. This rain carries all the sediments it has collected along the way into the final waterway. This means, if fertilizer or other materials are near a body of water, a lot of the particles can end up in the water, which will harm water quality. However, when lots of trees or other plants are in the area, they can reduce runoff that carries pollutants into our waterways, by absorbing water through their roots. Trees also reduce the rate and speed that rainfall hits the ground, and thus limiting soil erosion. Soil running into waterways can also reduce water quality, so trees help to lower this contamination. Finally, trees not only help hold ground together via their roots, but they’re also a huge part of the water cycle. By releasing stored water into the atmosphere as water vapor in a process called evapotranspiration, trees can accelerate the water cycle.

On the other hand, poor water quality can also harm trees. When trees absorb too many pollutants, they can become sick. So, while trees can help improve water utility, they still need plenty of clean water to stay alive and do their job.

It’s important to remember there are no easy solutions to solving the climate crisis on a large scale or in our own backyard, but there are some things we can do! By considering all the ways we can keep our community clean and taking action where we can, we can all make a difference.

If you want to look into how you can plant more trees in your community, then check our interest page! We partner with students and environmental groups to deliver saplings to people in their town. These saplings will grow into great water filters for the waterways in the area. It’s also important to monitor water quality for these trees, which can be done through EarthEcho International’s Water Challenge. Both are great opportunities for young environmental leaders to take charge in their local communities.


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