|Amrita Devi and her daughters gave their lives to protect trees near their Rajasthan home|
in a confrontation with tree cutters in 1730AD. The Bishnois people are consider
among the earliest conservationists in the world.
An older tree is worth at least $200,000 - alive. That is the estimate made by a scientist in India, a country known for protecting precious forest resources.
The Indian Chipko activists were the original tree-huggers, risking their own lives to save the lives of valuable trees. I am sure the scientist would agree that the trees are worth the risks brave defenders take.
According to T.M. Das, a professor at the University of Calcutta, a living tree 50 years old will generate:
- $31,250 dollars worth of oxygen,
- provide $62,000 worth of air pollution control,
- control soil erosion and increase soil fertility to the tune of $31,250,
- recycle $37,500 dollars worth of water, and
- provide a home for animals worth $31,250.
This figure does not include the value of nuts, fruits, wood products like lumber, or the beauty derived from trees.
If a 50 year old tree is worth $200,000 dollars, how about a 500 year old tree? A 2,000 year old tree? A whole forest of old growth trees?
They are priceless.
The professor's work highlights more reasons to ensure the health of our forests now and for the future. Old growth trees are worth hugging, and their forests worth protecting.
"We have risen, we are awake: No longer will thieves rule our destiny.
It is our home, our forests; No longer will the others decide for us.
Soil ours, water ours, ours are these forests too."
- Dhan Singh Rana, Indian Chipko Movement