Both biotic and abiotic factors are strongly impacting trees globally, and are exacerbated by the effects of the climate emergency we are experiencing.
By Julio Retamales
Vina del Mar, Chile.- Shelter, shelter for microbial life, shade, food, raw materials, balance of ambient oxygen, reduction of soil temperature, modeling of the landscape, even inspiration for artistic works, are some of the actions that trees allow, a natural resource renewable energy that often goes unnoticed before our eyes.
Both biotic and abiotic factors are strongly impacting trees globally, and are exacerbated by the effects of the climate emergency we are experiencing. The direct effect that deforestation and forest fires have on ecosystems is almost evident, even more so if we consider the vast area of land devoted to forestry production. In our country, an emblematic tree such as the araucarias is being affected by fungal diseases and has withdrawn the work of various entities, both governmental and academic. Everyone agrees that this devastating effect can be intensified by the low availability of water and the increase in environmental temperature.
Although this is one of the most mediatic cases in Chile, recent analyzes indicate that there are about 10 native trees that present a high risk of extinction. Therefore, reforestation and the increase of protected green areas are the main measure to mitigate this phenomenon and to preserve this invaluable genetic heritage. Last July 6th we commemorated Arbor Day in our country, a date that was not as widespread as it should have been, despite the fact that it reminds us of the importance of protecting these species to ensure that the life of the planet’s immense biological diversity still possible.
Julio Retamales is an Academic Researcher at the Institute of Natural Sciences of UDLA, Viña del Mar.