LOS BAÑOS, Laguna, Philippines – If only trees could vote, millions would reject politicians whose campaign materials were nailed on them.
Like any living organism, a tree also suffers from wounds caused by sharp objects like nails and staple wires, says a report in Philstar Global
“Hammering nails and staple wires and hanging streamers on trees harm the normal function and health of living trees,” according to the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB), an agency of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources based in the University of the Philippines Los Baños.
The wounds created on the trunks serve as the entry point of decay-causing microorganisms. “Through time, the nails and staple wires rust and create metal stains on the trunk of trees. The rust and stains react with the tannic acid and other chemical compounds in the wood, resulting in the tree’s decreased resistance to decay,” the ERDB explained.
The agency also said the decay, or any damage on any part of a tree, hampers the flow of water and nutrients from the roots to the upper parts, and vice versa. The tree will not have enough supply of water and nutrients to sustain its needs. The health of the tree then suffers and it will lead to stunted growth or death.
The weight of posters is also an added burden to a tree.
“Trees naturally shed off leaves, twigs and branches as a way of managing their weight burden and physiological processes such as transpiration and food manufacturing. Therefore, it is unfair to them if campaigns will make the trees carry the posters of candidates during the long campaign period,” according to the advocacy paper of forest pathologist Marcelina Pacho.
Ecologically and materially, a tree can be worth as much as P8 million during its lifetime, according to ERDB retired forest scientist Leuvina Tandug.
Tandug explained that in half a century, one tree provides about P6.1 million ($62,000) worth of air pollution control, produces $37,000 worth of oxygen, recycles more than $37,000 worth of water and provides $31,000 worth of erosion control.
Two mature trees can provide the oxygen requirements of a family of four.
The shade from trees also help cool the Earth’s temperature by cooling the air and ground around them. This helps reduce the greenhouse effect by absorbing carbon dioxide, Tandug added.