Thursday, November 17, 2005

Of tree tops and cloud bottoms

True, this picture is more of the breathtaking clouds than the trees. However, trees play a critical role in many of Earth’s interconnected systems – including the water systems.

Ever notice the “steam” rising off of trees in the morning? This process, known as transpiration, is one of many ways that trees help to maintain water in the surrounding ecosystems, intentional or not. Trees release this water in the morning, which helps them to draw water up through their roots (provided that you subscribe to the tension-cohesion theory of water distribution in trees).

Trees absorb rainwater (and flooding, to a certain extent), which helps distribute water slowly and evenly throughout the ecosystems. Their methods of absorption also act as a filtration device, removing some impurities (at least to an extent) to keep water clean for the rest of us smaller organisms.

Some of the water which trees render through transpiration (or evapotranspiration whereupon water evaporates off the surface of trees) helps to contribute to the formation of new clouds… to rain again another day!

1 comment:

  1. I really like this one. The cloud formation is stunning.


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