Canadian Lung Association Blog

Need to breathe? Trees please!

With over 200 BC forests up in flames at the moment, and a recent air quality advisory in some regions, it might leave some wondering just how important are trees to our lung health?

treees to breathe-01Most people are aware that trees play an important role in absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen, but do you know how much?

Environment Canada states that “on average, one tree produces nearly 260 pounds of oxygen each year. Two mature trees can provide enough oxygen for a family of four”.  It is important to note that trees do not start producing significant amounts of oxygen until about 15 years of age. As well, the amount of oxygen produced varies widely depending on the species of tree; oak trees are one of the highest producers of C02 and are one of the longest living tree species on earth.

Oxygen is produced through photosynthesis, so in order to create oxygen the tree must first absorb C02. It is said that a mature tree (again, depending on the age and type of tree) can absorb as much as one ton of C02 over the course of its lifetime. Wow!

So, I don’t know about you, but I am crossing my fingers this rain comes and stays awhile so we can get these fires out and let the trees continue to do their jobs!

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Tracey Jirak

Tracey Jirak is a Health Promotor with BC Lung Association's QuitNow.

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