Forests can be defined as ‘multifunctional’ as they have a wide range of functions which include land conservation, climate change control, securing of water sources and creation of natural environments essential to human existence. They are key players in preventing global warming (being one of their more important functions) due to their ability to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, thus, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by humans.
Although ‘plant a tree’ or ‘save a tree’ slogans have been successfully engraved in the minds of the general population, the actual impact and benefits of trees to the world around us and to our very existence is often overlooked, particularly among urban populations and the younger generation who have become disconnected from nature. Thus, the dangers of losing forest cover due to deforestation and other causes are often undervalued. Without this vital knowledge and understanding present in the minds of the youth and the general population, environmental conservation cannot move forward.
In acknowledging this, Dilmah Conservation embarked to set up an urban arboretum. An arboretum allows the appreciation of the natural beauty of forests as well as demonstrates the numerous benefits trees provide to the natural environment as well as human life aiding in the establishment of sustainable societies. Along with the aesthetic and social value, forests also provide important services within the ecosystem toward cleaning the air, protecting and cleaning water and supporting biodiversity. More directly for humans, trees help conserve energy, increase the value of our homes and essentially provide significant economic benefits. However, it is only when this impact is felt in a tangible manner that it will be possible to affect change in peoples’ behavior towards saving our forests. Additionally, the arboretum will also help promote urban forests and show the vital role trees play in our society with their significant monetary, social and ecological values.