Why planting trees is about more than C02 reduction


07 Dec 2021

The fact that trees combat global warming by absorbing C02 in the atmosphere is beginning to sound like a broken record. However, there are lesser-known ways that trees impact our mental, social and ecological well-being. Below we’ve identified a few ways tress impact our everyday lives that you may not have known:

Forest-bathing: the secret to wellness

According to a study from 2019 published by Scientific Reports, British participants who had spent 120 minutes over the past week in nature were significantly more likely to report good health and higher well-being as opposed to those who had no contact with nature.

“Shinrin-Yoku”, which translates to “forest-bathing”, is a Japanese practice of spending time in woodlands that have been scientifically proven to improve mental and physical well-being. The benefits of Shinrin-Yoku were first discovered in the 1980s when a number of scientific studies found that spending time in forests or woodlands could reduce cortisol levels (contributors of chronic stress), blood pressure and improve one’s focus and memory. The studies also found that breathing in phytoncides, which are aromatic oils released naturally from trees, help boost our immune systems. Phytoncides increase our NK activity, which are innate immune cells found in the human body that help fight tumour cells and virus-infected cells.

The immense beneficial impacts that forests can have on our health and well-being underscores the importance of protecting and promoting green recreational spaces around us. However, deforestation, driven by urbanization, agriculture and various other economic activities, has resulted in the loss of over 80 million hectares of forest area globally between 2015-2020. If forests and woodlands continue to disappear at this rate, humans may lose an important and unique source of healing and well-being.

Trees fight toxic water pollutants

The human body consists of 70% water and requires 1 gallon of water per day to survive. As vital as this resource is to our survival, access to safe and clean drinking water is becoming unpredictable.

Rising global temperatures have impacted agricultural practices, namely the increased use of pesticides to manage more unwanted pests and weeds. Consequently, pesticide residues have seeped into the ground, contaminating our drinking water wells. This is a stark reality even for a country like Denmark which enjoys some of the cleanest drinking water in the world. The Danish government has declared all groundwater to be vulnerable to contaminants as more than 62% of Denmark’s total land area is under agricultural use.

Planting trees can be a viable solution to ensuring clean drinking water. Recent studies have revealed that the impact trees have on the Earth's water quality and availability is much larger than expected. Through a process called transpiration, tree roots draw up water from beneath the ground and release it into the atmosphere in the form of water vapour through their leaves. Trees are especially advantageous compared to other plants as their roots are deeper, allowing for greater volumes of water to be extracted from the ground.

About 70% of the water vapour generated over land areas come from plants! In Europe alone, forests transpire about half of the average rainfall. Since this water vapour is later turned into clouds and rainfall via precipitation, trees play a crucial role in regulating our natural water cycle.

Forests protect 60,000 species  

Forests contain about 60,000 different species, making them the most diverse ecosystems on our planet. Thus forests and their biodiversity have enormous scientific value as they are important indicators for the impacts of climate change. Forest species are already facing dire consequences globally due to habitat losses, pollution, climate change, and other impediments. The European Environment Agency anticipates that up to 9% of 120 Native European mammals studied will face extinction by the end of the 21st century unless they manage to migrate northeast towards the Alps and Pyrenees regions. 

Moreover, butterflies, beetles, ants, bees and moths are important pollinators in the forest ecosystem. Since 80% of flowering plants require animal pollinators, a decline in insect pollinators due to habitat losses will have serious consequences for our ecosystem. Lack of pollinators will hinder plant reproduction, as well as carbon cycling and soil creation and protection.

Protecting the forest food web and the overall biodiversity of forests requires that we protect and create more insect-friendly habitats. Planting more trees in suitable environments is one viable solution. Insects and animals thrive in forests due to their richness and variations in microclimates, vegetation, soil and wood conditions, and other beneficial conditions that are unique to forests.


The United Nations Development Programme reports that climate change has increased the risk of drought, particularly in northern Ghana. Severe droughts have adversely affected the livelihoods of rural farmers who depend on rainfall for maintaining good soil health. Agriculture is the main source of livelihood in Ghana accounting for 1/5th of Ghana's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employing about half of Ghana's entire workforce. The strains of severe drought are felt beyond Ghana; approximately 55 million people are affected by drought each year, more than any other climate-change hazard.

Additionally, desertification, a form of land degradation resulting in a decline in soil fertility and vegetation, is also an issue that is most severely affecting West Africa. Due to rising global temperatures, it is estimated that about 319 million hectares of Africa (about 1/3 of the United States) are vulnerable to desertification. In Ghana, desertification has also intensified due to mass deforestation practices to support mining activities and to create agricultural lands needed to feed Ghana's growing population. Deforestation can have extremely destructive and often irreversible impacts on our climate, as well as on soil quality, such as soil erosion, a decline in surface-water quality, and even permanent vegetation changes.

Soil is one of the most important resources needed to support life. Thus the ongoing depletion of forests, unless halted, is likely to exacerbate poverty and other negative socioeconomic impacts of deforestation on the Ghanian rural community.

Your used smartphone can help achieve these benefits of trees

Worthmore will sustainably refurbish and resell your used smartphone, and 100% of the resale value will go towards our partner, Growing Trees Network Foundation. For just DKK 15.00, the Growing Trees Network Foundation has made it possible for you to plant a tree that will contribute to their domestic and international afforestation projects to secure groundwater, climate protection, biodiversity, among other environmental and social benefits.

The foundation has already planted 2,800,000 trees in Denmark, most of which have gone towards building new "folkeskov" ("people's forests") that offer recreational spaces for people to enjoy cost-effective activities such as gardening and unwinding with friends and family. Growing Trees Network Foundation has also worked together with the Danish Nature Conservation Association to create 46 new forests in Denmark to conserve endangered forests and wildlife. Many of their afforestation projects are done on former agricultural lands across Denmark. By transforming agricultural lands into public forests, the Growing Trees Network Foundation is preventing further pesticide pollution and thereby ensuring safe and drinkable groundwater for future generations.

Beyond Denmark, the foundation has also helped establish community food forests in partnership with rural communities in Ghana. The community forests serve two vital purposes: they help restore the natural ecosystem which benefits the wildlife and the climate; and, the forests provide a source of income for rural communities who can trade the fruits and nuts grown on the trees for necessities like clean water, meats and vegetables.

If you wish to donate your used smartphone to promote the four benefits of tree planting outlined above, click the link below!