Trees bear benefits… and fruit

Our research showed that removing about half of the native vegetation for development and timber production between 1960 and 1980 led to a 15 per cent reduction in rainfall in south-west WA ” leading to the shortage of fresh water we now have.

We know that trees increase rainfall in many ways, including by increasing moisture levels in the air.

Fewer trees means less rainfall.

The negative impact on fresh water availability disproportionately affects the environment and poorest members of the population, who can least afford energy-intensive desalinated water.

By contrast there has been little direct impact on the disposable income of rich households, who are often decision-makers.

Thus, there is a grassroots-based community need to mitigate the effects of long-term changes in climate with regional reforestation using trees.

Given the importance of trees on climate, in cooling the air, acting as a carbon sink and increasing rainfall, it makes sense for all WA councils, including those in Perth where traffic and roads make the environment even hotter, to plant a lot more trees.

Trees that emit cloud-seeding particles include fruit trees (example apple trees) and native eucalyptus. Imagine Perth streets covered with fruit and native trees.

The overall effect on the local environment and on our wellbeing would be enormous.

Walk through the street and you would be cool even on a hot day ” you would be in the shade with the trees pumping out moisture and acting as evaporative air conditioners.

As you walked there would be figs, mulberries and other seasonal fruit in between native trees to pick and share with neighbours you met along the way.

This simple strategy would help mitigate the drying effects of global climate change while we save money on groceries and create enjoyable nature-based activities throughout the year.