I grew up on Shetland, famous, or infamous for it’s lack of trees. It always puzzled me as a child why there weren’t many trees on Shetland. There are some. Small woods have been planted, encouraged by government grant schemes. But most of the islands look like this:
Most of the time, the peat covered landscape copes well with the heavy rains the islands get, allowing the water to drain away. Every now and then the islands get longer spells of dry weather, the peat dries out and if it rains too hard before the peat has had a chance to recover, land slips can occur:
Several landslides occurred in Shetland in 2014. The islands were fortunate that more didn’t occur.
Soil erosion is a major problem affecting humanity around the globe. The loss of soil cannot be easily repaired and areas that lose their soil may never fully recover.
Planting trees is a long term solution to a very real problem. It takes decades and sometimes centuries for trees to build a system of roots that can hold soil in place and prevent landslides and soil erosion. Yet, if we do not start replanting the billions of trees that we have cut down around the world, our children and grandchildren may eventually have no soil left to grow crops on.