This blog is not just about trees but since I have written about some tree families, the descriptions would be incomplete without a mention of the Pine tree family (Pinaceae) and its close relatives cedars, firs and spruces, before I move on to other topics. These are amongst the oldest of trees on earth, long lasting companions of mother Earth. The oldest tree on earth is perhaps a spruce in Sweden that is about ten thousand years old. These are trees that bear cones instead of fruits and flowers and have needles instead of leaves.
To my mind a mountain valley landscape is incomplete without this tree. Nothing adds more grace, beauty, joy and wisdom to the surroundings. The usefulness of this tree for its wood and turpentine are well known. Its nuts are a delicious food source. Young new pine needles added to tea add vitamins C and A to the drink.
If a pine tree is cut down for commercial use please ensure that at least two more are planted to replace it. Not all trees survive into adulthood. If a tree is procured for Christmas then make sure it is dried later and the wood used as firewood. If that cannot be done then it is better to buy or prepare a live potted Christmas tree that can be planted out in the forest in spring.
When considering trees to plant on mountain slopes in order to prevent land slides and soil erosion the pine is not the best but other trees like Oak do a far better job of it . On such slopes the pine may be mixed in with other leafy trees to add bio diversity. The use of pine forests must also be restricted in areas prone to dry summers and forest fires. While trees of warm areas keep them cool by spreading out and broad leaves that block the sun's rays from reaching ground, pines grow in colder areas and warm the earth through their needle like leaves and narrow shape.
A tree while it lives and after it is cut down spends its life in service of all other life by providing oxygen, food, shelter, beauty, peace and energy. In return for that it accepts humbly and gratefully whatever nature and other life grants. All trees especially long lived ones like pines illustrate the beauty, peace and joy that service to other life brings as opposed to merely selfish activity that some life may perhaps indulge in and some pseudo-philosophers like Ayn Rand attempt to justify. Such philosophers make pathetic and futile attempts to over come the inner voice and guilt as well as depression that inevitably follows selfishness as opposed to happiness produced through selfless activity. If other parts of nature such as trees followed the same selfish philosophy such humans would not survive for an instant.
This photo is a public domain image from