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&

TREES

THE ROADWAY

(Left) A contractor crew plants bald cypress trees in the Cadron Creek Wetland Mitigation Area.

“ IF

AN AHTD

CONSTRUCTION PROJECT DISTURBS A WETLAND AREA, THE DEPARTMENT MUST MITIGATE FOR THESE IMPACTS AND THIS IS DONE THROUGH REFORESTATION IN DESIGNATED AREAS.

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any of us “of a certain age” have fond memories of climbing trees during the endless summers. It was an adventure which gave us a new perspective on the world and maybe allowed us to spy on unsuspecting adults or temporarily escape punishment for breaking Mom’s vase. For the lucky few with access to scrap lumber and with understanding parents,

the back yard tree could even support a treehouse. For most adults our tree climbing

days are largely over except for energetic deer hunters and we now may view trees as

shade for our backyard, as resources which provide lumber and paper, and as objects of beauty in the fall.

Besides their shade, beauty and economic utility, trees also play an important role in

the environment. By absorbing carbon dioxide and returning oxygen to the atmosphere, they help provide the air we breathe and it is estimated that one large tree can provide

enough oxygen for two people. Through a process called transpiration, their root system takes in water from the soil and the trunk and branches carry it to their leaves where it is released into the atmosphere. Studies have shown that about 10 percent of the water

in the atmosphere comes from this source and according to the U.S. Geological Survey, a large oak tree can recycle up to 40,000 gallons of water in this manner every year.

Additionally, interception of rainfall by the tree canopy helps reduce the force of

raindrops striking the soil, thereby reducing erosion while the root system holds the

soil in place, contributing to this effect. The number of trees in a watershed is directly

related to the overall health of waterbodies within that watershed because deforestation contributes to an increase in total stormwater runoff and peak runoff rates.

Arkansas Highways Magazine - May 2015  
Arkansas Highways Magazine - May 2015