Trees give off oxygen that we need to breathe. They reduce the amount of stormwater runoff, which reduces erosion and pollution in our waterways and may reduce the effects of flooding. Many species of wildlife depend on trees for food, homes and protection.

Forests are important for our welfare for a very long list of reasons, a few of which are:

  • they provide us with medicines;
  • they manufacture breathable air: just one adult, leafy tree can produce as much oxygen in a season as 10 people inhale in a year;
  • they fight flooding;
  • they muffle sound pollution;
  • they keep the Earth cool by storing CO2 in wood, leaves and soil (often for hundreds of years);
  • they help us live longer; and
  • nearly half of all known species live in forests, including 80 percent of the biodiversity on land, including endangered apes and rare spirit bears.

Although anchored in one spot, a tree is an amazingly communicative entity that is capable of adapting to varying environmental conditions and changing with the seasons that surround it. One Public Broadcasting Service videographer decided to put that reality into pictures.


Although anchored in the ground, trees are highly communicative entities.

From 2006 to 2008, Samuel Orr lived in a quiet, little cabin in Indiana while filming several nature documentaries on the natural history of the state for PBS. Because he felt his cabin, which was located near a nature preserve, was in such a beautiful part of the woods, he decided to experiment with time-lapse photography. He set up a camera on a tripod near a window; and every day over the course of 15 months, he took still images of the same scene of a tree in the forest. He compiled 40,000 of those photographs into a video—accompanied by music from Johnny Ripper—which you can watch, below.

For the next three minutes, then, spend a whole year in a forest. You just may experience a few other benefits from that long list: a lower heart rate and a reduced level of stress.

Here’s to finding your true places and natural habitats,