Have you noticed that trees and water are always found together?
Like good neighbours, trees and water help each other to prosper.
Listen to the stories of your grandparents.
They may say,
“When we were children, there were forests and trees all around, and there were cool springs of water that flowed from the hillsides or trickled into the rivers. We always said that spring water was the sweetest to drink. But then the trees began to disappear. The fresh water springs also disappeared, and today there is a water shortage.”
You can see for yourself how a group of trees, or a forest, affects the climate.
On rainy days or cool mornings, especially in the mountains, you can see the moisture from forests streaming into the air, and you can watch the formation of clouds.
You can see that in places where there are forests, streams and rivers continue to flow long after the rains have passed.
SOUND OF RIVER FLOWING.
Trees breathe in and out, as people do.
When trees breathe out, they breathe moisture into the air.
You only have to look at your breath on a cold day to see the moisture in it.
SOUND OF PERSON EXHALING.
SOUND OF RAIN DROPS FALLING UNDER DIALOGUE.
Tree branches and leaves stop raindrops from hitting the ground too fast.
This way the rainwater can seep slowly into the ground.
The soil will hold the water.
Some of the rainwater that falls on a forest doesn’t reach the ground, especially if it is a light rain.
Instead some of the water lands on the tree leaves.
Eventually this water evaporates, moves back into the air, and falls again as rain.
SOUND OF RAIN FALLING AND FADING OUT.
When you look at a tree you see a trunk and, above it, branches and leaves.
If you could see below the ground, you would see that the root system looks like an upside down tree!
Tree roots help water move into and through the soil.
As tree roots grow they make large channels for water to move through.
The water moves through these channels, deeper into the soil.
Eventually, water may be stopped by a hard layer of soil or rock.
When it reaches the hard soil or rock, water will move along the easiest path, generally flowing to a lower place.
Often, this water flows into a spring.
Sometimes the water will move deep down into the soil and can only be reached by digging a well.
SOUNDS OF GATHERING WATER (WOMEN TALKING, WATER BEING DRAWN).
If you protect trees you protect springs.
Communities with a water shortage should answer some important questions.
What is happening to the rainwater?
Are there enough trees to protect the water in the soil?
Or are the trees quickly disappearing?
FADE UP THEME MUSIC.
Just as your grandparents explained, when there are not many trees, there are often water shortages.
But if you protect trees, you protect springs and the clean, clear water they hold.
FADE OUT MUSIC AS SHOW ENDS.
Reviewed by: Keith Johnson, Designer, Patterns for Abundance, and Assistant Editor, The Permaculture Activist, North Carolina, USA.
Permaculture: A designer’s manual, Bill Mollison, 1988, 576 pages. Tagari Publications, Tyalgum, NSW, Australia.
“How trees store water and protect springs,” DCFRN script 33-7, 1994