As Earth Day and National Arbor Day approaches, consider the importance of the trees. They protect the soil from erosion, clean the air, cool our home, the asphalt and concrete area, provide homes for the wildlife, and increase the value of your home. Trees are also a renewable resource for building materials. Globally, the effects of deforestation are a concern for global warming.

It is reported that deforestation releases carbon stored in trees and soil. Forests play an important role in absorbing the carbon dioxide generated by humans. Protecting the forests is crucial to reining in warming. It is reported that climate change has worsened land degradation, making the forest more vulnerable to drought and fire. Protecting and expanding forests should be an important goal.

Are trees important in Galt? As a matter of fact, they are. New housing additions are required to have a tree in each front yard. It is a goal to create an attractive canopy effect on our streets, and at the same time provide all the benefits mentioned above.

However, often what happens is that once homeowners move in, one of the first things they do is cut down the tree because they don’t want to rake leaves or maintain the tree. In Galt, there could be a penalty for doing that unless the homeowner replaces the tree when he goes to obtain a permit for improvements to his home.

There are organizations that will help you replace that tree, such as the Sacramento Tree Foundation and the National Arbor Foundation. They will not only give you a tree, but also help you plant the right tree in the right way because they believe trees are so important to the environment.

On Arbor Day, many families and individuals plant a tree at their homes or in the parks. But before you start, investigate the place you will be planting the tree. Is there water available? Is there enough distance from sidewalks and foundations? Is there enough room when the tree is fully-grown? Will the tree survive in our soil and our climate? Contact the Sacramento Tree Foundation to help answer those questions.

So please don’t cut down that tree; remember the effect of trees to your home, your community and the world. This is another way you can make a difference.

Barbara Payne is the chair on both the Galt Beautification Committee and Galt Community of Character Coalition.