Their global conquest began over 385 million years ago.
As they spread and dug their roots into the crust of the planet, they caused erosion that flushed soil and their nutrients into surrounding waters. What resulted was marine anoxia, or a rapid drop of oxygen levels in the seas. Shortly after, the lively marine ecosystem of primeval Earth suffocated, collapsed, and disappeared.
Or at least, that’s one hypothesis.
Other theories of the late Devonian mass extinction range from asteroid impact to active volcanoes. The truth remains: after their arrival, trees forever changed the Earth’s ecosystem.
Fast forward 385.002 million years.
Today, three trillion trees cover our planet. They produce oxygen and store carbon, and the forests they form foster biodiversity, preserve water quality, filter water flow, provide food, stabilize climate, and inspire us with beauty and wonder. Life on Earth has evolved to depend on forests and the services they provide. We humans are no exception; we need forests. We were, in fact, born from forests.