Ocean phytoplankton and algae produce 70-80% of the earths atmospheric oxygen. Why is tree conservation for oxygen so popular over ocean conservation then?

909 views
0

Ocean phytoplankton and algae produce 70-80% of the earths atmospheric oxygen. Why is tree conservation for oxygen so popular over ocean conservation then?

In: Biology

Trees are more familiar, and humanity’s effects on them are more easily understood. You can imagine 100 acres of rainforest being cleared for ranch land or banana plantations a lot more easily than a cloud of phytoplankton dying off. Just the simple fact that trees and humans are on land, while plankton and algae are in water, makes us care about them more.

Also, the focus on tree conservation does far more than just produce oxygen. In fact, I’d say that’s pretty far down the list. Carbon sequestration, soil health, and biological diversity are all greatly affected by deforestation.

Besides converting CO2 into oxygen, trees also store carbon. The process that has O2 as a byproduct is so that the tree has sugar to have energy. This takes the C from CO2 out of the atmosphere and into the wood or other structures of the tree.

In environmental biology trees are sort of a sentinel category. If we turned a giant forest into a parking lot, you’d notice and care. But you might not as easily notice the loss of all the other critters that depend on that forest. Birds, small animals, other plants, etc.

Plus being long lived, trees sequester a lot of carbon for decades. And when they die and decay, some of that carbon remains in the soil for centuries.

The human impact on forests is rather direct, the influence on algae is rather more indirect and uncertain.

Because the old paradigm has to pass out of group-think. The fact that our oceans produce most of our O2 is relatively new information.

Plus, carbon sequestration.