Topics: Mahogany, Swietenia, Wood Pages: 21 (7669 words) Published: February 16, 2013
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In botany, a tree is a plant with an elongated stem, or trunk, supporting leaves or branches. In some usages, the definition of a tree may be narrower, including only woody plants, only plants that are usable as lumber, only plants above a specified height or only perennial species. At its broadest, trees include the taller palms, the tree ferns, bananas and bamboo. A tree typically has many secondary branches supported clear of the ground by the trunk. This trunk typically contains woody tissue for strength, and vascular tissue to carry materials from one part of the tree to another. For most trees it is surrounded by a layer of bark which serves as a protective barrier. Below the ground, the roots branch and spread out widely; they serve to anchor the tree and extract moisture and nutrients from the soil. Above ground, the branches divide into smaller branches and shoots. The shoots typically bear leaves, which capture light energy and convert it into chemical energy by photosynthesis, providing the food needed by the tree for its growth and development. Flowers and fruit may also be present, but some trees such as conifers instead have pollen cones and seed cones, and others such as tree ferns produce spores instead. Trees tend to be long-lived,[1] some reaching several thousand years old. The tallest known specimen on Earth is 115.6 m (379 ft) and they have a theoretical maximum height of 130 m (426 ft).[2] Trees have been in existence on the Earth for 370 million years. Trees are not a taxonomic group but are a number of plant species that have independently evolved a woody trunk and branches as a way to tower above other plants and make full use of the sunlight. ****Trees play a significant part in reducing erosion and moderating the climate. They remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store large quantities of carbon in their tissues. Trees and forests provide a habitat for many species of animals and plants. Tropical rainforests are one of the most biodiversehabitats in the world. Trees provide shade and shelter, timber for construction, fuel for cooking and heating, and fruit for food as well as having many other uses. In parts of the world, forests are shrinking as trees are cleared to increase the amount of land available for agriculture. Because of their longevity and usefulness, trees have always been revered and they play a role in many of the world's mythologies.

I’m not a tree hugger, but I have hugged trees before. Though I meant that literally, I also figuratively embrace trees. Ever since I was younger (as in, a wee lil’ fellow), I’ve had an interest in nature. I guess you could say my childhood somewhat reflected a simplified version of Darwin. Later when I became interested in cultures, plus being socially outcast, I had an interest in things that were out of the norm. An example would be my interest in Asian cultures, as I grew up in the Western world. Sometime a few years ago, I also fell in love with the beach. Still, today, the southern coast of South Carolina, in my mind, will always remain a place that I love to death. There, besides the southern live oaks with Spanish moss on them, are cabbage palmettos and other tropical plants. Those became an icon of feeling happy in my mind, and it fused with my other interests that I mentioned in the paragraph before this one. Being in a city here in the Philippines is cool, but I grew up living in the country. But every now and then, on rare occasions, I get to see groups of plants as I ride out from the inner-city. It’s really exciting! How I wish I could go out in those areas and just observe those plants in admiration. Here’s a few trees that I commonly see here: The Philippines is blessed with a very high biodiversity, including the...
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