Even if you grew up in the densest of cities, you probably knew where you could go to be among trees. Trees are essential for human health. They cool the temperatures around them, they help manage moisture and secure topsoil, and they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Indeed, if humanity goes over our "carbon budget" by burning too many planet-warming fossil fuels - a genuine danger within as few as 20 years - trees are the thing that will save us, with their ability to sequester carbon directly from the air.
Ironically, trees also provided those very fossil fuels in the first place - the vast majority of coal on the planet is made up of fallen wood that couldn't rot as the relevant microbes hadn't evolved yet, meaning stacks of fallen wood from dead trees eventually crushed itself down into coal. That means trees of the distant past have warmed and lit our homes, even as their current relatives save us from the consequences.
More than saving our planet in the near future, though, trees save our sanity now. Studies have shown that spending just five to ten minutes a day in a wooded area can help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. Trees: they're just that good. But despite the fact that trees give us mental health, physical comfort and a planet fit for human habitation, many of us don't know a lot about them. Most people can't tell their hardwoods from their softwoods, their birches from their beeches, their conifers from their broad-leaved deciduous trees.
Fortunately, this quiz is your opportunity to show us what you do know, and perhaps fill in a few gaps along the way!
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