ISSN 2330-717X

Pine Trees Not Only Produce O2, They Teach Us How Much To Breath To Survive – OpEd


It is nearly November and at this month and sometimes earlier, trees start a physiological morph that humans may as well learn from, During this month and up to late April, the cold sets in, and like all other organisms on earth, trees, especially pine tree, a conifer evergreen, must finely tune to relative allocation of resources to its living functions (namely growth and defense) at a time so adverse to its living conditions.


While we humans will resort to winter clothes, sweaters, jackets, bonfires and heaters, pine trees turn to internal defense mechanisms. The pine trees in the Cordillera will face the chilling winds from Siberia, the dropping temperatures each morning and the thin dry air until February by adjusting internally. It lessens its water intake with the phloem and xylem arriving at absorption and distribution level equally, the cambium maximizes heat by closing its fissures to conserve heat and the bark gets as much tannin and lignin. There is no unnecessary root capillary action.

And while we seek to optimize the costs and benefits of existing heat and warmth as these resources are limited and allocated unequally to each one, a pine tree will result to trade-offs among its different functions or traits.

For instance, one human needs some 8 to 9 liters (about one-fourth of a cubic foot) of air per minute. That totals something like 11,000 liters of air (388 cubic feet) in a day. But during cold months, our bodies need more oxygen, especially if we are to do manual work. Yet humans just breath with no care at all, summer or winter time. With little or no work efforts involved. We over-breath for so many things which are not important.

So let’s learn from the pine trees. We allocate each activity a certain amount of oxygen supply . If we don’t do that, our hearts cannot compensate for their bodies’ higher demand for oxygen when inhaling cold air. It threatens our health and lives. We must resort to energy saving.

Yoga practitioners have mastered the art of breathing and get only the right amount of oxygen their body needs. The Israelis have perfected drip irrigation to provide exactly the amount each vegetable or plant needs. Wild animals kill only those they need for food.


But for most of us, we just don’t care. We think that everything is there—free—for the taking. One day, we will not have that luxury. And the oxygen shops (people go to breath pure oxygen here to cure their lung ailments) in the US, Japan, China and some European countries are indicating that.

Dr. Michael A. Bengwayan

Dr. Michael A. Bengwayan wrote for the British Panos News and Features and GEMINI News Service, the Brunei Times, and US Environment News Service. In the Philippines, he wrote for DEPTHNews of the Press Foundation of Asia, Today, the Philippine Post, and Vera Files. A practicing environmentalist, he holds postgraduate degrees in environment resource management and development studies as a European Union (EU) Fellow at University College, Dublin, Ireland. He is currently a Fellow of Echoing Green Foundation of New York City. He now writes for Business Mirror and Eurasia Review.

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