There are thousands of plant species around the world, and they come in all shapes and sizes! Why are plants important? Plants are important not just to humans but to sustain all life on earth. Life on earth is not possible without plants. Be it a tree or a shrub, all plants have a crucial role.
We all know that plants are important, so let us quickly sort them into various categories to help us understand the importance of plants in detail!
A Source of Food
A very obvious reason for using plants in everyday life is that they are a very nutritious source of food. Farmers grow rice, wheat, fruit, vegetables, everything on plants, and this has been the staple food source since time immortal. There are innumerable foods that are plant-based.
Fruits, vegetables, and pulses are directly obtained as plant-based food sources.
Dairy and meat production is indirectly linked to plants. Cows that give us meat and dairy feed on plants to survive, which is true for chickens and sheep.
Green plants are a major source of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that our bodies require to survive
People have been using plants for centuries to make medicines, and this is one of the biggest causes of deforestation. Plants may have an answer to various incurable diseases, but if plants were to become extinct, then we may never know about them.
Here are some common medicines that we use and derive from plants.
Aspirin is a painkiller, and it comes from the bark of a willow tree that makes salicylic acid.
Digitalis has been discovered to help treat heart ailments, and this too comes from plants.
Quinine is a medicine that is used to treat malaria, and it comes from a tree that is used to treat the illness symptoms.
Penicillin is the first antibiotic discovered, and it comes from a mold with the same name. The medicine is used to treat infected wounds, Scarlet fever, and meningitis.
Caffeine is an important drug found in energy drinks and your morning tea and coffee, and it comes from coffee trees.
Have you looked at the sponge you use to scrub the floor or clean your utensil? This is made from wood pulp.
The rubber used in tires and latex comes from the rubber tree. The rubber tree that is six years old should be tapped to collect latex.
Cloth fabrics like rayon and cotton are naturally grown and come from plants.
Animals greatly benefit from plants.
Herbivores eat plants.
Plants are also used as shelter/living space for many animal species including bird nests, beehives, insect nests etc.
Help the Environment
How do plants help the environment?
1. Maintains Climatic Conditions
Plants suck in carbon dioxide and release oxygen.
Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming and climatic changes. When plants are cut, carbon dioxide levels go up, and this has a huge impact on the environment.
Oxygen is vital to sustain human and animal life through cellular respiration
2. Lowers Air Pollution
The tiny particles that float in the air, especially seen when you live near industries, are bad for your lungs. This is pollution caused by planes, cars, factories, and many more man-made things. The plants that live alongside us prevent us from the harm of pollution, and absorb dangerous pollutants.
3. Prevents Desertification
Source: Plants preventing desertification
There is a risk that the fertile parts of the earth are potentially becoming infertile and desert-like.
- This happens because of poor farming practices and drought.
- Planting trees helps to combat this issue. The root structures the soil and does not let it dry out and erode.
- Plants that decompose give the soil essential nutrients, which improves soil quality.
- Plants also move huge amounts of water from the soil to the atmosphere and aid the biogeochemical cycle
- They host bacteria in the soil that fix nitrogen which is in turn used by other organisms
- The importance of plants is usually forgotten, and the ways plants help us are often taken for granted.
- Plants are the major supplier of food to all terrestrial organisms.
- They play a pivotal role in maintaining the optimal atmospheric conditions
- Plants produce oxygen through photosynthesis, without which respiration and thus life would not have been possible.
- Plants also recycle matter and provide many products for human use.
- Plants create a natural habitat for most organisms.
- In a nutshell, life without plants is unimaginable.
1. What are the 5 important services of plants?
The 5 importantance of plants are food, oxygen, medicines, pollutant control and mindfulness.
2. What is the importance of plants in the ecosystem?
Plants are the main reason why the food chain is in place.
3. Why are plants and trees important?
Life on earth will not be possible without trees and plants.
4. What are the different uses of plants?
- Plants provide food and medicines,
- Plants are sources of medicines,
- They provide oxygen for us to breathe,
- They reduce the pollutant levels in the environment.
5. What is the importance of plants and animals?
Plants and animals co-exist to balance the ecosystem
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- What is the Importance of Plants? https://www.twinkl.co.in/teaching-wiki/importance-of-plants Accessed 10 Dec, 2021.
- Why are plants important? Reasons why we need them. https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/blog/2018/04/why-plants-are-important/ Accessed 10 Dec, 2021.