By Ashraf Naushahi

An oak tree is a good example of good strength, as it gives shelter and support to those weaker and vulnerable in a garden, forest or jungle. Small squirrels play around it and tweeting birds sit on its branches. However, its leaves and fruits, which are called "Acorns" are acidic and therefore, not proper as foods for animals and cattle.       

Oak tree is strong and resistant to damages from insects and fungi. Its wood is very strong because it contains a natural compound "Tannin". Tannin is a compound found with proteins and such other natural compounds hence making oak-wood very strong. Because of its strength oak-wood has been used for making numerous useful things especially ships, prominent building structures, finer furniture, tanning works, tools for agricultural works, medical preparations, ink, flooring and roof construction.

There are hundreds of oak species found in the present day world. Its species and trees are grown in different regions of North America, Europe, Asia and North Africa. In Asia, most oak species are found in various regions of China. In North America, diverse regions of Mexico have most species of oak trees. Its some species are also found in the Himalayan regions.  

Oak trees have ecological significance. Subtropical rain-forests and semi-desert regions are largely made of oak trees. Various other trees and animals in these forests flourish only in an ecological environment consisting  of oaks. Several species of oaks in these regions have become endangered species. It is not good for ecological equilibrium. It is happening because of imbalanced increase in agricultural needs in various parts of the world. Unsustainable harvesting have decreased large portions of oak forests.

As global warming can be somewhat balanced by taking care of trees and forests, oak trees should also be taken care of. Oaks have been a source of shelter and support to birds, small squirrel and diverse other animals for centuries. However, in this age of global warming, these trees too, need some care for a better, sustainable and healthier natural environment. 

Published in Young Nation Magazine on April 7, 2018