Oak trees are built strong, allowing them to live for hundreds of years. Tannic acids in the leaves and bark guard oaks from fungi and insects. Oak trunks, the trees’ thick main stems, store water for use during dry periods. Oaks send up new sprouts from their roots if they are burned down or eaten by animals. Many oaks have thick bark that protects them from fire. For these reasons, oaks are among the most important species in many forests, woodlands, and other ecosystems.
Oaks are important in many societies. In some parts of the world, people grow coppices, or small forests, of oak trees that they harvest, or gather, as a crop. They cut down the young trees every 15 to 30 years and use the wood for fires to heat their homes and cook food. The harvested oaks, which have stored energy, or strength, down in their roots, sprout again and form many new, thin branches.
Fiammetta Dogi and Studio Stalio