Palm trees have been linked with humans since the dawn of civilization. Records show cultivation of the date palm in ancient Mesopotamia 5,000 years or more ago. Today, they are used for food, beverages, medicines, dyes, furniture, clothing, roofs, and as ornamental trees growing along streets. Historically, they have also served as powerful symbols of peace, triumph, victory, long life, and rest and hospitality. In Christianity, the palm symbolized victory of the spirit over flesh.
Despite their value, various anthropological causes have resulted in risk to many palm species, with at least 100 palm species considered to be endangered, and nine recently becoming extinct. Among the causes is habitat destruction, as forest is converted to various agricultural, commercial, or residential uses. Harvesting of palms or palm products also places a strain on various palm species.
Palm trees provide much benefit to humans, whether commercially, symbolically, or in terms of beauty and shade. As stewards of creation, human beings have a responsibility to nurture their relationship with palms trees, allowing them to provide benefit to the whole, but while also assisting their individual purpose to exist, develop, and reproduce.