Many of us like to cheer up our homes in mid-winter by bringing the outdoors indoors in the form of a Christmas tree. But is there really such a thing as a truly sustainable choice when it comes to this Christmas tradition? Those concerned with trying to live as sustainably as possible have given some considerable thought to the matter.
Which Sorts of Christmas Trees Are Most Sustainable?
First of all, it in now widely agreed that natural trees are more sustainable than plastic trees. Though of course plastic trees last for years, they do embody a lot of ‘dirty’ energy and are far worse for our planet. They come with a high carbon cost and also pose a problem when it comes to their disposal.
But choosing to have a ‘natural’ tree does not automatically offer a truly sustainable option. There are lots of other things to consider when choosing a ‘real’ tree. First of all, it is important to consider where the tree came from. Did it really come from a sustainable forest?
What is Sustainable Christmas Tree Forestry?
When people say the words sustainable forestry, they are often referring simply to the fact that new trees are planted for each that is cut down and that this forest will, therefore, remain the same size or grow over time. Unfortunately, there are some forests of this sort that are not truly sustainable at all. Some are intensive in their use of water and other resources, some non-organic. When Christmas tree foresters use inorganic chemicals to ensure a successful crop, their efforts cannot truly be said to be sustainable, nor can they be described as ecologically friendly.
Even some ‘sustainable’ forests are incredibly bad for the environment. Sometimes, these forests are mono-crop systems. Like mono-crop agriculture, they create a whole range of problems for the environment by reducing diversity, crowding out diverse, native ecosystems and creating pest problems that are often solved with chemicals. Some so-called sustainable forests are also not truly sustainable as they use land that could better be used to grow edible crops. A truly sustainable Christmas tree forest is an organic one, of diverse, native species, on land that is not really viable for food or other uses.
The problem for consumers is that it is not always easy to understand exactly where your Christmas tree has come from. Research is the key to a more sustainable Christmas.
Using a Living Tree
If you are concerned about sustainability, you may prefer to circumvent the problems of felling trees at Christmas by choosing to place a living tree in your home. If you would like to choose a living tree to plant in your garden in the New Year then how it has been grown is important. A tree that has simply been cut from a truly sustainable forest and placed in a pot will, unfortunately, have a degree of root damage that means it will be unlikely to live long. If you wish to buy a viable specimen to plant out then you should choose one that has been grown in a pot. These trees will have all their roots intact.
Do your homework and it is possible to find a truly sustainable option when decorating your home this Christmas.
We at Green Oak Building Company, wishing you a beautiful holiday season and a new year of peace and happiness.