What type of Christmas tree is the most environmentally friendly is a topic of ongoing discussion. Is buying a fresh live tree from a tree farm preferable to buying a plastic-made fake tree that can be used year after year?
A long-running U.S. Forest Service (USFS) program, however, provides a third option: you can harvest your own tree from public lands and contribute to the maintenance of healthy and fire-resistant national forests.
According to Laura Leidner, a representative for the Mendocino National Forest, it is helpful to have individuals come through and harvest some of the smaller trees that are crammed in, incredibly dense, and congested, as The Guardian reported. It gives the larger trees more room, food, and water to grow further.
Harvesting Christmas trees benefits both the USFS and the environment.
According to the program website, Christmas tree permits are a special chance for individuals to assist clear heavily populated stands of small-diameter trees that are the ideal size for a Christmas tree.
According to forest managers, there are two benefits to thinning populations of smaller trees.
- It decreases competition for forest resources.
- It reduces wildfires-facts.html”>wildfire risk because, when smaller trees catch on fire, the flames can better reach the canopy of taller trees.
Visit Recreation.gov and enter the state or forest where you wish to find your tree to get a permit. The majority of Christmas tree permits are given out in November, according to USFS, though each forest will have somewhat varied regulations and harvesting windows. The Guardian states that permits might cost anything between $5 and $25. The Stanislaus National Forest in California, on the other hand, provided permits this year that was free of charge except for the $2.50 internet processing charge.
According to My Mother Lode, Stanislaus National Forest Supervisor Jason Kuiken said of the program: “There’s a particular magic in families gathering together to travel into the forest to find that specific tree.” We are happy to make this available to our neighborhood and anticipate that many families will start new traditions as a result.
Read More: Another sign things are getting weird: Lightning around the North Pole increased dramatically in 2021
According to the USFS, you can also get a permit by contacting your nearby forest district office if you’re not a fan of the internet.
There are a few general rules to follow once you have your permit and are prepared to chop your tree. You should first make a strategy and be aware of the weather in the forest of your choice. Bring emergency supplies, dress warmly, and let someone know where you’re going.
Second, while choosing a tree, pick one that is at least 200 feet away from any roads, camping grounds, or other recreational areas and has a trunk that is no larger than six inches in diameter. Additionally, you should avoid taking a tree that is near water and go for one in a stand that is tightly clustered. Never cut down a tall tree only to use the top; instead, never make a cut that is more than six inches above the ground. Only one tree may be felled per permit, and it must be transported to your car using a rope and tarp.
There can be additional rules particular to the forest of your choice. Officials are always attempting to prevent the harvesting of too many trees. For instance, if a wildfire does occur, the smaller trees that could have been dangerous now require protection. According to Leidner, cutting down smaller trees in this situation means cutting down future forests.
Read More: A ghost village emerges from the cracked earth as drought empties Spanish reservoir
Make sure your tree is recycled or composted after the Christmas season and not burned. According to The Guardian, between 200,000 and 300,000 Christmas trees are taken annually from national forests. The service expects that the program would strengthen people’s connections to public lands in addition to contributing to forest health.
According to USFS employee Janelle Smith, who worked on the permission website, you go out there and have this fantastic experience that makes you fall in love with those locations. Then hopefully you want to look after them and pass that on to your children and their children.