More people are cutting down Christmas trees this year

Posted at 10:46 AM, Dec 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-20 12:54:53-05

BUTTE — Fifteen million Christmas trees are cut down in the U.S. every year. Compared to last year, Christmas trees permit numbers went up.

According to the United States Forest Service Region one, 29,000 Christmas tree permits were sold, up 20,000 from last year, but what does that mean for the forest’s natural environment?

"I know that sounds like a lot and it can be detrimental to the environment but as long as your targeting trees that don’t have a good chance of growing up to be a mature tree, you’re probably fine," said Trevor Peterson, arborist for Butte-Silver Bow Parks and Recreation.

Peterson advised targeting trees that grow in clusters.

When trees grow in clusters, it’s called overcrowding. Competition for sunlight and nutrients from the soil causes some trees to struggle and crowds the forest floor.

"If you’re thinning them out, it actually could help the forest greatly," Peterson said.

Peterson thinks that the rise in permits is because of the difficulties created by COVID.

"People are just getting way more into the holidays just, you know, it’s been a crazy year for everybody," Peterson said.

Of course, once the holidays are over, Butte Parks and Recreations will have four different places set up for people to drop off trees to be composted starting December 23 — the Civic center, the High Altitude skate park, Samson and Utah or Platinum and Excelsior street.