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Real Christmas trees a valuable resource to the state of Minnesota

The state of Minnesota's Christmas tree industry helps pump not only funds into the local economy, but also helps with the state's environment as well.

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Buying a real Christmas tree is not only a sustainable purchase, it also helps the local economy. Courtesy / University of Minnesota

As the holiday season comes to close, it is time yet again to take down the once illuminated Christmas tree. While the dense green branches offer comfort and childhood nostalgia for some, in the state of Minnesota the beloved family Christmas trees offer something else: a boost in the local economy.

The state of Minnesota houses an array of trees in its forests. According to Matt Russell, diverse forests thrive in the state, housing 17 million acres of forest land in its entirety. Russell is an associate professor and Extension specialist within the Department of Forest Resources. He is also the director of graduate studies for natural resources science and management at the University of Minnesota.

Forestry is the fifth largest sector in the state of Minnesota, and offers a wide range of jobs for Minnesotans. Those job opportunities grow as the industry heads into the holiday season due to the influx of Christmas tree sales.

“The Minnesota Christmas tree industry is very strong. It’s a $30 million a year industry,” Russell said. “About half a million Christmas trees are harvested each year in the state, which provides an incredible amount of jobs and funds that go into the economy.”

While the boost to the Minnesota economy is an excellent reason to buy locally grown Christmas trees, the trees also make a positive impact on the state’s environment.

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“Choosing a real Christmas tree has a lot of benefits,” Russell said. “The good thing about using a real tree is that, during its lifetime, it has sequestered carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere through photosynthesis.”

It takes about eight years of growing before a Christmas tree can be cut down for the season. During those eight years, the Christmas tree sequestered about 1 ton of carbon dioxide from the air. Once the holidays have reached an end and it is time to dispose of the Christmas tree, it can be recycled and given back to the Earth. According to the University of Minnesota , 93% of the Christmas trees purchased during the holiday season return back as a renewable and natural resource.

“Purchasing a real Christmas tree is just overall a very sustainable purchase throughout the holidays,” Russell said.

If purchasing a locally grown Christmas tree is an interest for next year, please visit the Minnesota Grown directory to help locate a Minnesota Christmas tree farm near you.

Related Topics: AGRICULTUREMINNESOTATREES
Emily grew up on a small grains and goat farm in southern Ohio. After graduating from The Ohio State University, she moved to Fargo, North Dakota to pursue a career in ag journalism with Agweek. She enjoys reporting on livestock and local agricultural businesses.
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