In this era of growing concerns about global warming, the tradition of chopping down millions of trees each year only to discard them a few weeks later, might strike some people as bizarre.
But does it actually harm the environment? By the time the tree is discarded, have we added to or removed carbon emissions?
There are many subjective media articles on the subject, but I'm looking for something more concrete based on confirmed numbers. Ideally I would like to calculate a carbon footprint (+ / -) per christmas tree, based on averages.
Possible factors which increase carbon emissions:
- A felled tree no longer takes part in photosynthesis.
- Carbon emitted during the manufacture and transport of agricultural equipment and consumables (e.g. pesticides and fertilizers).
- Carbon emitted during transport of the tree to the customer.
- Methods of discarding used trees such as burning.
Possible factors which decrease or are neutral for carbon emissions:
- Trees are constantly replanted, and those trees might not exist otherwise.
- Recyling used trees (e.g. composting).