Real or fake?
More Americans are celebrating Christmas with fake trees, believing
that to be the more environmentally friendly alternative. But tree
growers disagree. They cite the ecological benefits of real
trees--before and after the presents are opened. While they grow,
advocates say, real trees stabilize the soil and provide a home for
wildlife. After Christmas, more and more programs are sprouting up to
use discarded trees for mulch, underwater fences along barge canals
(Louisiana), guides for snowmobilers in winter over frozen lakes and
underwater feeding areas for fish after the ice melts (Michigan), and
new dunes to protect beaches from erosion (Texas). In 2002, 22.3 million
people bought real Christmas trees, and 93 percent of those surveyed
recycled them, according to the National Christmas Tree Association.