Millions of trees are bought for Christmas celebrations in Canada and there are several ways to dispose of them after the holiday is over. (iStock)

Christmas tree disposal concerns conservationists


Canada produces about 5.5 million Christmas trees each year and the Nature Conservancy of Canada is concerned about how they are disposed of. After the trees are purchased, brought into homes and decorated for the Christmas season, they are eventually thrown out.

Trees, alive and dead, provide important shelter for overwintering birds. (iStock)

Discarded trees can provide warmth

The conservation group says sending them to the dump is not the best solution because the trees simply rot and emit methane gas which contributes to climate change. Instead, it suggests people put them in their backyards, even it it’s only for a few months.

“The reason why is that it can help overwintering birds,” says Andrew Holland, spokesman for the Nature Conservancy of Canada. “We have diminishing bird populations here in Canada. Their struggling in many ways in terms of the numbers.

“A lot of birds try to stay here in Canada and try to hack our tough winter climate… (A Christmas tree in the backyard) can provide some warm habitat for birds.”

Holland says the trees can also be a source of warmth for squirrels. By April, the branches may be removed and left on the ground and holes can be drilled into the trunk to enhance decomposition which, in turn, fertilizes the soil.

Many disposal plans exist

Not everyone has a backyard or one big enough to accomodate a tree. And many people may simply not like the idea of looking at a dead tree there.

Several municipalities across Canada have alternative disposal plans. They may collect trees, chip them and compost them or use them for such things at trail bedding.

Holland says that in his eastern province of New Brunswick trees are dumped on shores to prevent coastal erosion. And some pulp and paper companies collect and burn them for a fuel alternative to oil.

Almost 2,000 Christmas tree farms in Canada provide jobs and economic benefits to rural communities. (iStock)

Growing, cutting trees is okay for conservationist

The Nature Conservancy of Canada does not oppose the cutting of trees for Christmas. Holland says it is a tradition that is very important as is the business. Canada has about 19-hundred Christmas tree farms that provide employment particularly in rural regions in the provinces of Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. And before the trees are harvested, they also capture carbon, emit oxygen and provide habitat for birds. So, the main concern of the Nature Conservancy of Canada is not the harvesting of Christmas trees, but the way in which we dispose of them.

(photo: Nature Conservancy of Canada)

Andrew Holland outlines ways to dispose of Christmas trees that are good for the environment.

Categories: Environment, Society
Tags: , , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1.’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3.’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.