For many families, the Christmas tree is a much-loved symbol of the holidays. But for the state of Oregon, the Yuletide greenery represents $114 million in agriculture revenue. More than eight million Christmas trees are harvested here every year. According to the Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association, 52 percent of those are Douglas firs (Pseudotsuga menziesii), 36 percent are noble firs (Abies procera), and a mere 5 percent are grand firs (Abies grandis). A handful of fir species from around the globe, including Fraser, Nordmann, Shasta, silver, balsam, and Turkish, as well as Colorado blue spruce and Norway spruce, make up the remainder.
Most Oregon trees head out of state, nearly half to California, and the overwhelming majority don’t take their roots with them. So, with all this tree-cutting going on around us, how should Oregonians feel about their own Christmas trees? What are the wisest choices, environmentally and aesthetically?