Putting up a real Christmas tree is a cherished tradition, yet many people today wonder if it really is the “greener” choice.

The argument goes like this: You save a tree’s life if you use a fake one.

But the Ontario Forestry Association claims that natural trees are the best eco-friendly choice because they are biodegradable. After you toss them out, they are mulched and used in municipal parks in the spring.

“You have to get beyond the emotional response” that this is killing a tree, according to Carla Grant, the association’s executive director.

“People aren’t just going out and cutting massive amounts of trees from forests,” Grant says.

“It’s really an agricultural crop. Other trees are planted in their place. Making that parallel to farming and agriculture is important.”

Grant also said these tree farms provide continuous habitat for wildlife and retain soil and water, preventing seasonal runoff.

John Bennett, executive director of leading environmental group Sierra Club Canada, simply calls the debate “a saw-off.”

“Changing your choice of Christmas tree is probably not going to make a huge difference now or in the future,” Bennett said.

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