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Your Christmas Tree Helps Fight Climate Change

The key for trapping carbon lies in the soil, rather than the trees.

Don’t feel bad about buying a real Christmas tree, authors of a new study say. The researchers surveyed 27 North Carolina Christmas tree farms and found that the farms are mitigating climate change. But the key for trapping carbon lies in the soil, rather than the trees.

Tree plots act like natural sponges for soaking up atmospheric carbon, Mother Jones writes. The soil absorbs around 10 times as much carbon as the wood itself. Providing groundcover between rows of trees and cutting down on herbicides can double the concentration of carbon in the soil. Carbon sequestration could be a profitable option for farmers wanting to sell offsets to polluters who want to make up for their emissions elsewhere.

Christmas tree farming began only a few decades ago in lieu of harvesting naturally-growing trees. Today, however, the industry faces threats from plastic imports, many of which originate in China.

More from Smithsonian.com:

How to Keep Needles on Your Christmas Tree  
Dreaming of a Green Christmas 

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