Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico - For Christmas 2017 there are 900,000 trees in Mexico's commercial plantations, representing an approximate income of $360 million pesos that activates the economy in rural areas with the generation of employment with qualified labor. In Mérida, just in one chain of stores alone, customers demand 5,000 natural trees during this season.
Based on data from the National Forestry Commission (Conafor), 848 Christmas tree producers are registered, of which 295 already have pines between 5 and 8 years-old, which means that they are ready to harvest.
Mexico has 11,335 hectares of commercial Christmas tree plantations in which species such as Mexican white pine (Pinus ayacahuite), Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), Gregg's pine (Pinus greggii), pinyon pine (Pinuscembroides), sacred fir (Abies religiosa), white spruce (Picea glauca) and Mexican white cedar (Cupressus lindleyii) are grown.
The State of Mexico is the main producer of Christmas trees, with 500,000 trees in 4,715 hectares, followed by Mexico City with 178 thousand trees distributed in 131 hectares and Puebla, in third place, with 94,600 trees in an area of 4.6 hectares.
Other tree-producing states are Guanajuato, Michoacán, Veracruz, Tlaxcala, Coahuila, Hidalgo, Queretaro, Tamaulipas, Jalisco, Oaxaca, Zacatecas, Nuevo Leon, Chihuahua, Aguascalientes & Morelos.
With the national production, the clandestine extraction of small trees is discouraged and deforested lands are recovered. In addition, when the season ends they are recycled to produce organic fertilizer or substrate to produce more trees.
The retail price of each tree ranges between $350 ($19 dollars) and $600 pesos ($32 dollars), which makes Mexican Christmas trees a competitive product compared to those imported from the United States, whose cost is between $500 ($27 dollars) and $1,100 pesos ($60 dollars).
From 2013 to date, Conafor has invested $7.8 million pesos for the establishment of new Christmas tree plantations, representing 781 hectares with a density of 2,200 to 4,000 trees per hectare.This article, originally published by La Verdad Noticias, was translated and edited by The Yucatan Times.