Pick your own Christmas tree in Mexico City
Mexico City is the second biggest producer of Christmas trees – Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL

Pick your own Christmas tree in Mexico City

04/12/2019
18:17
Isela Hinojoza
Mexico City
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In Mexico, there are 12 states with legal commercial forest plantations with a total of 2,500 hectares

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At the Ajusco Forest in the part that corresponds to the Magdalena Contreras borough, Aarón walks among his beloved trees, he shakes the branches with care and continues his way.

Christmas season has begun and he wants the trees to look as good as possible so that the visitors of the San Nicolás Totolapan Common Land Park, declared Community Ecological Reserve in 2006, take the best ones with them to decorate their homes.

Aarón Trujillo Camacho and his brothers are registered tree producers since 2004 and say that, despite the years of waiting and the effort, they feel proud their plantations are an important part of the conservation of forests in Mexico City.

“When we were little, my grandfather brought us to these plots to plant oat, corn, and beans, but it stopped being profitable. Years later we had the idea of planting Christmas trees, which we found interesting because it means to conserve the forest,” he says to EL UNIVERSAL while he sets to fall one.

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Thanks to the work of common landowners, currently, Mexico City has 131 hectares of Christmas trees in Tlalpan, Milpa Alta, and Magdalena Contreras, which translates into 149,800 specimens for this season, according to data of the National Forest Commission (Conafor).

These numbers put Mexico City as the second place with higher production at a national level after the State of Mexico, with 321,000 specimens; Veracruz is third with 29,575.

In the country, there are 12 states with legal commercial forest plantations that, together, accumulate 2,500 hectares.

Although the production increases each year, it cannot be compared with the great number of trees that are imported, explains Pedro Esteban Díaz, Conafor’s legal substitute in Mexico City.

“Most trees sold in our country are imported. It is calculated that every year, almost 1.5 million trees enter Mexico; they come in with plagues, reason why Conafor is working to endorse local plantations to cover the national demand,” he explains.

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Numbers prove him right, for the last report of Mexico’s environmental prosecutor (Profepa) indicates that from November 4 to 22, in the execution of the Verification and Inspection Program to the Imports of Christmas Trees, 4,228 specimens with plagues were returned.

Environmental benefits
Esteban Díaz says that the plantations of these trees in Mexico City are considered of great forest value due to the benefits, both environmental and social, they provide, for they were developed in degraded areas or that had agricultural activities, without leaving aside the generation of works.

Aarón Trujillo adds that in San Nicolás Totolapan Park, five families keep this kind of plantations and, in his case, he gives work to 12 persons during the year, who are in charge of watering, pruning, and restoring the trees.

“We began the trials with the first plantations in 2000. People said ‘ How are you going to wait seven years to crop them?, but we decided to do it and in 2004, we began the registry with Semarnat,” he says.

They produce White or Viking pine (pinus ayacahuite) and Oyamel (abies religiosa), which must be in the soil for seven years, then they are given a conic shape and can be chopped down.

These plantations provide several benefits since they contribute to capturing CO2, to filter water to the aquifer system, and are home to different species.

This eco-touristic park has over 2,400 hectares; it is the second biggest in Mexico City and is the first place on ecologic relevance by having the last living river in the capital of the country and being home to different species of flora and fauna, like whitetail deer, owls, reptiles, and birds

By taking home a natural Christmas tree, you contribute to the conservation of ecosystems against climate change, according to Conafor.

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