Demand for real Christmas trees has been declining steadily since the start of the crisis in Greece, and this year the Environment Ministry has approved the felling of around 17,000 fewer firs than last year, figures show.
Last year, 124,976 fir trees were cut down in the country, and in 2014 the number was 153,728. This shows a marked reduction from before the crisis, when the number of Christmas trees harvested came to above 200,000 a year on average.
The majority of the Christmas trees sold (85,935) last year came from cultivated forests around the country and the remainder from private farms.
Most of the country’s fir farms are located in Halkidiki, northern Greece: This year, 33,000 trees will be cut down in Polygyros (against 37,100 in 2015) and 15,107 from Arnaia (20,000 last year).
Another 11,150 will come from plantations in Spercheiada in Fthiotida, 7,215 from Arta, 5,750 from Trikala and the remainder from Sparta, Nevrokopi and Metsovo.
The ministry advises consumers buying real Christmas trees to check that they bear the special metal ring showing that they come from a licensed farm and are not the product of illegal logging.
This lead ring is placed between the second and fourth branch from the top and is sealed with the stamp of the forestry service.
It has also recommended that local and regional authorities across the country step up inspections in the runup to the holidays in order to crack down on illegal logging, which tends to skyrocket around this time of year.