York Christmas Trees has taken part in new research which shows real Christmas trees provide a brilliant habitat for wildlife – including endangered birds.
Experts identified 40 different types of birds when surveying plantations in different parts of the country, including the York Christmas Trees fields in Wigginton.
Significantly, 13 were endangered red or amber listed species. Red or amber listings categorises their need of help: red being urgent and amber of moderate concern.
At the York plantation alone, they found 22 varieties of birds and a host of insects plus three roe deer.
Oliver Combe, owner of York Christmas Trees, said: “We are absolutely delighted that the study identified 22 different types of birds at our Wigginton sites as it confirms that the Christmas trees fields are home to a wide variety of insects that attract the bird life.
“As well as the official list of birds found in Wigginton, we have spotted a canada goose, kestrel, tawny owl, green woodpecker, lesser spotted woodpecker, fieldfare and mistle thrush while working on the growing sites.
“The aim of the survey was to show the trees provide a good environment for wildlife and going forward we intend to conduct a survey of the insect life and the soil fauna to show how diverse the environment is around growing Christmas trees.
“We use a ‘circle of life’ approach with the trees we grow being recycled after Christmas, chipped and then put back into the fields to provide a habitat for insects and to help with the growth of the trees which take ten years to reach an average height of 6 foot.
“Every year we plant around 20,000 new trees which continually replenishes the Christmas tree fields.”
Funded by the British Christmas Tree Growers Association (BCTGA) and carried out over five months, the research was led by Colin Palmer who surveyed wildlife in 19 plantations from Devon to Yorkshire, with assistance from experts at Harper Adams University and Newcastle University.
The study is believed to be the first focusing on UK Christmas trees and found mammals including bats, mice, red squirrels, deer, foxes and badgers present in grower’s plantations.
More than eight million real Christmas trees were sold last year. A survey found that the main reasons people went for a real Christmas tree was the smell and tradition.