The popularity of using real trees for Christmas is growing, according to State Forests, the Polish government agency which oversees national forestry.
Most Christmas trees (around 6 million) are grown on private tree farms, whereas only 100,000 or so come from state forests. The organization reports that trees are so accessible that theft from state parks (which carries a fine of 500 PLN per tree) numbers in the dozens annually, mostly of older, more beautiful specimens.
State Forests recommends using natural trees over artificial, as the latter are usually shipped from East Asia and composed of plastic which can take hundreds of years to decompose.
On the other hand, natural trees are often sourced from within Poland using native species such as spruce. When the season is over, the agency recommends that, instead of throwing old trees in the trash, consumers use the chopped wood for compost or fuel – or plant the tree outside if it came in a pot.