Our Views: A good use for the tree

With the dramatic impact of Hurricane Isaac still an issue for Plaquemines Parish, parish President Billy Nungesser made the right call to continue the tradition of collecting Christmas trees for use in coastal preservation projects.

The live trees, shorn of ornaments and stands, are being collected to be used in large fences that can help trap sediments and encourage revegetation of the Louisiana coast.

Christmas tree recycling is important if only, in inland areas, to keep the piles of discarded trees from landfills. Baton Rouge’s city-parish government said about 20,000 trees are annually recycled, at about 10 pounds per tree, or 200,000 pounds of material that can be used as mulch or composted.

However, the incentives for people on the storm-threatened coast to contribute living trees to the restoration efforts is symbolic of Louisiana’s critical need for coastal protection.

It’s not the solution, of course, as billions of dollars in major public works projects will be necessary to stabilize our coast. But the contributions of Christmas trees will help a bit, even if this annual and labor-intensive effort requires a lot of work from local governments.

This year, officials said, Jefferson and St. Bernard parishes will contribute trees to Plaquemines Parish for a restoration project in Lake Hermitage.

We applaud these efforts and encourage those with live trees to check with local authorities about recycling them this January.