Learning Module

50 Trees, 50 Years

In 1970, the U.S Capitol Architect asked the U.S. Forest Service to provide a Christmas tree for the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Since then a different National Forest has been chosen each year to provide "The Peoples Tree." This National Forest also works with state forests to provide smaller companion Christmas trees for offices in Washington, D.C. In its 50th year of the tradition the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests in Colorado will provide the 2020 tree. 

The Capitol Christmas Tree is an example of a forest product. There are thousands of different forest products. Harvesting our National Forests in a sustainable way helps ensure we can have forest products now and for future generations.

While young trees are growing, they also provide many benefits. 

  • Watch a video about the ecosystem services provided by trees. 
  • Participate in a Project Learning Tree activity to learn some of the multiple benefits trees provide while growing.

Sustainable forest management is important. Harvesting trees, such as Christmas trees, is part of sustainable management. Thinning a forest and prescribed burns are also a part of keeping a forest healthy and sustainable management.

You can help us with sustainable forest management in some places, by getting a permit to help thin the forest by harvesting your own Christmas tree.