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. Danish Christmas Tree Shortage Threatens Prices Across Europe

Denmark produces between eight and nine million Normann Firs annually, 90 percent of which are exported within Europe, primarily to Germany, Britain, France and Austria.
by Staff Writers
Copenhagen (AFP) Nov 6, 2006
A shortage of Christmas trees in Denmark, Europe's top exporter, twined with strong demand, threatened 10 to 15 percent jumps in fir prices across the continent, Danish producers said on Monday. "There are not enough Christmas trees to satisfy growing demand in Denmark and the rest of Europe, which explains the expected rise and comes on top of a similar rise last year," president of the Danish Christmas tree growers' association Kaj Oestergaard told AFP.

Other major producers such as Germany, France and Austria have reported the same trend, according to Oerstergaard.

The shortage was caused by "overproduction during the late 90s in Europe and the losses that followed, especially for Danish producers who until 2004 drastically reduced planting," Oestergaard said.

Danish exports only became profitable again in 2005, which encouraged producers to increase planting. But it takes between seven and 10 years for a tree to be ready for sale.

Denmark produces between eight and nine million Normann Firs annually, 90 percent of which are exported within Europe, primarily to Germany, Britain, France and Austria.

Sales in 2005 stood at around 1.2 billion kroner (204 million dollars, 160 million euros), with exports accounting for 1.1 billion of this amount.

The average cost of a two-metre Normann Fir, considered the "Rolls Royce of Christmas trees", would be between 250 and 300 kroner this season, compared to 200 to 250 kroner last year, Oestergaard said.

earlier related report
Pope Backs Research Into Alternative Energy
Vatican City (AFP) Nov 6 - Pope Benedict XVI said Monday that the Roman Catholic Church supports research into alternative, environmentally friendly sources of energy. Addressing the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the pontiff spoke of threats to the environment and "the urgent need to discover safe, alternative energy sources available to all."

He said: "Scientists will find support from the Church in their efforts to confront these issues."

Benedict also stressed scientists' "ethical responsibilities ... in shaping public opinion."

He urged scientists to avoid both "needlessly alarming predictions when these are not supported by sufficient data" and "silence born of fear."

"Christianity does not posit an inevitable conflict between supernatural faith and scientific progress," the pope said.

However, he added: "Man cannot place in science and technology so radical and unconditional a trust as to believe that scientific and technological progress can explain everything and completely fulfill all his existential and spiritual needs."

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences has 80 members, including about 30 who have been awarded Nobel prizes.

It meets every two years, and this session's theme is "Predictability in Science: Accuracy and Limitations."

Source: Agence France-Presse

Related Links
Save the Forests at Wood Pile

Ancestor of Modern Trees Preserves Record Of Ancient Climate Change
Blacksburg VA (SPX) Nov 06, 2006
About 350 million years ago, at the boundary of the Devonian and Carboniferous ages, the climate changed. There was no one around to record it, but there are records nonetheless in the rocks deposited by glaciers and in tissues preserved in fossils of ancient life.

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