This year is no exception, with the 2019 competition having started in July when the jury nominated 14 trees, one to represent each region with an extra for La Réunion, out of 100 entries.
Voters will have until December 2 to vote for their favourite tree on the competition’s website where each tree is listed with photographs as well as descriptions of its growth and physical characteristics.
As well as the way the tree looks, the jury will take into account the cultural, social and historical importance of each tree before crowning a winner.
The most popular tree currently is the beech tree entered for Occitanie, with 2654 votes. The tree is around 450 years old and started growing in the second half of the 16th century under the reign of either Henry III or Charles IX. The circumference of the trunk is 5.8 metres and its height reaches 20 metres tall.
The second most popular is the tree for La Réunion, a shrub tree native to South America known as a Prosopis Juliflora, with 2054 votes. The tree is exceptionally tall for its species, standing at 15 metres, and it started growing just over 100 years ago in 1918.
Whichever tree gets the most votes will win the People’s Choice Award 2019 and the honorary title of Arbre de l’Année 2019.
The competition’s organiser, Pauline Cecotti, said: “The competition has been very popular since it began, for example this year we have had 100 trees nominated for the award.
“The popularity makes sense as the rivalry between the regions in France brings people together. The jury must pick a tree for each region which causes the whole community to swing into action to try to get the most votes. Many of the applicants organise a localised voting campaign for their tree and the competition is strong. The idea to hold the competition each year came from a discussion about how to raise awareness about trees between ONF and the editors of Terre Sauvage.”
Organisers were inspired by the Czech Republic, where the search for the country’s best tree has been held annually since 2002.
This year the jury is made up of workers from the nature magazine Terre Sauvage and the organisations Office National des Forêts (ONF), A.R.B.R.E.S (Arbres Remarquables: Bilan, Recherche, Études et Sauvegarde), LPO (Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux) and AEV (Agence des Espaces Verts).
More information and how to vote for your favourite tree can be found here: https://www.arbredelannee.com/
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