Ontario Needs at Least One Billion More Trees to Restore Natural Cover and Protect Watersheds
Re-Greening of Southern Ontario
In a year end summary of tree planting results, Trees Ontario, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the “re-greening” of southern Ontario, reported that the province is falling far short of the number of trees needed to help protect the environment.
“Even though more than 3 million trees were planted in the watersheds of southern Ontario in 2009, we are not doing nearly enough tree planting,” states Michael Scott, Trees Ontario's President and CEO. “In the 1980's, we helped protect our ecosystem by planting between 20 to 30 million trees each year across our rural landscape.”
“Experts tell us that to help restore the natural cover that protects the watersheds and creates woodlots and forested areas, we need at least 30% forest cover. Unfortunately current estimates indicate some areas in southern Ontario have as little as five per cent forest cover.”
“Southern Ontario has lost 99 per cent of its older growth forest, more than 94 per cent of its upland forests, and 70 per cent of its wetlands. Wildlife has paid a heavy price. There are now more species at risk in areas of southern Ontario than anywhere else in Canada.”
“To bring Ontario's forests back to minimum levels, at least a billion more trees should be planted across southern Ontario.”
“In the last few years, the Ontario government has begun to address this as part of its climate change policy. It has made a major commitment to plant 50 million trees by 2020, as its contribution to the United Nations' Billion Tree Campaign.”
“But we have long since passed the point where we can all sit back and expect our governments to solve these problems,” concludes Michael Scott. “We cannot address this problem without public and corporate support and involvement.”
About Trees Ontario
Trees Ontario, working with its partners, is the largest, not-for-profit tree planting partnership in North America. It is committed to the re-greening of Ontario through a range of tree planting activities.
The goal of Trees Ontario is to restore the province's tree planting capacity, especially throughout southern Ontario on private lands, by providing funding and planning support for its tree planting partners. These include local Conservation Authorities, Ontario Stewardship Councils, municipal governments and community volunteer groups.
In 2009, with its partners, Trees Ontario planted close to 3 million trees. Its goal is to support the planting of 10 million trees per year by 2015.
Posted January 2010