50 Million Tree Program Reduces Tree Planting Costs for Landowners in the Niagara Watershed
Forests Ontario has planted almost 600,000 trees in the Niagara region
A Call-Out to Tree Lovers in Niagara from Forests Ontario, a not-for-profit charity organization in the province, dedicated to planting trees
Posted February 7th, 2020 on Niagara At Large
A Brief Foreword from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper –
Early this past year, Ontario’s Ford Government confirmed once again that when it comes to protecting and preserving our natural environment, it could care less.
In April 2019, much to the chagrin of many tree lovers across Ontario, and Conservation Authorities, including the Niagara Pensinula Conservation Authority, that work with landowners and community volunteers to plant trees for the future, the Ford government decided to completely cut more than $4 million in annual funding to the charity group, Forests Ontario, 50 Million Tree Program, effectively killing it.
Fortunately, Canada’s Trudeau Government decided in June 2019, to step in and cover the cost of the program – a move that will hopefully keep it going, in an era of climate crisis when we need trees more than ever before, for many years to come.
Now here is a February 7th, 2020 news release from Forests, Ontario, encouraging landowners and others in the Niagara Watershed to step forward and help with the continuation of planting trees for present and future generations. –
A News Release from Forests Ontario, February 7th, 2020 –
Property owners in the Niagara watershed plan to plant more than 45,000 trees in 2020 under Forests Ontario 50 Million Tree Program (50 MTP), according to new data.
Forests Ontario recently modified the program’s criteria. In the past, landowners needed to commit to planting on 2.5 acres of land to participate in the 50 MTP, but now anyone with room to plant a minimum of 500 trees may apply. Though planting sites vary, 500 trees can usually be planted on less than one acre.
“The 50 MTP is better and more accessible than ever,” said Rob Keen, Registered Professional Forester and CEO of Forests Ontario. “The new, expanded criteria opens the program to more land and property owners, meaning more trees in the ground. It’s a win-win for landowners, who save on tree planting costs, and for the environment.”
The 50 MTP is a large-scale tree planting program for property owners with the goal of increasing forest cover in Ontario. In 2019, the Government of Canada committed up to $15 million over four years to support the program. Funding also comes from corporate sponsors and donors.
Increasing forest cover helps to promote healthy, natural landscapes; trees play an important role in reducing the risk of severe flooding by soaking up water with their roots, leaves, branches and trunks. A 2012 report from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority found that just 18 per cent of the watershed’s area remains forested.
Forests Ontario, non-profit charity, has facilitated the planting of more than 29 million trees through the 50 MTP since 2008. This total includes nearly 600,000 trees planted in the Niagara region.
The 50 MTP has allowed more than 5,000 landowners to plant trees, yielding more than 16,500 hectares of new forest and sequestering more than 22,000 tonnes of carbon annually. The 50 MTP also supports approximately 300 full-time, seasonal jobs.
Forests Ontario is currently taking applications for the 50 MTP. Those wishing to apply for the program can visit www.forestsontario.ca.
About Forests Ontario – Forests Ontario is dedicated to making Ontario’s forests greener. Our ambitious tree planting initiatives, extensive education programs and decades of community outreach have resulted in millions of trees being planted each year.
Through our extensive partnerships and our diverse planting programs, we are working each day to increase forest cover, restore forests impacted by natural occurrences and improve forest conditions in Ontario and across Canada. But we’re always looking for more partners, landowners and donors to get involved.
In schools across the province, Forests Ontario’s forestry education programs are connecting students with their environment and potential futures in forestry. These leaders will help us grow smarter, healthier and greener forests, and sustainably manage Ontario’s most important natural resource for decades to come.
As a non-profit registered charity, Forests Ontario is always looking for volunteers, sponsors, and donors who will help keep our forests green—and help keep our programs running. You can donate today in minutes, help organize a local event, make forests part of your social corporate responsibility plans, or sign-up for one of our workshops or community days to learn more.
When you support us, you support the future of Ontario’s forests.
To read a CBC story, posted in April of 2019, about the Ontario Ford government’s decision to kill all of its funding to the 50 Million Tree Program, click on – https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ontario-tree-planting-program-cut-1.5110282
To read a story about Canada’s federal government’s decision to step in and save the 50 Million Tree Program, click on – https://www.nationalobserver.com/2019/06/05/news/trudeau-government-saves-forest-planting-program-axed-doug-ford
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