“Planting two billion trees is more than a plan for climate action. It’s a plan for creating thousands of good, green jobs. We’re confronting the urgency of climate change and getting trees in the ground starting this spring.” – Seamus O’Regan, Federal Minister of Natural Resources
“The federal government’s commitment to fighting climate change, protecting forests, and creating good jobs – particularly through planting two billion trees across Canada by 2030 – is good news.” – Rob Keen, CEO of Forests Ontario/Forest Recovery Canada
News from Natural Resources Canada, followed by a response from Forests Ontario and Forest Recovery Canada
Posted December 14th, 2020 on Niagara At Large
OTTAWA, Ontario – This December 14th, the Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, launched the Government of Canada’s plan to plant two billion trees over 10 years, with an investment of $3.16 billion. Meeting this commitment will help Canada address climate change by reducing carbon pollution and is a key part of Canada’s efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
There is no path to net-zero emissions that does not involve our forests. Planting trees is a natural climate solution that reduces emissions while providing other benefits such as improved air and water quality, particularly in urban settings; decreased risk of wildland fire to rural communities and support for biodiversity. It also provides spaces for recreational opportunities that improve quality of life and form part of our Canadian identity.
Canada’s plan to plant two billion trees over the next ten years is projected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 12 megatonnes by 2050. It will create up to 4,300 good jobs.
While planting a tree may sound simple, ensuring that it can be done on a large scale and in a sustainable, inclusive manner requires careful planning. The tree planting process takes several years, and begins with ordering the seeds of the desired tree species.
From there, we must expand nursery capacity; grow seedlings until they’re big enough to plant in the ground; identify and prepare available land in both cities and rural settings for adequate access and soil conditions; and monitor the health and survival of the planted seedlings.
The Government’s plan will get trees in the ground starting this spring in urban areas across Canada. The Government has also already begun building long-term partnerships so that Canada has the infrastructure, especially nurseries, to carry out the full tree-planting plan.
That includes strengthening our relationships with –
- Indigenous organizations and communities;
- Other governments, including provincial, territorial, and municipal, and Indigenous governments;
- Industry, including forest management and silviculture companies, forest sector associations, and nurseries/seed orchards;
- Farmers and agricultural stakeholders;
- Program delivery agents, organizations with established tree planting programs, such as conservation authorities and not-for-profit organizations;
- Corporate and philanthropic organizations with an interest in supporting large-scale tree planting and greening initiatives; and
- Others, such as woodlot owner associations, private land and woodlot owners, community associations, universities and colleges, private firms, and other non-governmental organizations.
The Government’s plan also includes work to ensure we are able to monitor the trees planted for survival and report on the carbon they sequester.
Investing in nature is among the most affordable climate actions governments can take. Canada is fortunate to have a vast range of healthy and resilient ecosystems, including forests and urban parks, which support the well-being of Canadians. These ecosystems help absorb and store enormous amounts of carbon, which can mitigate the impacts of climate change and keep our air clean.
Natural Resources Canada is implementing this plan with support from Environment and Climate Change Canada and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. This approach, which represents a 40 percent annual increase in the number of trees planted in Canada, will include both urban and rural areas across the country. In 10 years, the additional two billion trees will cover over 1.1 million hectares, an area twice the size of Prince Edward Island.
This is part of a broader Government of Canada approach to embrace the power of nature, recently announced as part of Canada’s strengthened climate plan, A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy. The Government will also establish an advisory committee of experts on nature-based climate solutions, who will provide advice on program delivery considerations to maximize emission reductions and deliver on key biodiversity and human well-being co-benefits to improve the quality of life for Canadians.
While the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic created challenges in launching the tree planting program, it also reminded Canadians of the importance of our green spaces, creating renewed enthusiasm amongst Canadians and potential partners to help undertake this worthwhile initiative. The Government of Canada has a number of existing tree-planting programs currently operating, including:
- working with communities to plant hundreds of thousands of trees through the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund;
- partnering with provinces and territories to plant 150 million new seedlings by 2022 under the Low Carbon Economy Fund;
- providing $30 million to provinces to help small and medium-sized enterprises operating in the forest sector defray costs associated with COVID-19 health and safety measures to ensure the 2020 tree planting season was able to move forward successfully, resulting in 600 million trees planted;
- and supporting the Highway of Heroes tree campaign, which has planted more than 750,000 of a planned two million trees between Trenton and Toronto, in Ontario.
“Planting two billion trees is more than a plan for climate action. It’s a plan for creating thousands of good, green jobs. We’re confronting the urgency of climate change and getting trees in the ground starting this spring.” – Seamus O’Regan, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources
“Canadians want cleaner air, cleaner water, and good, secure jobs when we recover from the pandemic. Planting two billion trees is an important part of our government’s plan to do just that. These trees will absorb pollution, clean our air and water and help communities adapt to the effects of a changing climate.” – Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change
2 Billion Trees Commitment
A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy Backgrounder
Nature-based solutions for climate change mitigation and adaption
Fall Economic Statement 2020
2020 Speech from the Throne
Now Here is the response to this News from the two not-for-profit pubic interest groups, Forests Ontario and Forest Recovery Canada –
New federal tree planting program an important climate change response
Dec. 14, 2020 – “Forests Ontario and Forest Recovery Canada applaud Minister O’Regan’s Two Billion Tree Program announcement (this December 14th).
It is exciting to see significant progress being made on this commitment,” said Rob Keen, RPF and CEO of Forests Ontario/Forest Recovery Canada. “Like many Canadians, we are ready to start planting.”
Forest Recovery Canada (the national tree planting division of Forests Ontario) is the only non-profit organization in Canada that oversees all aspects of forest restoration from beginning to end, or from seed to survival. It is well-positioned to assist the federal government in the delivery of a home-grown, national-scale tree planting program.
Nationwide, Forests Ontario has overseen the planting of more than 34 million trees. The organization’s flagship afforestation initiative, the 50 Million Tree Program, has created more than 16,000 hectares of new forest since 2008.
The more than 31 million trees planted through this program help to clean the air we breathe and the water we drink, provide important wildlife habitat, and sequester tonnes of carbon.
“The federal government’s commitment to fighting climate change, protecting forests, and creating good jobs – particularly through planting two billion trees across Canada by 2030 – is good news,” concluded Keen. “By creating new forests and continuing to sustainably manage our existing forests, Canada can be a world leader in using nature-based solutions to fight climate change.”
About Forests Ontario & Forest Recovery Canada – Forests Ontario is a not-for-profit charity dedicated to re-greening the province through the support of tree planting, forest restoration, stewardship, education and awareness. Through Forest Recovery Canada we promote Canada’s greatest natural resource – our forests – because healthy forests sustain healthy communities and healthy economies. Forests Ontario is the voice of our forests. Visit www.forestsontario.ca or follow us
@Forests_Ontario to find out more.
A Footnote from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large –
It is heartening to see Canada’s federal government filling the void of an Ontario government under Premier Doug Ford that last year slashed funding for tree-planting programs in Niagara and other regions of the province.
Along with all of the other cutting and gutting the Ford government has done to environmental programs, shame on it for this one too.
I am sure future generations that care about the environment will not look upon Ford and his minions kindly. How sad it is that they do not appear to care.
To read a CBC report on the Ford government’s decsion last year to slash funding for tree-planting, click on – https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ontario-tree-planting-program-cut-1.5110282
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