Tree stock program helps restore the Oak Ridges Moraine
An important new program has been established by the Trees Ontario Foundation (TOF) with funding from the Oak Ridges Moraine Foundation (ORMF), to ensure that sufficient, locally-sourced, native tree seedlings will be available in the future to help restore the Oak Ridges Moraine, part of Ontario’s Greenbelt.
A major obstacle to protecting and restoring the Oak Ridges Moraine has been the limited supply of locally grown native trees. As a result, appropriate stock may not be available for a particular year’s tree planting program on the Moraine, making it difficult to achieve necessary restoration targets, particularly on more than 8000 acres identified as priority areas by the ORMF. The use of non-native seeds can result in poor quality trees and forests that are susceptible to diseases.
The Trees Ontario Foundation is a non-profit organization established in 1994 as an independent arm of the Ontario Forestry Association to increase and promote the forest landscape of Ontario’s lands. The Oak Ridges Moraine Foundation was established in 2002 by the Ontario government. Funding from the ORMF for the Trees Ontario Foundation native seedling program will total $137,400.
“This is the first time in Ontario that a program dedicated to ensuring the need and demand for healthy new trees on the Moraine can be met,” said John Cary, President of TOF. “If we are to help protect the Moraine in the long term, we must find a way to ensure that the important species of trees found on the Moraine, such as red oak, white oak, white pine and spruce, continue to grow,” he added.
TOF will assess long-term seedling demands and coordinate the collection of seed to meet those demands. TOF will also develop a seed source registry that will identify the best locations for collecting native seed. These seeds will be collected and stored at the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Tree Seed Plant in Angus, Ontario and will be made available to local tree planting agencies such as conservation authorities, stewardship councils and municipalities.
Funding provided to TOF is part of the ORMF’s funding program to help protect the Moraine. Since 2003, ORMF has awarded more than $8 million in funding to 87 protection projects across the Moraine, leveraging over $17 million in partner funding for these projects. As a result, more than $26 million in new conservation and protection projects have been created on the Moraine over the past three years.
The Oak Ridges Moraine Foundation was created in 2002 with $15 million in funding from the Province of Ontario to help protect, preserve and restore the Oak Ridges Moraine, one of Ontario’s most prominent geological landforms extending 160 kilometers across southern Ontario, from the Trent River to the Niagara Escarpment. The Moraine is part of Ontario’s Greenbelt.