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New Report Highlights the Importance of Innovative Tree Planting Techniques

Trees Ontario announces the release of the Alternative Approaches to Afforestation report

TORONTO, October 17, 2012 – Earlier today, Trees Ontario released a progressive report that combines modern afforestation methods with decades of planting experience. Alternative Approaches to Afforestation pushes the boundaries of conventional tree planting models by offering comprehensive afforestation and reforestation methodologies which consider carbon sequestration, biodiversity conservation, soil protection, as well as sustainable use of raw materials in a balanced way.

Afforestation is the establishment of forests on open lands that have not been covered by forests for approximately 50 years. This practice has many benefits including soil stabilization, site rehabilitation, protection of riparian areas and the provision of wood products, wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities, and flood control. Afforestation efforts also contribute significantly to carbon sequestration to meet obligations under the Kyoto Protocol.

“The rehabilitation work through afforestation techniques can, over time, initiate ecosystem restoration and recovery with respect to ecosystem health, integrity and sustainability,” said Al Corlett, Trees Ontario’s Program Manager and one of the report’s contributing authors. “When used together with current planting methods, these techniques can promote greater biodiversity, help reduce the impacts of invasive insects and disease infestations, and increase forest health.”

The Alternative Approaches to Afforestation, co-authored by Al Corlett, Paul Gagnon, Tom Clark and Margaret Penner through the support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, was released today during Trees Ontario’s Site Plan Development Course held in Milton, ON. This educational session is part of Trees Ontario’s Technical Workshop Series designed to enhance the technical expertise of forestry professionals in Ontario.

“Successful tree planting is a complex undertaking that requires close attention to a myriad of factors, including tree seed forecasting and collection, project planning, site and soil assessment, nursery stock production, tending and assessment operations, as well as technical education,” said Robert Keen, RPF, Trees Ontario’s CEO. “Trees Ontario’s latest report will ensure that best practices, including the application of conventional and alternative afforestation methods, are implemented into the multi-layered tree planting infrastructure in order to enhance sector capacity and expertise.”

Paul Gagnon, Lands & Waters Supervisor at the Long Point Region Conservation Authority, has taken part in an alternative afforestation project with the support of Trees Ontario and was also in attendance during the launch of the report. “For successful restoration efforts, innovative methods should be considered in combination with traditional techniques,” Gagnon noted. “Several key alternative techniques, with a greater focus on ecological restoration, include planting of a wide variety of native tree species on a single site, planting trees in groups instead of rows, and using native plants to control weeds.”

In today’s current economic climate, it is critical for tree planting agencies to prioritize efforts and focus on areas where forest restoration will have the greatest ecological impact. Trees Ontario’s latest report provides Ontario’s afforestation experts with unique restoration-based field procedures that can be integrated into various planting programs across the province with an innovative focus on biodiversity and enhanced resilience to climate change.

To download a copy of the report, click here.