Forests Ontario

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Ontario and partners branch out with Canada’s first online tree seed forecasting program

TORONTO – April 21, 2009 – Trees Ontario added another branch to its tree planting initiatives – Canada’s first-ever online tree seed forecasting program. One tiny seed can become a giant tree storing 13 pounds of carbon each year. The one seed that grows into a tree may be among hundreds or thousands of other seeds that did not germinate or were blown elsewhere.

Working with its partners across Ontario, Trees Ontario is the largest not-for-profit tree planting partnership in North America. This year, through its planting programs, Trees Ontario will help fund the planting of close to 3 million trees, mostly on rural lands in southern Ontario. Its target is to increase planting support to put 10 million trees a year in the ground by 2015.

Collecting seeds and tracking those that sprout, compiling information about seed availability, location, type and quantity into one central online database is a vital part of rebuilding Ontario’s tree planting infrastructure, and it is critical to the overall success of long-term planning for tree planting in Ontario.

Trees Ontario’s tree seed program grew from an initial collection and identification project with the Oak Ridges Moraine Foundation, focusing on the Oak Ridges Moraine that stretches across 32 municipalities in southern Ontario. This new online component has expanded on the initial program through working partnerships with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources’ 50 Million Tree Program, the Forest Gene Conservation Association, the Ontario Tree Seed Plant, the Ontario Forestry Association (OFA) and the Eastern Ontario Model Forest.

The new online database component of the tree seed program is designed for forestry experts and certified seed collectors, enabling them to be actively involved in compiling seed forecasting information into one central database. Qualified individuals can obtain more information about the online program by visiting the Trees Ontario website at: http://www.treesontario.ca/programs/index.php/seed_forecasting.

Those that don’t qualify, but have a keen interest in seed forecasting, such as foresters, landowners, current seed collectors, biologists, arborists and naturalists can learn more about the program by joining a one-day seed forecasting workshop to take place June 3, 2009 in Essex and June 24, 2009 in Kingston.

“Unlike the chicken and egg debate, we know that seeds are needed before trees can grow,” said Michael Scott, President and CEO, Trees Ontario. “Having our professionals engaged in an online database program will enable us to better track, source and grow native tree seed across the province in support of our tree planting goals.”

Those foresters, landowners, current seed collectors, biologists, arborists and naturalists interested in joining a one-day seed forecasting workshop can contact Trees Ontario at 1.866.646.1193 or email info@treesontario.on.ca.

Youth educational materials focused on the importance of tree seed, collection and forecasting can be found online through the Ontario Forestry Association’s, Focus on Forests Program at: http://www.focusonforests.on.ca.