Forests Ontario

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Ontario Needs at Least One Billion More Trees

December 29, 2009 – Toronto, Ontario – More than a billion trees need to be planted across southern Ontario to help restore natural cover and protect our watersheds, Trees Ontario has announced.

In a year end summary of tree planting results, Trees Ontario, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the “re-greening” of southern Ontario, reported that we are falling far short of the number of trees needed to help protect our environment.

“Even though more than 3 million trees were planted in the watersheds of southern Ontario in 2009, we are not doing nearly enough tree planting,” states Michael Scott, Trees Ontario’s President and CEO. “In the 1980’s, we helped protect our ecosystem by planting between 20 to 30 million trees each year across our rural landscape.”

“Experts tell us that to help restore the natural cover that protects the watersheds and creates woodlots and forested areas, we need at least 30% forest cover. Unfortunately current estimates indicate some areas in southern Ontario have as little as five per cent forest cover.

Southern Ontario has lost 99 per cent of its older growth forest, more than 94 per cent of its upland forests, and 70 per cent of its wetlands. Wildlife has paid a heavy price. There are now more species at risk in areas of southern Ontario than anywhere else in Canada.

To bring Ontario’s forests back to minimum levels, at least a billion more trees should be planted across southern Ontario.

In the last few years, the Ontario government has begun to address this as part of its climate change policy. It has made a major commitment to plant 50 million trees by 2025, as its contribution to the United Nations’ Billion Tree Campaign.

“But we have long since passed the point where we can all sit back and expect our governments to solve these problems,” says Michael Scott. “We cannot address this problem without public and corporate support and involvement.”

For as little as $5 to cover the cost of planting one tree in 2010, and one seed for a tree to be planted in 2013, corporations, small businesses, individuals and rural landowners can help to solve a serious environmental problem, one tree at a time. Trees Ontario’s immediate priority is to generate broad public support and increase annual tree planting levels to at least 10 million over the next five years.