Forests Ontario

Disaster Mitigation and Insurance: The Role of Forests in Mitigating Extreme Weather Events

Disaster Mitigation and Insurance: The Role of Forests in Mitigating Extreme Weather Events

Forests Ontario Brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development

Our natural landscapes have a powerful ability to address climate change, with forests in particular playing an important role. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, the main driver of climate change, from the atmosphere and use the carbon to build their trunks, branches, and roots, releasing oxygen as a by-product. While most climate change mitigation efforts focus on reducing carbon emissions, trees actually remove carbon from the air. In addition to playing a proactive role in addressing climate change via carbon sequestration, forests also mitigate the associated impacts of climate change, such as extreme weather.

Forests Ontario CEO Rob Keen was invited to speak to the role our forests play in mitigating climate change-related disasters to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development on June, 2019. This briefing report was created to support the presentation, and affirms that afforestation combined with sustainable forest management is the most straightforward thing we can do to reduce the risks associated with climate change. As opposed to simply reducing our carbon emissions, these activities provide an opportunity to contribute to the net removal of carbon in our atmosphere. Tree planting specifically has the potential to significantly mitigate the impacts of extreme weather events and natural disturbances associated with climate change, most notably flooding and extreme heat.