Through its comprehensive network of partners and programs, Barrie-based Forests Ontario has planted nearly seven million trees in central Ontario since 2008.
Now, thanks to a partnership with the Government of Canada’s 2 Billion Trees program, Forests Ontario plans to plant another 7.2 million trees across the province over three years.
On Wednesday, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, minister of natural resources, alongside Adam van Koeverden, parliamentary secretary to the minister of health and to the minister of sport, and Lloyd Longfield, member of Parliament for Guelph, announced a $12.7-million contribution to Forests Ontario through the 2 Billion Trees program, which aims to plant two billion trees over 10 years.
“Forests Ontario and our partners have developed the expertise and infrastructure to grow and track tree planting from seed to successful forests and are the only Canadian charity with this capability,” says Rob Keen, chief executive officer of Forests Ontario, and registered professional forester. “We don’t just plant trees. We grow forests, and it is exciting to be contributing to the 2 Billion Trees program as partners with the federal government. The 2 Billion Trees program will benefit communities across our country for generations to come.”
Creating healthy, new forests is one of the most effective, nature-based solutions in combating climate change and these trees will sequester significant amounts of carbon and mitigate the impacts of climate change, including extreme weather and flooding.
“Today’s announcement in Ontario represents a major step towards our goal of planting two billion trees to deliver cleaner air, enhanced biodiversity, and climate action across Canada. Forests Ontario’s contribution to this effort includes the planting of over 7.2 million trees over three years to support biodiversity in communities across the country while creating sustainable jobs,” Wilkinson says.
Throughout its history, Forests Ontario has planted more than 41 million trees, resulting in 20,500 hectares of new forest created across more than 8,300 project sites across Canada.