ANGUS - The critical role of the Ontario Tree Seed Plant in maintaining the health of Ontario’s forests is a key theme in the 2018 Environmental Protection Report “Back to Basics” released on Nov. 13.
AWARE Essa, a local environmental group that has opposed the Ontario government’s decision to close the Tree Seed Plant in Angus, is pleased to have their views substantiated in the report.
The Environmental Commissioner of Ontario’s report states: “From 1923 to 2018 the OTSP was the centre of tree seed expertise for the province...Long-term seed storage and cataloguing is an essential service to safeguard the future of native southern Ontario tree species, and give us a fighting chance at lessening the effects of climate change on our forests.”
Margaret Curran, chairperson of AWARE Essa agrees: “The need for genetically adapted native seeds has never been greater. The Ontario government’s plan to leave all tree seed services to the private sector endangers southern Ontario species that are not commercially profitable but are critical to maintain biodiversity and healthy ecosystems.”
The ECO report “recommends that the MNRF guarantee funding for the essential services formerly provided by the Ontario Tree Seed Plant…” Additional recommendations include the creation of an Urban Forest Centre to promote tree cover in the places where most people live.
The Ontario Tree Seed Plant that we knew is gone. But with provincial government support, the recommendations of the Environmental Commissioner could be realized on the historic 25-acre site with the creation of a renewed and expanded centre for forestry that would maintain the legacy of the Tree Seed Plant and help secure the future of our forests in a changing climate.
AWARE Essa is a local environmental group in Essa Township affiliated with AWARE Simcoe, a citizen’s group that works for transparency and accountability in government and to protect water, the environment and health.