We Don’t Just Plant Trees – We Grow Forests
by Rob Keen, Registered Professional Forester, CEO of Forests Ontario and Forest Recovery Canada
Published Sept. 21, 2022
Having planted millions of trees across Canada and created tens of thousands of hectares of new forest cover, Forests Ontario is on a mission to combat climate change.
Since 2004, Forests Ontario and its partners have developed the infrastructure needed to facilitate and track tree planting across Ontario from seed to successful forest – and we are the only charitable organization in Canada to have that ability. To put it simply, we don’t just plant trees, we
To date, we have planted 42 million trees across Canada, creating more than 20,500 hectares of new forests on over 8,000 sites. We also recognize the vital importance and function of grasslands, resulting in the addition of Grasslands Ontario to our organization in 2018.
Our efforts to increase, conserve and maintain forests and grasslands help to clean the air we breathe and filter the water we drink, while improving the biodiversity of our ecosystems and nurturing pollinator corridors. In fact, creating healthy new forests and grasslands is one of the most effective, nature-based solutions we have in combating climate change impacts.
Working in collaboration with our professional network of partners, Forests Ontario is recognized for its unique ability to measure the success of the trees we plant. A 2021 study from Natural Resources Canada validated Forests Ontario’s successful afforestation outcomes, noting 83% of the total hectares planted through our landmark 50 Million Tree Program are thriving, and will sequester significant amounts of carbon over the lifetime of these new forests.
To ensure our ability to keep planting the right tree, in the right place, and for the right reason, Forests Ontario has more than 200 million source-identified seeds in storage for future planting projects – a direct result of working closely with our network of certified seed collectors and nursery partners to
forecast, collect, process and store seed, and monitor seedling health once planted. This essential infrastructure, together with our expertise to track the success of the trees we plant, ensures a greener and healthier future for generations to come.
While human activity has contributed to the greatest environmental challenges we have ever faced, there is still time to do something about it, but we must act now. With world-wide focus on sustainable solutions to climate change, we not only hope to inspire a healthy tomorrow for communities around the globe, but also contribute to real change, now.