About Forests Ontario Forests Ontario is committed to the re-greening of Ontario through tree planting efforts on rural and urban land as well as the renewal and stewardship of forests across the province. Forests Ontario and its more than 80 provincial partners work to protect, renew and manage forest resources through educational programs, services and advocacy. For more information, visit www.forestsontario.ca.
History Forests Ontario was created in 2014 following the merger of Trees Ontario (incorporated 1994) and the Ontario Forestry Association (incorporated 1949). Trees Ontario was committed to the re-greening of Ontario through tree planting on private rural lands, and the Ontario Forestry Association was focused on education surrounding the management of forest ecosystems. Since 2004, Trees Ontario and its partners planted more than 18 million trees across Ontario.
Partnerships Forests Ontario works with approximately 85 partner organizations, including seed collectors, seed processors, nurseries, conservation authorities, forestry consultants, government, corporate sponsors and volunteer groups.
- 50 Million Tree Program: This subsidy program, delivered in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, is designed to significantly reduce landowners’ costs of large-scale tree planting. The goal of the program is to plant 50 million trees by 2025.
- Program for Local Afforestation Network Training (PLANT): This is the first Ontario mentorship-based program aimed at post-secondary students to proactively address forest restoration needs in the face of climate change.
- Environthon: An interactive, curriculum-based environmental education program aimed at Grade 9, 10, 11 and 12 students.
- Heritage Tree Program: This program recognizes, records and celebrates long-lived trees as cultural and biological monuments. Anyone can nominate a tree by calling Forests Ontario (1.877.646.1193) or by registering as a nominator on the website.
- DIY Forest: A tree seedling rebate program offering a 10 cent savings on seedling purchases of 50 to 500. To participate, landowners complete a quiz on the Forest Ontario website and download a discount coupon for use at participating nurseries.
- Community Tree Planting Weekend: An annual, family-friendly half-day tree planting event held the first Saturday in May in several communities across Ontario in need of re-greening.
Throughout the year, Forests Ontario and its partners host a variety of educational workshops open to the public, including:
- Landowner workshop: Forestry experts share information on forest management and stewardship, tree planting subsidies and other financial incentives for establishing and managing a forest.
- Seed forecasting workshop: This workshop is intended for individuals with prior knowledge and experience related to tree seed collection. Attendees will learn about flower morphology, seed production, ideal weather conditions for seed development and release and seed crop progression.
- Certified seed collector workshop: Participants will learn about seed biology as well as the science and logistics of collecting and marketing seed.
Importance of forests Forests, especially in southern Ontario, are in serious jeopardy. They are diminishing quickly due to urban sprawl, global warming and the prohibitive costs facing private landowners interested in tree planting and forest management. The number of trees planted in southern Ontario has dropped dramatically since the 1990s – from 20 million trees annually to two million. And since 90 per cent of southern Ontario and 50 per cent of central Ontario lands are privately owned, it is imperative that support is provided to landowners to plant trees on their lands and to actively manage their forests.
Human health and forests Forests have positive impacts on human health by reducing air pollution, a risk factor for both cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Trees are natural filters and help reduce smog and pollution by removing carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter and other pollutants through their leaves and other surface areas.
In 2008, an estimated 620,000 doctor’s office visits in Ontario were attributed to air pollution, according to the Ontario Medical Association. This total is expected to rise to more than 940,000 visits in 2031 if air quality does not improve.
According to “A Healthy Dose of Green,” a 2012 Trees Ontario report, at least one billion more trees must be planted within Ontario’s rural lands and urban landscapes to achieve the minimum 30 per cent forest cover needed to sustain a healthy ecosystem.
For more information, please contact:
Shelley McKay Director of Communications & Development Forests Ontario 144 Front St. West, Suite 700, Toronto, ON, M5J 2L7 P: 416-646-1193 x. 232 E: smckayforestsontario.ca