OTTAWA, ON, Oct. 12, 2021 – Not-for-profit charity Forests Ontario facilitated the planting of 2.8 million trees through its 50 Million Tree Program (50 MTP) this planting season. These efforts created approximately 1,400 ha of new forest, contributing to the total 17,100 ha planted since 2008 –an area nearly twice the size of Barrie, ON. In total, Forests Ontario has rooted more than 34 million trees through the 50 MTP.
The province-wide 50 MTP makes tree planting easier and more affordable by providing technical and financial assistance. “Once eligible landowners apply to the program, we connect them to a local planting partner to create and carry out a site plan that suits their property and objectives,” said Rob Keen, Registered Professional Forester and CEO of Forests Ontario. “By connecting them with experienced forestry professionals and significantly reducing the cost of tree planting, the 50 MTP is a unique opportunity for those looking to green their properties.”
Another aspect which sets the program apart is the emphasis it places upon long-term survival. “It’s important to Forests Ontario that the seedlings we plant grow into healthy forests. That’s why we monitor tree health the first few years after planting,” explained Keen. A study by Natural Resources Canada found that 83 per cent of the total hectares planted through the 50 MTP are thriving on the landscape.
Planting trees supports a myriad of environmental, economic, and social benefits, including the creation of wildlife habitat, improved soil quality, increased property value, enhanced opportunities for recreation (such as hiking and snowshoeing), and climate change mitigation. Additionally, landowners with a minimum of four hectares (9.88 acres) or more of forested land may be able to take advantage of Ontario’s Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program, which offers up to 75% reduction on property taxes for eligible portions of the property.
Applicants must have space for at least 500 trees in order to apply for the 50 MTP. For those with smaller lots, Forests Ontario’s Over-The-Counter program offers trees at a discounted rate.