Trees, Trees & more trees – 50 million to be exact!

Forest Sunrise

Trees Ontario is a non-profit organization on a mission. Their goal is to have successfully planted 50 million trees by 2025 and according Trees Ontario CEO, Rob Keen, he and his partner organizations are right on track.

Aside from their beauty, trees are a necessary and integral part of our ecosystem and some would argue in support of our health as well. As more land becomes inevitably developed, the lack of trees exponentially negatively impacts earth’s atmosphere, our ecosystems, and natural habitat populations. Trees Ontario has taken strides to positively impact this negative and detrimental trend. According to Keen, close to 3 million trees die each year and one recommendation Keen sees as a positive step developers could make would be to offer to plant the equivalent in the numbers of trees they remove.
Trees Ontario is reaching out to those who are interested in cultivating their 2.5 acres (1 hectare) of land and are offering many incentives to do so. Treeing a property can be a daunting task and Trees Ontario can help offering one on one 
personal attention, from meeting, surveying, helping to determine which species would thrive in specific areas and perhaps the best part in this often stressed economy, offers subsidies to get the goal accomplished.
Keen explains that this time of year is best to contact them in order to plan ahead and by as early as April, planting could begin explaining, “ We work with many partners, and nurseries such as Somerville Seedlings in Alliston. Contacting us now, allows the time required to collect seeds once the species of tree required is determined and then the process can begin. Important to remember is not to think of this as landscaping necessarily. Although treed areas greatly improve the value of property, we are trying to re-stabilize fragmented landscapes across Ontario.”
Traditionally treeing this size of property would be a financial burden but when taking advantage of subsidies offered, the savings are substantial.
“Although prices may vary depending on the species of the seedlings, landowners are looking at a great savings. Paying as little as 20-30 cents per seedling to cover a hectare of land with 1500 trees can cost the land owner as little as $450 -$500,” Keen continues, “ And if you look on line to the website, we ask for a 15 year commitment for care and maintenance. We help landowners 
with maintenance aspects as well and if for 
some reason the landowner sells or moves, they are not held responsible in any way. We just hope that following planting, the landowner doesn’t develop the land, keeping in mind what we 
are trying to accomplish.”
Keen also points out that former farmland no longer of use agriculturally, is an excellent candidate for their program and notes that some donate land in memorial honor to the program as well. Another option for city dwellers who are first time land purchasers or even those who inherit land may choose to consider the program as well, contributing to the noble cause of re-stabilizing a healthy ecosystem.
Trees Ontario and the Ontario Forestry Association offer free workshops during September and October for landowners where forestry experts will discuss the 50 Million Tree Program, Forest Tax Incentive Program, Shoreline planting (which improves water quality), Forest Management, Stewardship, and other topics. There will be a workshop at the King City Arena & Community Centre on Monday, September 30th, from 7-9pm. Space is limited and pre-registration is encouraged.
For more information regarding Trees Ontario go to www.treesontario.ca or contact Trees Ontario Registered Professional Forester, (R.P.F) and CEO Rob Keen at 416-646-1193 x230

– Written by Alex Sher