The Ontario government’s 50 Million Tree Program was inspired by global efforts to plant billions of trees worldwide each year, but has been designed with Ontario landowners in mind. The objective is to plant 50 million trees by 2025, and so far more than 4,000 landowners have become involved in the effort. Increased forest coverage in the province is the over-riding goal, to combat climate change, improve soil quality and increase wildlife habitat across the province. They also cover up to 90 percent of the total cost of the tree planting project through subsidies.
For landowners with more than 2.5 acres of suitable land, this program will help from start to finish, establishing a site plan, providing technical assistance and connecting the landowner with local planting partners. Approved applicants will be connected with a local planting delivery agent who will work with them directly to determine if the site is eligible, create a site plan for the property, and coordinate planting. The support continues after the project is complete with follow up site assessments one, two and five years after planting.
Landowners have used the program to create windbreaks and visual barriers around their properties and to enhance the recreational opportunities on their properties while being good stewards of their land. Properties where tree plantings reach or exceed 10 acres have the added bonus of becoming eligible for property tax reductions through the Managed Forest Tax Incentive Plan.
To be eligible for the program, property owners must have at least 2.5 acres of suitable land for planting and be prepared commit to maintaining any trees planted under this program for 15 years. To get the ball rolling, complete an on-line application form found at www.forestsontario.ca or call 1-877-646-1193. KG