Trees Ontario grant program now available to Island residents

Al Corlett from the Trees Ontario initiative met with Manitoulin residents who are interested in reforesting their property.

MANITOWANING—Manitoulin landowners are now able to apply for subsidies that will allow them to reforest their properties. The 50 Million Tree Program, which is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, is the Ontario government’s commitment to plant 50 million trees by 2025 to help fight climate change and re-green the province.

At a meeting held last week in Manitowaning, Al Corlett, the director of programs for Trees Ontario, explained to interested Island residents the scope of the 50 Million Tree Program.

“We have landowners that have all kinds of different objectives,” noted Mr. Corlett. He explained that some people want to provide wildlife habitat, while others wish to enhance their land for recreation, add value to their property and even to establish forests for future generations. Eligible projects include windbreaks, block planting and riparian planting.

The program, which has existed in southern Ontario for many years, is now expanding to northern parts of the province.

The requirements for the program include the need for at least one hectare (2.5 acres) of productive planting area and the land must be mostly open and not have been a woodland since 1990. In order to receive the subsidy of up to $1.35 per tree, the landowner must sign a 15-year agreement to maintain the trees, employ good forestry practices and assume the costs associated with implementing the plan and tree maintenance.

Those interested in the program can complete an application. After applying, one of the three Manitoulin planting delivery agents will contact landowners and set up a site visit to determine the local conditions. In consultation with the landowners, the best native trees to plant at the site will be determined. This is an important aspect to the program to ensure that the trees will be viable. In future, seeds will be gathered locally to ensure that trees planted are native to the area.

Landowners in attendance at the meeting had many questions about the program including what sort of site preparation is involved and what supports are in place.

“We have local experts in place,” explained Mr. Corbett. These professionals can offer advice on the elimination of competition vegetation for site preparation, forest management, and can provide these services.

It was noted at the meeting that the subsidy won’t cover the entire cost of tree planting projects, and landowners will need to contribute a portion. Usually the landowner portion will be for site preparation and maintenance costs, with the cost of the tree seedling being covered by the program. For more information, or to apply to the 50 Million Tree Program, email, visit their website or call toll free 1-877646-1193.