Trees are very effective at trapping and storing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Both planting trees and protecting existing tree coverage help to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and in turn potentially reduce the impacts of climate change.
Recognizing these benefits, the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA) staff work with landowners to establish and restore natural vegetation cover, windbreaks and buffers, while also improving the overall health of the watershed.
We are continuing our legacy of planting trees in both rural and urban areas. We have planted more than 10 million trees all across the watershed since 1950.
Initiatives to plant trees and shrubs include the UTRCA’s “Tree Planting on Private Lands” program, which supports private property owners in planting on their properties, and also engagement with school and community groups to plant on public lands.
Through the Tree Planting on Private Lands program, landowners in the Upper Thames River watershed (with 2.5 or more acres) are eligible to receive large stock trees (coniferous and deciduous) and seedlings (coniferous and deciduous trees and wildlife shrubs). It’s one way that the UTRCA will manage to plant 50,000 trees this year, throughout the Upper Thames River watershed.
“We are continuing our legacy of planting trees in both rural and urban areas,” said John Enright, Forester with the UTRCA. “We have planted more than 10 million trees all across the watershed since 1950.”
Beyond the Tree Planting on Private Lands initiative and public plantings, the UTRCA is also involved in overseeing five memorial forests across the watershed. The “Memorial Forest” program provides residents with the opportunity to realize a natural, lasting tribute to their loved ones.
As well, the UTRCA carries out assisted migration trials where specific tree species are planted to see how they adapt to the area and how they might fare through greater climate change impacts.
In essence, the goals of the UTRCA’s tree-planting programs are varied and valuable. In both rural and urban areas, increased vegetation can ensure a healthier ecosystem in a number of ways:
- improving water quality by creating natural buffers,
- reducing soil erosion by planting windbreaks,
- improving air quality,
- increasing habitat for wildlife, and
- trapping and storing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
As part of its strategy, the UTRCA has established four environmental targets which, with additional resources and focus, it aims to achieve by 2037. Target 2 is: “Establish and restore 1,500 hectares of natural vegetation cover, windbreaks and buffers” which includes expanding planting programs and services in order to double the current acreage of trees, shrubs and meadows planted each year.
For more information, check out these links:
- UTRCA Tree Planting on Private Lands
- UTRCA Memorial Forest Program
- Forests Ontario published a report titled “The Economic Value of Tree Planting in Southern Ontario” including information about the important role trees play in mitigating climate change through the sequestration and storage of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases
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