Shortly after the Ontario government delivered its 2019 budget, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry told Forests Ontario that the 50 Million Tree Program would be cancelled.
According to Rob Keen, CEO of Forests Ontario, the program’s annual budget was $4.7 million. The provincial government said it was being cancelled in order to cut provincial costs.
The 50 Million Tree Program began as a carbon sequestration program, reports CTV News. To ensure forest sustainability, about 40 per cent forest cover is needed. However, the average in southern Ontario is 26 per cent – in some areas, it is as low as five per cent.
Forests Ontario’s planting partners, such as conservation groups, stewardship groups and First Nations, received most of the funding.
“It may be a way for the government to save some money, but it’s very short-sighted and it’s going to cost us a lot more in the future,” Ed Patchell, the CEO of Ferguson Tree Nursery – one of the main nurseries that grows seedlings for the program – told CTV News.
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