Ontario Government Cancels Tree Planting Program

50 Million Tree Program cut to reduce deficit

In order to reduce Ontario’s deficit, the Ford-led Conservative government is making cuts to many programs. Today, it was announced that a program to plant trees, the 50 Million Tree Program, has been cut.

The program cost the government $4.7 million a year. That is 0.0033% of Ontario’s approximately $141 billion budget.

Rob Keen, CEO of Forests Ontario, tells the CBC that, since 2008, more than 27 million trees have been planted across Ontario through the program. This saves landowners up to 90% of the cost of large-scale tree planting.

Trees not only sequester CO2 (a greenhouse gas) but they also “clean the air and water, protect shorelines and reduce erosion.”

According to Urbanforestry.org, “at about 10 years […] [trees] are estimated to absorb 48 pounds of CO2 per year. At that rate, they release enough oxygen back into the atmosphere to support two human beings.”

Planting trees alone cannot offset greenhouse gas emissions but they are part of a good environmental strategy.

The Ford government is opposed to the Federal Carbon Tax, which follows the model supported by  economists as the most effective way of lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

Image: Jim Barton, CC