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Durham residents encouraged to help increase forest cover

Durham landowners have the opportunity to help increase forest cover in the region in 2020.

Since 2008, Forests Ontario’s 50 Million Tree Program (50 MTP) has led to the planting of more than 650,000 across Durham Region.

The program aims to increase forest cover on private and municipal lands.

According to Forests Ontario, the program now includes new criteria where anyone with room to plant a minimum of 500 trees may apply.

The program provides landowners with financial and technical assistance to plant the trees.

Local business Carbon Sink has planted more than 84,000 trees through the program since 2009. They will be planting species such as white pine, red pine, white cedar, tamarack, and white spruce this spring.

“Landowners are always excited to be part of this program,” said Chris Gynan, a tree planting specialist with Carbon Sink. “Many of the landowners we’ve planted with have had their tree cover increased enough for their properties to gain eligibility for the Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program, which significantly lowered their property taxes.”

“Despite the demand, Forests Ontario is still taking applications for tree planting this spring,” said Rob Keen, a registered professional forester and CEO of Forests Ontario. “If you have room to plant a minimum of 500 trees – which is usually less than an acre – contact us. We would be happy to discuss your options for this coming spring and beyond.”

Across Ontario, the program has seen the planting of more than 29 million trees, yielding more than 16,500 hectares of new forest. According to Forests Ontario, these trees will absorb more than 22,000 tonnes of carbon annually.

The 50 Million Tree Program supports more than 300 full-time, seasonal jobs. The Government of Canada committed up to $15 million over four years to support the program. Funding also comes from corporate sponsors and donors. For more information about tree planting and funding assistance,  call Forests Ontario at 1-877-646-1193 or visit