Fall colours are stunning in the Credit River Watershed. Everywhere you look there is a sea of colour to feast your eyes on. Forests are a beautiful part of our world. Unfortunately, they are declining with urbanization. At the beginning of the 20th century, 85 per cent of the forests in the watershed had been cleared, leaving only 10 per cent of the watershed under forest cover. Globally, we’ve already lost 178 million hectares of forest since 1990. For National Forest Week (September 19 – 25), we’re taking a local look at deforestation and how planting trees is returning forest cover to our watershed.
Many of the factors driving global deforestation are responsible for local deforestation. During early settlement, land was cleared for agriculture, then later for development. Wood was piled and burned for potash, which sometimes sparked widespread wildfires. Of the forests left standing, often the best trees were removed for timber, leaving them weak and susceptible to disease and extreme weather.
Today, 23 per cent (21,630 hectares) of the watershed is under forest cover, 8 per cent of which is managed by CVC. Since 1955, CVC has worked with private landowners and partner municipalities to plant over seven million trees. Together, we’re enhancing existing forests, reforesting unproductive farm fields and acquiring land to plant and protect. Even with this success, we still have a way to go.
According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, the minimum forest cover required to maintain a healthy watershed is 30 per cent. To reach this target, we still need to plant 12 million trees or 6,800 hectares of new forest. Many of the opportunities for planting are on private land, which is why CVC helps landowners with two acres or more plant trees on their properties.
Whether you’re a farmer, rural homeowner or business, if you have two acres or more, our forestry team will help you design a planting plan for your property, provide the trees, put them in the ground and perform aftercare monitoring. Together with our partners, we’ll even cover up to 100 per cent of the costs.
Forests provide us with essential ecosystem goods and services. They offer protection against climate change by capturing carbon, cooling our communities and filtering pollution from our air and water. They reduce flood risk by strengthening streambanks and soaking up water. They provide shelter and food for important insects and other local wildlife. Not to mention they’re beautiful to look at and add value to our communities and our properties.
Visit cvc.ca/treeplanting to learn more about the planting trees on your rural property. Applications for spring plantings are due December 1, 2021.
You can also learn more about CVC’s commitment to sustainable forest management in our Sustainable Forest Management Plan.
By: Calantha Elsby, Specialist, Environmental Outreach