LETTER: Tree planting supports biodiversity

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Editor: Planting trees is a crucial step towards supporting biodiversity and ecosystem health. Non-profit charity Forests Ontario supports the planting of 2.5 million trees annually, which plays a vital role in enhancing biodiversity in Ontario.

Together with its planting partners, Forests Ontario has planted more than 650,000 trees in Chatham-Kent in the past 20 years, and over 24,000 just last year. Each planting project typically involves using four to six different tree species. Selection is based on factors such as local diversity and suitability, landowner goals, and of course soil and site conditions.

By planting a diverse range of native tree species, and working with landowners on long-term sustainability, Forests Ontario is not only contributing to the environmental benefits trees provide, but also creating habitats that support a wide array of critical wildlife.

The importance of tree planting for biodiversity cannot be overstated. Trees serve as essential habitats for various species, offering food, shelter, and breeding sites. With more than 80 per cent of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity residing in forests, increasing tree canopy in urban and rural communities is a key strategy to conserve and restore ecosystems today and into the future.

Furthermore, biodiversity is crucial for ecosystem support. Trees interact with other organisms, regulate temperature, support pollinators, improve soil fertility, control erosion, and maintain the water cycle. By restoring degraded habitats with diverse tree species, we can conserve and support a multitude of species within ecosystems and involve local communities in being part of the biodiversity solution.

Forests Ontario’s efforts in planting a wide range of source-identified, native trees are supported by private donors, corporate partners and Natural Resources Canada’s 2 Billion Trees program. These efforts are making a tangible difference in supporting biodiversity and environmental conservation across Chatham Kent.

Forests Ontario offers technical and financial support to landowners interested in increasing tree canopy on their property and is now accepting applications for 2025 planting projects.

 

Jessica Kaknevicius

CDO, Forests Ontario

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