Tree planting key to reducing climate change: say 88% of Ontarians

March 30 is National Take a Walk in the Park Day. A new Leger survey shows that 88 per cent of Ontarians believe that tree planting and better forest management practices are key in reducing the risks of climate change. Forests Ontario, which commissioned the survey, works to protect, renew and manage forest resources through programs, education and advocacy. (CNW Group/Trees Ontario)

Forests Ontario programs and subsidies help reduce the loss of forest cover

TORONTO, March 20, 2014 /CNW/ - National Take a Walk in the Park Day is just around the corner (March 30), and a new Leger survey shows that 88 per cent of Ontarians believe that tree planting and better forest management practices are key in reducing the risks of climate change.

"These results prove that Ontarians are educated about the importance of forests to our health and well-being and that they are concerned about the loss of trees," says Rob Keen, CEO of Forests Ontario, which commissioned the survey of 1,000 Ontarians. "At Forests Ontario, we offer people the chance to take a proactive approach to sustaining healthy forests through the help of subsidies for landowners, educational workshops and youth programs."

According to a 2009/2010 Annual Report, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario stated that a minimum 30 per cent local forest cover is necessary to maintain a healthy environment. Unfortunately, due to continuous human settlement and rapid land development, forest cover in southern Ontario averages 22 per cent, and in some regions, it's even as low as five per cent.

Speak with Rob Keen, Registered Professional Forester & CEO of Forests Ontario, about the following story ideas:

  • Forests & Human Health: Research has shown that air pollution is a risk factor for both cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. In 2008, an estimated 620,000 doctor's office visits in Ontario were attributed to air pollution, according to the Ontario Medical Association. This is expected to rise to more than 940,000 visits in 2031 if air quality does not improve. It's critical that forests don't continue to diminish - our health depends on it.
  • A Healthy Economy: Ontario's forestry industry is responsible for more than 200,000 jobs across the province, and in 2008, the value of forestry products was estimated at $14 billion. Learn how sustainable managed forests contribute to a stable economy.
  • Gauging Ontarians' Concern:  The results of a new poll - why we fear for our forests and what measures can be taken.
  • It's Not Easy Being Green: Find out why it is so challenging to maintain forest cover in Ontario and why forests in south and central Ontario are most vulnerable.
  • Re-greening Ontario: Learn what can be done to increase forest cover in the province.
  • Generational Divide: Why it is important that our province's youth build a strong connection to nature and our forests?

About Forests Ontario
Forests Ontario was created in 2014 as a result of the merging of not-for-profit organizations Trees Ontario and the Ontario Forestry Association (OFA). Forests Ontario is committed to the re-greening of Ontario through tree planting efforts on rural lands and in urban areas as well as the renewal and stewardship of Ontario's forests. Forests Ontario and its 85 provincial partners work to protect, renew and manage forest resources through programs, services and advocacy. To learn more, please visit www.forestsontario.ca.

SOURCE Trees Ontario

Image with caption: "March 30 is National Take a Walk in the Park Day. A new Leger survey shows that 88 per cent of Ontarians believe that tree planting and better forest management practices are key in reducing the risks of climate change. Forests Ontario, which commissioned the survey, works to protect, renew and manage forest resources through programs, education and advocacy. (CNW Group/Trees Ontario)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140320_C6284_PHOTO_EN_38184.jpg

For further information:

For more information, photos or to arrange an interview please contact:

Shelley McKay      
Director of Communications & Development
e: smckay@forestsontario.ca
p: 416-646-1193 ext. 232    

Ann-Marie Colacino
Communications Officer
e: acolacino@forestsontario.ca
p: 416-646-1193 ext. 234