Ontario Landowners Dig Tree Planting

    Landowners attend tree planting workshops across the province to learn
    about incentives in place to help reach tree planting goals

TORONTO, Oct. 16 /CNW/ - Ontario landowners are enthusiastically digging in to learn more about tree planting and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources' goal to plant 50 million trees by 2020.

Over the past few weeks many interested Ontario landowners attended a series of community workshops to learn more about tree planting techniques, financial incentives like the Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program (MFTIP) that can help reduce property taxes by up to 75 per cent, along with ways to reduce their environmental footprint and how to participate in the 50 Million Tree Program.

The 50 Million Tree Program, announced in August 2007 by Premier McGuinty, is the single largest commitment to the United Nations Billion Tree Campaign. Trees Ontario planted close to 3 million trees across southern Ontario last spring - including more than 2 million trees planted as part of the 50 Million Tree Program.

"More than ever landowners understand the value of planting trees in our fight against climate change," said Donna Cansfield, Minister of Natural Resources. "With this continued and growing interest, we are well on our way to meeting our 50 Million Tree Program goal."

"Planting trees through the 50 Million Tree Program couldn't be easier for landowners," said Ron Klages, a landowner who has planted about half a million trees in his lifetime and has been designated a Trees Ontario Green Leader because of his significant commitment to tree planting and environmental stewardship. "If people only knew how easy it is to do, the great incentives available and the environmental benefits, we'd live in a much greener place."

The work of Klages and other Ontario landowners through the various tree planting programs offered by Trees Ontario has made this the largest spring tree planting seen in Ontario since the 1980s.

The free tree planting workshops, hosted by Trees Ontario, the Ontario Forestry Association (OFA), and local planting agency partners, are designed to inform and gain the commitment of Ontario landowners to participate in the tree planting subsidy and tax incentive programs available, including the 50 Million Tree Program. Local forestry experts share information on subsidy programs, good forestry practices and how to plant trees and reduce costs.

"The fall series of workshops follows our most successful spring planting season," said Michael Scott, President and CEO, Trees Ontario. "With these well-attended workshops, we are continuing to attract more landowners in support of our re-greening efforts across the province."

Some of the financial incentives range from $0.10/tree to as high as $1.25/tree, which can reduce the cost to the landowner to as low as $0.15, depending on the size of their land and the number of trees planted.

In addition, the Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program (MFTIP), administered by the OFA, can provide significant property tax reductions for landowners who own at least 10 acres or more of forested land. Eligible landowners work with a plan approver to prepare and follow a forest management plan. Upon acceptance into the program, the forested portion of the property is reassessed as managed forest and taxed at a reduced rate the following year for a period of 10 years.

Workshop dates and locations are available at www.treesontario.ca.

Trees Ontario

Trees Ontario, working with its partners, is the largest, not-for-profit tree planting partnership in North America. It is committed to the re-greening of Ontario through a range of tree planting activities.

The goal of Trees Ontario is to restore the province's tree planting capacity, especially throughout southern Ontario on private lands, by providing funding and planning support for its tree planting partners. These include local Conservation Authorities, Ontario Stewardship Councils, municipal governments and community volunteer groups.

As a charitable organization, Trees Ontario relies on the financial support of donors, organizations, foundation grants and government to support its tree planting programs and initiatives.

This year, with its partners, Trees Ontario planted close to 3 million trees. Its goal is to support the planting of 10 million trees per year by 2015. Help us save the environment. One tree at a time. To participate, donate and to learn more visit the Trees Ontario website at www.treesontario.ca.

50 Million Tree Program

In August 2007, the Ontario government introduced a program to fund the planting of 50 million trees across the province by 2020, as part of its commitment to help fight climate change and green the province.

The 50 Million Tree Program is Ontario's commitment to the United Nations Billion Tree Campaign. The program is also the most ambitious program of its kind in North America and the largest goal of any jurisdiction, anywhere.

The 50 Million Tree Program can significantly cut landowners' costs of large-scale tree planting and boost the number of trees planted.

Ontario Forestry Association

The Ontario Forestry Association (OFA) is a non-profit, registered charity. It is dedicated to raising awareness and understanding of all aspects of Ontario's forests, and to develop commitment to stewardship of forest ecosystems. The OFA has been involved in public education around forestry and environmental issues since the 1940s. Over the years they have been involved in major initiatives involving restoration, commemoration and the management of our forests and natural environment. To this day, they continue to increase public education and knowledge of forestry and environmental issues. Visit the OFA website at www.oforest.on.ca.

SOURCE Forests Ontario

For further information: For further information: Paul Tyler, GoldFenix Communications, (905) 235-7285, pt@goldfenixcom.ca; Victoria Ollers, GoldFenix Communications, (416) 822-2288, vo@goldfenixcom.ca

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