Planting trees can benefit both farmers and the environment
By Kaitlynn Anderson
While strong environmental stewardship practices are already present across much of Ontario’s farmland, producers may now have an additional incentive to give back to the land.
By planting trees on their properties, producers can actually increase their farmland value, according to a Forests Ontario release on Tuesday.
The trees can provide many benefits, “which can help to create a healthier farm,” according to Suzanne Perry, forestry outreach coordinator with Forests Ontario, such as:
- Improvement in soil quality
- Reduction in land erosion
- Improvement in water and air quality
- Reduction of water runoff
- Addition of habitat for wildlife
In addition to land improvement, trees also offer potential energy savings, she told Farms.com yesterday.
“When trees are planted near homes, they can help to reduce utility costs by offering shade in the summer and protection from the wind in the winter, which helps with temperature control.”
In the long term, producers may also realize benefits for crops and livestock when planting trees to create a windbreak.
“A windbreak is a row of trees or shrubs that is planted along the edge of a field or property to reduce the force and speed of the wind,” Perry said. “Windbreaks slow down the force of the wind, which helps to protect crops and livestock. Studies show that a windbreak can improve crop yields.”
During the winter, trees can also provide another advantage to anyone travelling to and from the farm.
“Trees can prevent snow from drifting and piling up on laneways and roads, which can be a safety hazard,” she said.
Farmers can realize these benefits by participating in Forests Ontario’s 50 Million Trees Program (50MTP).
The program, which provides producers with subsidies to cover up to 90 per cent of the cost of planting trees on a large scale, is part of the Ontario government’s goal to plant 50 million trees by 2025.
To be eligible for the program, producers must own at least one hectare (2.5 acres) of “land that is open, or mostly open, and has not been defined as a woodland since December 31, 1989, per the Forestry Act,” according to Forests Ontario.
The farmer must then sign a 15-year agreement where he or she promises to maintain the planted trees and practice proper forestry management habits. As part of this contract, the farmer agrees to assume any maintenance costs associated with the trees.
To apply for 50MTP, “farmers can submit an application online or by phone at 1-877-646-1193.”
For more information, Forests Ontario encourages producers to contact Perry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: George Clerk / Getty Images / E+