Strong Sustainable Communities

Repurpose the Ontario Tree Seed Facility for Urban Forestry in Southern Ontario

For 94 years the Ontario Tree Seed Facility has been an integral part of reforestation in Ontario. In August 2017, the Ontario government announced the decision to close the facility. What has changed since 1923 when the Seed Plant was established to repair the devastation caused by the lumber industry? Today our focus is mitigating climate change, and resilient forests and tree cover are essential to accomplish that goal. Most of Southern Ontario forests have disappeared and although much of the land is privately owned, there is still potential to increase tree cover on municipal parkland, boulevards, roadsides, school yards, church properties, cemeteries and public works. Growing trees in urban spaces is challenging and requires expertise and trees that can adapt to tough conditions. The Ontario Tree Seed Facility is uniquely positioned and could easily be adapted to provide this. Located an hour north of the GTA in Angus, Ontario, it is already a location familiar to tree nurseries and forestry organizations. The staff is expert at processing many varieties of seed and adapting equipment as needed. Partnered with one of the many organizations that specialize in Urban Forestry, the facility could offer practical advice to smaller municipalities who do not have the budget to maintain an arborist on staff. Choosing the right tree species for a particular location can save money and ensure success. Using seed genetically adapted to seed zones increases the resiliency of trees. The Ontario Tree Seed Facility has the potential to contribute to strong, sustainable communities by creating green spaces in an urban setting that would increase physical and mental well-being, encourage active transportation, create community connections and mitigate climate change. It would be a tragic waste to simply close this facility.



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Idea No. 520