Canada Plans to Increase Annual Tree Planting to Meet Two Billion Target

The government plans to plant up to 320 million trees a year to meet the prime minister’s goal of putting an additional two billion trees in the ground by 2030.

Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson launched a recruiting drive on Thursday to find tree planters, including farmers, indigenous communities and non-profit organizations, to plant millions of additional trees a year.

The move follows strong criticism of delays in the tree-planting plan that the prime minister promised during the 2019 election campaign.

An access to information request from The Canadian Press found that as of mid-November, only 8.5 million trees had been planted, less than half of the trees Trudeau pledged to plant.

During the 2019 elections, Justin Trudeau promised to plant two billion trees in 10 years.

Natural Resources blames the slow start on a lack of seedlings, which can take two to three years to grow.

It published a roadmap to reach its goal on Thursday with plans to plant 60 million trees next year, increasing to 100 million in 2024, 200 million in 2025 and 320 million trees in 2027, 2028 and 2029, at a cost of up to $ 355 million a year.

The government allocated funds for a “massive planting stream” for organizations that pledged to plant at least 500,000 trees. It also launched a call for proposals in the “urban and suburban planting stream” for groups that could plant at least 10,000 trees.

“Planting trees is an important part of our plan to fight climate change, protect biodiversity and create good jobs,” Wilkinson said.

But opposition parties criticized the program delays, accusing the government, which repeated a promise to plant two billion trees during the 2020 throne speech, of failing to deliver on its promise.

Canada aims to plant up to 320 million trees a year to reach the two billion target. #CDNPoli

Dan Albas, Conservative shadow minister for the environment and climate change, said that with billions of taxpayer dollars earmarked for this commitment, it is incredibly concerning that less than one percent of the liberals’ tree target is have planted in the last two years.

“Trudeau liberals love to set goals and commit to high promises, but when it comes to doing the hard work, they don’t deliver,” he said.

The two billion additional trees would mark a 40 percent increase in the number of trees generally planted in Canada, including the forestry industry, and cover an area twice as large as Prince Edward Island.

The government said the program would create up to 4,300 jobs nationwide, while helping reduce carbon emissions.

NDP natural resources spokesman Charlie Angus said the promise to plant two billion trees was one of the liberals’ most dramatic promises.

“At the rate they are going, there won’t be much planet left to save.”

Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister for agriculture and agri-food, said the national tree planting program “will engage farm groups across the country and help farmers manage soil erosion, improve water management, provide habitat. for pollinators and other wild animals and shelter for livestock. ” . “

This Canadian Press report was first published on December 16, 2021.

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