Minister Wilkinson Updates Canadians on Successful 2 Billion Trees Planting Season

OTTAWA, ON, June 22, 2022 /CNW/ – Planting two billion trees across the country will help Canada’s efforts to tackle the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. Trees capture and store carbon from the atmosphere, improve air and water quality, support biodiversity and create and support thousands of good jobs.

Launched in 2021, 2 Billion Trees (2BT) is part of the Government of Canada’s broader approach to nature-based climate solutions. It contributes to Canada’s efforts to mitigate climate change while achieving key biodiversity and conservation goals, as well as supporting human well-being.

In its first year, the program signed agreements to support planting 30 million trees. Each project was subject to a review by an independent expert panel to ensure it would help achieve the program’s objectives. Going forward, the Government of Canada is entering into longer-term agreements to secure planting over 10 years. By 2026, the program aims to plant 250–350 million trees annually, with each planting project undergoing the same expert panel review process as this year’s projects.

Every year, the exact number of trees planted are reported by our partners after all of their planting activities are completed. This is necessary because conditions on the ground at planting sites may cause the number of trees planted to differ slightly from the amount of trees funded in any given year.

Today, Minister Wilkinson announced that NRCan’s program partners succeeded in planting 97 percent of the 30 million trees planned for the 2021 planting season: approximately 29 million trees from over 150 different species were planted at over 500 sites across Canada. These projects will restore nature, enhance biodiversity, create forest ecosystems on fire-damaged land, increase carbon capture, and create parks and greenspaces in and around our cities. Nearly one in every five projects was Indigenous-led. These trees will clean the air we breathe, the water we drink and help cool our urban centres.

An example of a successful project from the 2021 season is the Redd Fish Restoration Society’s (formerly the Central Westcoast Forest Society) project to plant 51,070 new saplings along the banks of the Hiłsyaqƛis and Atleo rivers in British Columbia. These saplings will accelerate the recovery of the two watersheds while also helping to restore critical spawning and rearing habitat for endangered wild Chinook and chum salmon. This project will improve water quality, increase ecosystem complexity and resiliency and the region’s ability to mitigate the impacts of climate change, and provide employment opportunities for Ahousaht and Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations.

Over the remaining nine years of the program, partner organizations will continue the tree-planting journey: from seeds to seedlings and saplings, to trees in the ground. Interest in future projects is high: the 2BT program received over 200 project applications in this second year, including multi-year projects outlining plans to plant approximately 425 million trees. These multi-year agreements will create predictable, stable, long-term demand for nurseries and others supporting the supply of seedlings, ensuring that the right tree is grown and planted in the right place.

Quotes

“I’m pleased to report that the very first planting season under the 2 Billion Trees program has been a success. We have achieved 97 percent of our planting target and are on track to plant two billion trees over the course of 10 years. I would like to thank our project partners for their work in making this program a success.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson

Minister of Natural Resources

Quick facts

  • The 2BT program is part of Canada’s Natural Climate Solutions Fund, which embraces the power of nature to fight climate change. In the 2020 Fall Economic Statement, the government committed up to $3.2 billion over 10 years to deliver on this commitment.
  • This investment will support provinces, territories, third-party organizations (for- and not-for profit) and Indigenous governments and organizations to plant two billion trees across Canada.
  • The Government of Canada has a number of existing tree-planting programs currently operating, which are incremental to the 2BT program. These include:
  • The government has also established an external advisory committee of experts on nature-based climate solutions to advise on program delivery to maximize emission reductions and deliver on key biodiversity and human well-being co-benefits to improve the quality of life for Canadians.
  • The 2BT program is also co-developing a governance framework for Indigenous-led projects. This will provide opportunities for Indigenous perspectives to shape and inform how these projects will be managed and delivered in a way that reflects Indigenous priorities, values and the long history of Indigenous land stewardship.

Associated links

Backgrounder

2 Billion Trees Program Update

About the 2 Billion Trees program

The Government of Canada launched the 2 Billion Trees (2BT) program as part of its commitment to plant two billion trees over 10 years. The program funds projects proposed by public and private sector organizations and Indigenous communities.

The 2BT program is part of the Government of Canada’s broader approach to nature-based climate solutions. It will contribute to Canada’s efforts to mitigate climate change while achieving key biodiversity and conservation goals, as well as contributing to human well-being.

The 2BT program offers funding to assist with tree-planting projects but does not directly supply trees, seedlings, saplings or land. It works with organizations to help fund tree-planting projects for which the successful partner is responsible for all aspects of tree planting. The program will establish multi-year agreements with tree-planting partners that will create predictable, stable, long-term demand for nurseries and others along the supply chain for seedlings, ensuring that the right tree is grown and planted in the right place.

The tree-planting process

Tree planting on a large scale requires careful planning. For the Government of Canada’s planting partners, the process of planting a tree takes several years of investment in advance, including collecting seeds, increasing nursery capacity, growing seedlings until they are large enough to be planted successfully and identifying available land. Tree selection is based on the species’ ability to adapt to a changing climate and other environmental considerations, with priority given to native trees. Specific tree-planting locations depend on the funding proposals put forward by partners. These considerations take time and are necessary initial investments on a path to restoring nature and biodiversity while increasing carbon storage. Accordingly, tree-planting projects must demonstrate a variety of climate and conservation benefits.

How the 2BT program projects are approved and tracked

The Government of Canada supports tree-planting organizations to reach the 2BT program goal of planting two billion trees in 10 years. Proposed projects received through Calls for Proposals are assessed and reviewed by expert review panels that inform the selection of projects to be funded.

Planting the right tree in the right place and for the right reasons is essential for the 2BT program. Tree-planting projects need to demonstrate how they intend to select the right tree species and seeds to ensure the survival of trees for a given location and climate. Applicants are required to describe how their projects also contribute to ecological and biodiversity goals.

Partners report on the number of trees planted once tree-planting activities have concluded, as outlined in their contribution agreements.

Natural Resources Canada and the 2BT program also receive expert advice and thought leadership from the external Nature-based Climate Solutions Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee consists of 16 experts in nature-based climate solutions and includes Indigenous, science and non-governmental experts.

The role of shrubs

The 2BT program focuses on planting trees. However, in some instances, planting shrubs alongside trees supports tree survival and health. The 2BT program therefore also funds the planting of shrubs (up to 15% of project funding can be used for shrubs), but planted shrubs do not count toward the two billion trees program goal. In order for shrubs to be eligible for funding, applicants must demonstrate that these plantings will be a protective measure to support the survival and health of the trees planted or that the shrub species are native and an essential component for habitat restoration objectives.

Partnerships with provinces and territories

The Government of Canada is moving toward an Agreement in Principle with partner jurisdictions under the program’s provincial and territorial stream. The agreements, once signed, will demonstrate a shared commitment to the multiple objectives of the 2BT program, focused on enduring environmental benefits (e.g., biodiversity, GHG) and monitoring prior to project commencement. The Agreement in Principle clearly sets out shared desired outcomes that are collaborative and focused on climate action and environmental co-benefits. The program anticipates that provinces and territories across Canada will plant over one billion trees over the 10 years of the 2BT program.

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SOURCE Natural Resources Canada

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