Ontario Protecting Forest Health and Forest Sector SustainabilityPublished on December 20, 2020
Ontario is investing more than $40 million in a multi-year pest management program to protect the province's Crown forests from damage caused by the jack pine and spruce budworm. Funding for the program will be provided in part through Ontario's Forestry Futures Trust.
"Ontario is a world leader in sustainable forest management, and our forest sector is a major source of revenue and jobs in this province, so it is critical we ensure that our forests are healthy, diverse and productive," says John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. "Protecting Ontario's forests from harmful pests is one way our government will ensure that we keep Ontario's forest sector strong."
After extensive public and Indigenous consultation, the government will be targeting jack pine and spruce budworm infestations which have caused damage to forests in the northeast and northwest regions of Ontario beginning in spring 2021. If left unaddressed, these infestations could result in significant losses to the future wood supply for the forest industry and increase fire hazard risk, affecting community safety and wildlife habitat.
Investments such as this one are a key part of the recently released Sustainable Growth: Ontario's Forest Sector Strategy. This is the government's plan to create jobs and encourage economic growth in the forestry industry, support the Indigenous, northern and rural communities that depend on the sector, while ensuring the province's forests are managed sustainably for generations to come.
- The Forestry Futures Trust serves as an insurance policy for the province and is intended to be used for forest renewal activities that provide for the health of Ontario’s Crown forests. Each year, money is set aside in the Trust based on a charge for wood harvested from forestry activities.
- Ontario’s forest sector is critical to the provincial economy and many Indigenous, northern and rural communities, generating over $18 billion in revenue and supporting approximately 147,000 direct and indirect jobs in regions with few other industries.
- Spruce budworm infestations in the northeast and jack pine budworm infestations in the northwest have been monitored closely since 2014 and have grown exponentially from 2018 to 2019.
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