Feds Maybe Funding Reforestation

Two Billion Trees From the Feds? The proposed scheme is called Forest 20/20 and is all about keeping Canada a world leader in sustainable forest management. But will it get past the talk stage?

Two Billion Trees From the Feds?

A high level federal proposal to plant billions of trees across the country may be moving out of the visioning and mission statement stage to something more tangible now that the Kyoto Protocol has been signed. For the past two years the federal government and the provinces’ and territories’ forest ministers have expanded on planting an estimated 2 billion fast growing trees on two million hectares over the next twenty years. The scheme is called Forest 20/20 and is all about keeping Canada a world leader in sustainable forest management. It is also not funded. And no firm commitment have emerged other than recent assurances from federal Natural Resource Minister Herb Dhaliwal to talk to his cabinet colleagues about the plan.

The idea of planting fast growing hybrid seedlings is not new. On a small scale it has proven possibilities and the original purpose of Forest 20/20 seems to have been to nudge some private and public investment in that direction. Marginal agricultural land seemed like the obvious place to start these new plantations.

But now that forests are carbon sinks and sequestering carbon is much on the minds of some politicians Forest 20/20 may receive an impetus from the Kyoto initiative. Of course that may be a double edged sword since Kyoto has become highly politicized and any proposal linked to it could suffer from the volatilities of political and public sentiment. Neither of which are particularly rational and often not all that helpful. It may be years before this plan hits the ground—if at all.