By: The Working Forest Staff
TORONTO, NATURAL RESOURCES AND FORESTRY— 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.