Proposed update to Ontario’s Tree Seed Transfer Policy

ERO number
019-0452
Notice type
Policy
Posted by
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Notice stage
Decision
Decision posted
Comment period
October 16, 2019 - November 15, 2019 (30 days) Closed
Last updated

This consultation was open from:
October 16, 2019
to November 15, 2019

Decision summary

We are proceeding with the update to Ontario’s Tree Seed Transfer Policy which, provides guidance on selecting tree seeds that will be well adapted to their environment and produce healthy trees to support wood supply and many environmental services.

Decision details

A decision was made on July 24, 2020 to proceed with the proposal as described.

The Ontario Tree Seed Transfer Policy (2020) replaces the Seed Zones of Ontario (2010).

A link to the final document is provided under the Supporting materials section.

Comments received

Through the registry

5

By email

0

By mail

0
View comments submitted through the registry

Effects of consultation

The comments were generally supportive of the proposal and the steps taken to consider climate change.

Supporting materials

View materials in person

Important notice: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, viewing supporting materials in person is not available at this time.

Please reach out to the Contact listed in this notice to see if alternate arrangements can be made.

Forest Guides and Silviculture Section, Crown Forests and Lands Policy Branch
Address

70 Foster Drive
Suite 400
Sault Ste. Marie, ON
P6A 6V5
Canada

Connect with us

Contact

Ngaire Roubal

Phone number
Email address
Office
Crown Forests and Lands Policy Branch, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Address

70 Foster Drive, Suite 400
Sault Ste. Marie, ON
P6A 6V5
Canada

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Original proposal

ERO number
019-0452
Notice type
Policy
Posted by
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Proposal posted

Comment period

October 16, 2019 - November 15, 2019 (30 days)

Proposal details

What we’re doing

We are proposing to replace the Seed Zones of Ontario with the updated Ontario Tree Seed Transfer Policy.

We are committed to managing our forests sustainably to ensure the long-term health of Ontario’s forests. This involves selecting tree seed that is adapted to its planting or seeding site conditions as part of Ontario’s renewal efforts.

Through “A Made-In Ontario Environment Plan”, we are addressing climate change by developing adaptation strategies and improving the resilience of natural ecosystems. Growing well-adapted trees helps maintain healthy and diverse forests, a key strategy for creating a resilient forest that can endure many threats, including climate change. In support of the Environment Plan, the proposed policy provides guidance for seed transfer given a changing climate and supports forest managers in developing adaptation strategies in forest management plans. These adaptation strategies may involve using a mix of locally sourced seed as well as seed that has been transferred in response to forecast changes in climate. Seed transfer involves moving seed from where it is collected, to an environmentally suitable growing site.

Existing policy and opportunities for change

The existing policy is based on a static climate with a system of 38 fixed geographic seed zones that have been in use since 1997 and were created based on historical climate data. Many advances in data, science and modelling have occurred since that time. In addition, Ontario’s environment is changing and relying strictly on local seed may not be the best strategy in a changing climate.

We are proposing the updated policy in response to the forest sector identifying the need for a policy that:

  • enables the forest sector to implement forest renewal programs (e.g., tree planting) that address climate change
  • supports forest industry and communities by providing for a long-term sustainable supply of wood
  • provides clarity in direction and streamlines approval processes making them faster and more predictable
  • provides a proactive approach to reduce risks related to a changing climate
  • updates the direction with higher quality data and technology
  • reflects current operational contexts such as the expanded Area of the Undertaking, changed roles and responsibilities and administrative boundaries
  • protects current and future investments in forest renewal activities
  • facilitates the management of seed for the benefit of future forest health and vitality

Proposed Changes

In response to those needs, proposed changes to the existing policy include:

  • facilitating the development of adaptation strategies in forest management plans since the proposed policy considers climate change
  • selecting seed source based on recent climate and genetics information
  • enabling seed transfer beyond local seed collection areas including identification of suitable seed sources from outside the province
  • increasing flexibility for the forest sector to match tree seed to planting sites
  • using advances in genetics and climate science to develop a modernized seed transfer approach
  • enabling the transfer of tree seed by determining the location of climatically suitable growing sites
  • clarifying direction and streamlining the approval process by permitting seed transfer beyond local seed collection areas
  • recognizing the uncertainties in how the climate will respond and how trees will adapt and incorporating measures to reduce associated risks
  • providing interactive maps and data for the entire province
  • transitioning from the use of seed zones to ecodistricts for tracking purposes

We anticipate these changes will support the forest sector needs for sustaining the long-term health, productivity and vitality of Ontario’s Crown forests, for present and future generations.

Engagement

The proposed policy was developed in collaboration between the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) and Canadian Forest Service scientists, using advances in science to develop a modernized seed transfer approach for Ontario. We also received technical input during the development of this policy from forest practitioners and that is reflected in this proposal.

Through this policy proposal, we are engaging in a dialogue about the updates to the Ontario’s Tree Seed Transfer Policy to help sustain the long-term vitality of Ontario’s forests. Based on the results of consultation, seed transfer policy will be finalized to provide updated guidance to choose tree seed that is well-adapted to its growing environment.

Supporting materials

View materials in person

Important notice: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, viewing supporting materials in person is not available at this time.

Please reach out to the Contact listed in this notice to see if alternate arrangements can be made.

Forest Guides and Silviculture Section, Crown Forests and Lands Policy Branch
Address

70 Foster Drive
Suite 400
Sault Ste. Marie, ON
P6A 6V5
Canada

Comment

Commenting is now closed.

This consultation was open from October 16, 2019
to November 15, 2019

Connect with us

Contact

Peter Henry, Section Manager

Phone number
Email address
Office
Forest Guides and Silviculture Section, Crown Forests and Lands Policy Branch
Address

70 Foster Drive
Suite 400
Sault Ste. Marie, ON
P6A 6V5
Canada