Save the Ontario Tree Seed Facility
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There are no forests without seed.
After 94 years of invaluable contribution to reforestation and for the public good, the Ontario Tree Seed Facility is scheduled to close in September 2018.The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry proposes that tree seed collection, processing and storage be left to the private sector.
This decision was made internally by the OMNRF with no public consultation and came as a shock to municipal officials, forestry stakeholders, the community and environmental organizations.
This contravenes Premier Wynne's stated goal: "We want to be the most open and transparent government in the country."
Both public and private sector experts have vehemently disagreed with the internal government decision and have expressed their concern:
- "This decision takes Ontario in a direction opposite to jurisdictions who recognize tree seed processing and banking as an essential social service to help adapt to climate change."
- "We had hoped that [the OTSF] would not only continue, but be enhanced, in service to Ontario's forests, which face the triple threats of overdevelopment, invasive alien species and climate change." (Forest Gene Conservation Association)
AWARE Essa and the Friends of Utopia Mill and Park respectfully request that Premier Kathleen Wynne and Minister Nathalie Des Rosiers:
- Put on hold any actions on the closure of the Ontario Tree Seed Facility.
- Begin a comprehensive public review to explore innovative ways to revitalize the OTSF. This review should include:
- expert analysis of the real value of the Tree Seed facility and the vital service it provides in seed collection, processing and storage. Tracking seeds by seed zones gives native trees a genetic link to local conditions that improves forest resiliency
- an assessment of the key role that OTSF plays in mitigating and adapting to climate change and increasing habitat to promote biodiversity
- recognition that the private sector alone cannot meet the challenges of ensuring the resilience of Ontario's forests
- acknowledgment of the unique expertise of Ontario Tree Seed Facility staff in tracking seed source and processing tree seeds
- recognition of the significance of the Ontario Tree Seed Plant and its founders in Ontario's history
For more information:
Two Billion Trees and Counting: The Legacy of Edmund Zavitz, John Bacher, Dundurn, 2011
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