Increased urbanization and land management practices have led to a gradual loss of a large percentage of quality forest and woodland habitats throughout the Greater Toronto Area. Remaining woodland has been severely encroached upon or become fragmented. The loss of this valuable habitat has led to the reduction of native plant and wildlife species in the GTA.
For more than fifty years, Conservation Halton has played a major role in forest management, tree and shrub planting, and reforestation throughout our watershed. Conservation Halton has planted over 2.25 million trees over the past 50 years. These activities provide a variety of environmental benefits, which include protecting water quality and quantity, reducing soil erosion, and cleaning our air. Each year thousands of trees and shrubs are planted in our jurisdiction by our staff and our partners in conservation, and by landowners who participate in our forestry and stewardship programs.
Many bird and animal species require large areas of forest for foraging and to survive from predation. Fragmented and small pockets of woodland do not meet the territorial requirements of sensitive species. The watershed’s natural environment includes unique features, environmentally sensitive habitats, urban areas, and rich wetlands. To date, Conservation Halton has acquired more than 3,600 hectares of conservation lands that are being protected. Conservation Halton manages a large forest resource using sound sustainable forest management practices involving silviculture and wildlife habitat improvements, which contribute to the health of the watershed's natural environment.
Over the years, Conservation Halton has worked with hundreds of school groups and local communities to create a legacy of healthy forests. Planting events provide hands on learning experiences, promote local stewardship and educate participants about conservation issues. In 2006, Conservation Halton launched a community tree-planting program called Trees for Watershed Health. The program is designed to draw attention to Conservation Halton’s longstanding commitment to forestry programs and their environmental significance. This community outreach and education program provides meaningful volunteer tree planting opportunities to watershed residents. In addition, Conservation Halton makes every effort to educate watershed residents on the environmental, human health and economic benefits of planting native tree species and practicing healthy, sustainable forest management.
For a glossary of important tree terms, click here.