Wednesday, January 19, 2022

How Does Canada Plant So Many Trees?

Almost every Canadian has heard about the importance of tree planting.  And many Canadians know that a very large number of trees are planted in Canada each year.  Current estimates are that over 700 Million trees are planted each year across the country!  Some of these are planted after logging companies harvest timber for lumber or pulp & paper, and some are planted because it's just good for the environment.


Recently, Canada's federal government promised that they would help ensure that an extra TWO BILLION trees would be planted in Canada over the next ten years.  That's an extra 200 million trees per year, on top of the 700 million trees already being planted.  That brings the total to just under a billion trees per year!  Canadians should be proud.

Some of the trees are planted in what is known as "reforestation."  This is when a previously forested area gets planted again, to bring back a forest that is no longer there.  There are various reasons for replanting areas.  Most people immediately recognize that "replanting" occurs after logging.  But the truth is that it's a lot bigger than that.  Wildfires and insects typically kill far more trees than the logging industry, so there's always a lot of work funded by government or NGO's to fix problems after forest fires, and after tree beetle outbreaks.

Some tree planting projects focus on "afforestation."  This is when people plant trees in areas that have not had any trees recently.  If a farm has old pastureland that is not used anymore for livestock or growing food, the farmers will sometimes decide to turn it back into a forest.  And sometimes, grasslands that don't contain habitat for at-risk species will be planted, to build a new forest.


Trees are planted all over the country.  The majority are planted in British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario, but every single province has its own tree planting programs.

Who plants the trees?  Typically, the spring and summer months are the easiest months to plant trees, because the weather is good and the ground isn't covered with snow.  Because of this, a lot of university students spend their summers planting.  But tree planting also takes place in the fall.  Some tree planting is done by large companies.  Some is done by small companies.  And some is done by NGO's and volunteers.  The variety and diversity of people who plant trees is quite incredible.

There's also a lot of variety in the types of trees that are planted.  Typically, the majority of trees planted are coniferous.  This means that they're "cone bearing" trees.  Most Canadians are familiar with these species:  pine, spruce, fir, cedar, and a few other less common species.  Most of these coniferous trees keep their needles over the winter, so they stay green year-round.



 Some people also plant "deciduous" trees.  This refers to trees with leaves that drop off the tree each winter.  You're familiar with different types of deciduous trees:  oak, birch, elms, chestnuts, and of course our favorite, the maple tree.

All told, more than forty different species of tree are planted across Canada each year!

In these uncertain times for the environment, I'm glad that Canadians place so much importance on tree planting.

If you'd like to learn more about tree planting in Canada, please visit the educational tree planting site at:


Maybe you'll want to go out to your backyard this summer, and plant a tree!

- Jonathan "Scooter" Clark
Professional Tree Planter