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Environmental Commissioner Dianne Saxe plans visit to tree seed plant in new year

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In Council Watch
Dec 6th, 2017
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Dianne Saxe

Dianne Saxe

Facility is important in the preservation of Ontario’s biodiversity – ECO

Letter from the Environmental Commission of Ontario to Susan Antler, Friends of the Utopia Mill & Park

Thank you for your message of October 13th sharing your message to Premier Wynne and Minister McGarry regarding regarding the closing of the Tree Seed Facility.

Our apologies for the delay in responding. Your email was passed along to Ellen Schwartzel (Deputy Environmental Commissioner) for handling but through a glitch in our system she didn’t see it originally.

I have however spoken with Ellen on this topic, and she appreciates your sharing of your concerns with us, and wanted to offer two pieces of information.

1. The ECO did report on the value of the Tree Seed Plant twice about 12 and 14 years ago:

The ECO stressed the importance of the Ontario Tree Seed Plant in the 2002/2003 Annual Report 2002-03-AR: see ECO’s 2002/2003 Annual Report: pp. 194-199; ECO stated:

“The ECO encourages MNR to maintain and enhance the operation of the Ontario Tree Seed Plant. Its function as a seed bank for native species of trees from across the province’s seed zones is a public good. The Ontario Tree Seed Plant is an essential component for the future of afforestation in the province. The availability of genetically appropriate seed stock plays a crucial role in the maintenance and restoration of Ontario’s biodiversity. MNR should ensure that the Ontario Tree Seed Plant maintains sufficient stock of all native species from across the province’s seed zones.”

Recommendation at the time: “Recommendation 13 The ECO recommends that the Ministry of Natural Resources ensure that the Ontario Tree Seed Plant maintains sufficient seed stock of all native species from across the province’s seed zones.”

ECO commented again on Ontario Tree Seed Plant 2004/2005 2004-05-AR “Ensuring that seeds of trees are gathered and germinated to produce saplings for introduction into their local environment is a key consideration for conserving biodiversity, since trees grown from locally obtained seeds should be better adapted to local climate and soil conditions. MNR operates the Ontario Tree Seed Plant in Angus, Ontario. It supplies Ontario-origin seed in large quantities to nurseries and reforestation programs and helps to ensure that seeds for some native species are available.” …. “The Ontario Tree Seed Plant is MNR’s most “hands-on” activity in relation to the forests in this part of Ontario.”

2 Dr. Saxe understands the importance of the facility and is planning a site visit of the Tree Seed Plant in the new year.

The ECO hears your concern and that of numerous other Ontarians on this issue and remains committed to the belief that the facility is important in the preservation of Ontario’s biodiversity.

Regards,
Yazmin Shroff
Public Information & Outreach Officer
Environmental Commissioner of Ontario

 

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