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Forest Conversion - Another Hot Topic! 
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By Mark Richardson, General Manager, EOMF

Southern Ontario is a settled landscape, consisting mainly of privately-owned forested, farm and urban land, where, for the most part, landowners have a relatively wide latitude of options when it comes to making decisions about what happens on that land.  This is the way it should be; landowners making decisions about what they want to do with their land – farm it, cut trees on it, plant trees on it, live on it, along with countless other possibilities that await folks working toward accomplishing their individual property objectives.

One of the most important roles that the EOMF continues to play is to help landowners make informed decisions about what to do on their properties and how to do it.  Our influence comes through partnerships, information sharing, and programs in which participation is always voluntary. Governments, on the other hand, have a different role to play and manage societal values by influencing property-level decision making though a combination of regulation and programs.

Our land base has the capacity to supply us with so many different values that it should not be surprising that some of them appear to be contradictory but, for the most part, we are able to function with a system that encourages a mosaic of different uses across the landscape.

Agriculture and forestry are two prime examples where differing land use practices can cohabitate regionally and often within an individual property. Although land ownership provides us with certain land use freedoms, as much as it does with certain legal responsibilities, we vigorously defend our ability to exercise these freedoms within the limits set by our obligations to follow the federal, provincial and municipal statutes. This can result in a polarization of public and private opinion regarding some land use practices.

This brings us to the topic at hand, forest conversion, which can be thought of as the replacement of a forest or stand of trees with some other type of land use.  In the settled landscape, the removal of tree cover has been happening at varying rates since the time of European settlement. In addition, forests have been returning to some open areas either through natural succession, where trees are allowed to slowly re-colonize a site, or through direct reforestation and afforestation (tree planting to speed up the return of a site to tree cover).

For more information and discussion on this topic check back here often, and, please join the conversation by adding your comments to this Blog!

geomapPlease check our interactive map in the About Us > Geographic Area section!  Explore the various layers of data that you can overlay on a satellite view of our region, including certified lands and the boundaries administered by local conservation authorities and stewardship councils.  A work in progress we will be adding new layers to over time. A special thanks to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources for providing some of the raw data.  Come on back to this Blog and let us know what you think!

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