The Eastern Ontario Model Forest (EOMF) is a not-for-profit, charitable organization that works to promote sustainable forest management practices througout Ontario.

Our core programs of Forest Certification, Forest Education and Outreach, Regional Forest Health Network and Community Forest Carbon Offsets are guided by a desire to balance the economic, social and environmental pillars of sustainability.

OPFA 03Loggers in Renfrew County Forest helping to create wildlife habitat by topping dead red pine tress, when safe to do so!
Photo credit: Lacey Rose
In 1999 the EOMF began to explore forest certification as a means of promoting sustainable forest management for private forest owners. In 2003 the EOMF received Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) Group Forest Management certification (FSC® Co18800). Our “Forest Certification Program” now covers over 82,000 hectares of certified forest, represented by 13 community forests, 110 private forest owners, 2 commercial forests, 3 independent forest managers and 5 maple syrup producers. Each forest owner manages their forests based on FSC®’s 10 Principles of sustainable management and detailed in the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Region Standards.

Key to the principles of sustainable management is managing for biodiversity and creating or enhancing wildlife habitat, while ensuring other environmental, social, and economic benefits are achieved. During many of our field visits and annual FSC® audits, we have witnessed first hand the commitment and dedication that forest managers have towards the importance of forest biodiversity and wildlife creation and enhancement initiatives.

The range of biodiversity and wildlife enhancement projects taking place on certified forests is both impressive in number and scope. Private forest owners, community forest managers, and loggers alike are leading and implementing these types of projects at both the stand and landscape levels. A short list of these projects includes invasive species control, development of Biodiversity Strategies, rare species recovery, species at risk habitat enhancement and protection, riparian habitat restoration, wetland protection, medicinal and culturally significant plant surveys, intensive wildlife management areas, to name a few.

The following two examples demonstrate the range and scale of involvement of certified forest managers in promoting healthy diverse forest ecosystems.

Bruce County Forests - Enriching biodiversity in white cedar dominated forests 

Bruce County owns approximately 4,700 hectares of forest, located over eight tracts. The largest of these properties is the Lindsay Tract, which is 2,800 ha of primarily cedar dominant stands located in the Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula. Cedar is one of the most sought after species by local timber producers, but managing this particular resource poses many challenges, including excessive blow-down, slash management, herbaceous competition, and the establishment of desireable regeneration.

OPFA 02Forty small patch clear-cuts, Lindsay Tract.
Photo credit: Kevin Predon
A recent cedar harvest operation in 2016 demonstrated a unique harvest method to address these challenges, while promoting species and habitat diversity. Kevin Predon, Forest Manager for Bruce County implemented a harvest system of small circular patch clearcuts with connecting corridors. This system had been suggested by Fred Pinto, RPF.

The harvest area was delineated into 40 individual circular clear-cuts, approximately 30-50 metres in diameter, with connecting corridors. This method allowed the lower density areas to be left undisturbed while targeting those that were more operationally feasible. The cut areas helped to create greater habitat diversity while the uncut areas provided a good supply of desirable seeds, including white pine.

There is also a significant population of Massassauga Ratttlesnakes, a species at risk, living in the Lindsay Tract. To mitigate the risk of harming any snakes, operational timing restrictions were used as outlined in MNRF’s Forest Management Guide for Conserving Biodiversity at the Stand and Site Scales. As a result, harvest was restricted to the winter months.

OPFA 01Massassauga rattlesnake Lindsay Tract cutover.
Photo credit: Kevin Predon
Early observations have been positive. The slash left on site as helped to protect the shallow soils, while machine travel has broken and lowered the slash, thus hastening decomposition. Regeneration in the form of white pine has already begun to germinate in the exposed soil areas and few trees have fallen over in the uncut areas as a result of the smaller openings. Furthermore, while conducting a summer site visit in 2018 a few Massassaugas were encounter, an encouraging sign!

Northumberland Count Forest – Advancing Oak Savannah Habitat 

The Northumberland County Forest is 2,225 ha of mainly forested land on the Oak Ridges Moraine.  The forest is a mix of planted and natural forest and wetlands.  One of the most unique communities present is the globally rare ecosystem - Black Oak savannah and woodland.  Less than one percent of this habitat is left in North American due to habitat modification, habitat loss, succession and fire suppression.  Oak regeneration is being replaced with maple and cherry, and the unique species that depend on the ecosystem are also disappearing.

OPFA 04Oak Savannah habitat prescribed burn, Northumberland County Forest
Photo credit: Todd Farrell
“Typically, the management of this ecosystem involves prescribed burns”, says Todd Farrell, Forest Manager.  This increases light levels, helps to remove non-native and non-woodland plants and helps stimulate oak regeneration.  Research in the United States has shown that a combination of thinning of canopy trees and prescribed burns provides the desirable environment for this ecosystem to thrive. Northumberland County Forest has documented these areas as high conservation values and are using thinning and prescribed burns to ensure these globally rare habitats and the species that live in them prosper.

EOMF would like to thank the private forest owners and community forest managers who contributed content to this article, in particular Kevin Predon, Forest Manager for Bruce County and Todd Farrell, Forest Manager for Northumberland County.

The EOMF is excited to announce that Bruce County is the first community forest from the EOMF Certification Program to partner with Bluesource Canada to make the County part of the solution to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

KEMPTVILLE, ONTARIO — Last year, the Eastern Ontario Model Forest (EOMF) partnered with Bluesource Canada to help forest certification members such as Bruce County navigate through the complexity of carbon credit development, verification and marketing. In the partnership, the EOMF and Bluesource Canada provide guidance to those community forests that are interested in pursuing the opportunity.

Bruce County has a long history of sustainable forest management. In the early to mid-1900’s, the County began purchasing privately owned lands that were devastated by over harvesting or land clearing. These marginal lands were replanted mainly with conifers (evergreens) and managed to promote a natural forest condition, consisting of both hardwoods and conifers. In 2017 Bruce County achieved Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) certification (FSC® C01880) through the EOMF.

Warden Mitch Twolan stated that “The County is the first public sector forest owner in the Province of Ontario to respond to the global climate crisis in this way, and we are proud of our meaningful response to the international rally cry from the 2015 Paris Accord”.

Once a forest owner decides to move forward with a carbon offset project, one of their first steps is to become certified, making the EOMF an ideal starting point for community forests interested in this opportunity. The EOMF has been promoting sustainable forest management since its inception in 1992 and is a leader in private land forest certification. It started its Certification Program in 2002 and currently holds a Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) certificate (FSC® C018800) for over 82,000 ha of private forest lands in Ontario including community forests, commercial forest owners, maple syrup producers and private woodlots.

Astrid Nielsen, General Manager at the EOMF said “The signing of the agreement between Bluesource Canada and the County of Bruce is a significant landmark for the EOMF and an opportunity for other Community Forests in Ontario”. She added that “Aside from helping to combat climate change, the development of carbon offsets will also contribute to a host of other ecosystem benefits such as clean drinking water, healthy wildlife habitats and recreational opportunities. These benefits will be realized while maintaining a vibrant forest economy”.

Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the air- a process that helps to slow climate change. Forest owners, such as Bruce County, who go beyond common practice forest management and commit to a high standard of sustainable growth of the forestry inventory over the longer-term, can get credit for this additional commitment. These credits can then be purchased by carbon emitters. The partnership shall see the County of Bruce and Bluesource bring the sale of carbon credits to market through project assessment and screening, project development validation and verification, registration, marketing, and monetization.

Bluesource Canada is the leading carbon offset developer in North America and is recognized as such by clients and industry peers in the Environmental Finance rankings. It has the forestry and market expertise to help evaluate options for forest owners across North America and generate value in diverse carbon markets by developing and monetizing offsets on their behalf.

Jamie MacKinnon, VP of Environmental Solutions at Bluesource Canada said “We are thrilled by Bruce County’s leadership and we look forward to working with the County to realize the forest carbon offset opportunity. We are also confident that the carbon market can provide many more landowners with a monetary incentive that meaningfully rewards land owner commitments to sustainable forest management.”


Astrid Nielsen, RPF
General Manager
Eastern Ontario Model Forest
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Jamie MacKinnon
Vice President, Environmental Solutions
Bluesource Canada
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Chris LaForest, Strategic Initiatives Specialist
Office of the C.A.O., Bruce County
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The Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

Posted: Friday, 01 March 2019

A species few people have heard of – yet it is devastating the Hemlock forests and the delicate ecosystems that depend upon them. From infestations in our own backyards, the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid has already spread throughout the east coast of North America from the Carolinas up into Canada.

View this informative video by Chris Foito.

For other Regional Forest Health Network videos, visit our video library

Urban Forests: Progress and Challenges

Posted: Wednesday, 16 January 2019

On December 12th, 2018 the Eastern Ontario Model Forest and the Ottawa Chapter of the Canadian Institute of Forestry hosted its Christmas Forest Lecture on the subject of urban and near-urban forests – "Urban Forests: Nice to have? No, need to have". An article summarizing the discussions has been prepared (read article). In addition, a number of the presentations have been posted in the Publications section of the website

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