Tree planting campaign: Canada is not keeping its promises


The federal government is two years and only 29 million trees away from its election promise to plant two billion trees by 2030, falling short of the goal it set last year.

During the 2019 campaign, the Liberals pledged to plant two billion trees this decade, but so far they haven’t reached nearly 1.5% of the end goal, which they attribute to the years it takes to grow seedlings that can then be planted.

Despite this, Natural Resources Canada says the government is on the right track, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hailed the project at a tree planting event in Sudbury on Thursday.

Trudeau was joined by Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault and anthropologist and primatologist Jane Goodall to celebrate the region’s regreening efforts and plant the city’s 10 millionth tree.

The Premier called projects like the one in Sudbury “an integral part” of how the government can achieve its tree-planting goal.

Spread over the 10-year commitment, the government is expected to plant an additional 200 million trees per year beyond current counts. This amounts to nearly 548,000 trees per day, however, tree planting is a seasonal effort and cannot be done year round, but takes place for four to five months of the year.

Natural Resources Canada decided to plant 30 million seedlings last year, in partnership with organizations and projects approved by a panel of experts.

Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson called the 2021 planting season a “success” in a statement released last month.

“We have reached 97% of our planting goal and are on track to plant two billion trees in 10 years,” he wrote.

Wilkinson said the government now plans to sign longer-term partnerships so it can ramp up the planting of 250 to 350 trees a year by 2026. Lower planting targets over the next few years are meant to take into account the weather needed to grow a seedling. enough to be planted.

“The program strives to build a solid foundation by focusing on long-term agreements with tree-planting organizations which will in turn fuel stable demand on tree nurseries,” wrote Keean Nembhard, spokesperson for the Minister of Natural Resources, in an email to on Thursday.

“As contribution agreements are signed and purchase orders are placed, nurseries will be able to invest in infrastructure and seedling production,” he added.

The aim of the two billion tree target, the government says, is to boost both climate change efforts and the economy, creating thousands of jobs while reaping the benefits of two billion more trees in the environment.

A January Parliamentary Budget Office report said the plan to plant two billion trees by 2030 would cost nearly double what the Liberals had budgeted.