Millions more trees on way to being planted

The federal government's lofty goal of having two billion new trees planted across the country over the next seven years appears to be starting to gain ground. A Natural Resources Canada spokeswoman said this week that as of March this year, its tree-planting initiative has "agreements committed or under negotiation to plant over 553 million trees, meaning our goal of two billion trees is now over 25 per cent funded." As of last summer, more than 110 million tree seedlings, or five per cent of the total target, had been put into the ground, the spokeswoman said. Local efforts also continue, including Lakehead Region Conservation Authority's annual seedlings-planting program, which kicked off earlier this spring. The conservation authority's program has resulted in more than 159,000 seedlings being put into the ground across the agency's watershed since it was started in 2009. White spruce, black spruce or jack pine seedlings used in this year's version of the conservation authority's program come from Kevin Vanduyn's Murillo-based greenhouse. According to a U.S. Forest Service backgrounder, "in one year a mature tree will absorb more than 48 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen in exchange." Oxygen is released into the air from trees as a byproduct of photosynthesis. "I am literally creating little generators of oxygen," Vanduyn remarked in an earlier interview.

Carl Clutchey, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, The Chronicle-Journal