Our action: How we will get there together
The ongoing call for proposals is now open. Visit the program page for more information and how to apply.
The 2 Billion Trees program is on track
The 2 Billion Trees (2BT) program is part of the Government of Canada's broader approach to nature-based climate solutions. It will contribute to Canada's efforts mitigating climate change while achieving key biodiversity, conservation, and human well-being benefits.
The program is on track to plant two billion trees by 2031, resulting in a permanent increase in forest cover in Canada. In June 2022, Minister Wilkinson provided Canadians with an update on a successful first 2021 planting season: approximately 29 million trees from over 150 different species were planted at over 500 sites across Canada. Over the remaining nine years of the program, partner organizations will continue the tree-planting journey: from seeds to seedlings and from saplings to trees in the ground.
Tree planting moves at the speed of nature
Two billion trees start with two billion seeds.
The process to get from seeds to trees is complex and takes several years to ramp up, which is why this program has been designed to plant more trees in every planting year than the year before. By ramping up planting activities every year, we will hit our target of two billion trees planted over 10 years.
Tree planting requires careful planning to ensure the right tree is planted in the right place, for the right reasons. So, different species and sizes of trees are required in different planting projects.
Seed collection, nursery operations, site preparation, and tree planting are seasonal activities, some of which can occur only four to five months per year.
Tree planting timeline – a snapshot
- Year 0 – Land owner decides to plant trees: Provinces, territories, municipalities, and for-profit, not-for-profit, or Indigenous organizations support planting trees and define objectives and timing.
- Year 1 – Seed collection: Seeds of the desired species need to be collected or acquired, if not already available.
- Years 1–3 – Seedling growth in nurseries: Seedlings are grown in the nursery until the tree is ready to plant (typically 1–3 years for reforestation trees but up to 10 years for urban trees).
- Year 2–3 (up to 15 for urban trees) – Site preparation: 6–12 months before planting a tree, site preparation creates the right planting conditions to increase seedling survival.
- Year 2–3 (up to 15 for urban trees) – Tree planting: The tree is planted.
- Each year – Post-planting monitoring & management: Monitoring starts for health and survival rate. Measures can be taken to ensure better survival rates, such as managing competing vegetation when tree survival is threatened in early years.
- Years 7+ – Seedling is free to grow: The seedling has matured and will continue growing on its own.
Starting small and growing fast
The 2BT program funding is aligned with the tree planting supply chain business model. The model uses a 2 to 3 year production schedule, which is the time it takes to grow seedlings for most planting activities in Canada.
- The launch of the 2BT program in early 2021 signalled to nurseries across Canada that their capacity would need to increase by 40% to meet this program’s targets.
- The program will build a strong foundation by focusing on long-term agreements with tree-planting organizations that will in turn fuel stable demand on nurseries.
- As contribution agreements are signed and purchase orders are made, nurseries will be able to invest in infrastructure and seedling production.
- While that process is playing out, the government is working with partners to plant seedlings that are currently overstocked at nurseries.
After 10 years, two billion trees will have been planted across the country! The projects proposed by our program partners will determine the exact number of seeds and trees planted per year. The number of trees planted each year will gradually increase from one year to the next as the supply chain and the number of available trees grow.
Estimated Annual Trees Planted from 2021 to 2030 for the 2 Billion Tree program
Estimated Cumulative Number of Trees Planted from 2021 to 2030 for the 2 Billion Tree program
Estimated annual trees planted from 2021 to 2030 for the 2BT program: The graph shows the estimated annual trees planted from 2021 to 2030. The number of estimated seedlings planted increases slowly in the first four years of the program but, starting in 2027, reaches over 300 million trees annually and continues to the end of the program.
Estimated cumulative number of trees planted from 2021 to 2030 for the 2BT program: The graph shows the estimated cumulative number of trees planted from 2021 to 2030. The number of trees planted increases slowly from 2021 to 2025 but increases more rapidly from 2026 onward to reach a total of 2 billion trees in 2030.
The exact number of trees planted is reported by our partners after all their planting activities are completed. In the 2021 tree planting season, approximately 29 million trees were planted. Results for the 2022 tree planting season will be available in spring 2023, after the partners have submitted their final reports to the program.
Since Natural Resources Canada launched this program, many partners have shown keen interest in planting trees in both rural and urban settings. We will continue to announce tree-planting projects as agreements are signed with prospective partners.
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