Government of Canada Confirms 2 Billion Trees Program is Exceeding Planting Goals, Announces New Agreements to Plant 56 Million Additional Trees
August 2, 2023 Surrey, British Columbia Natural Resources Canada
Canadians have a deep appreciation for nature, and the Government of Canada is committed to protecting Canada’s natural spaces. While under threat by climate change, nature is also a critical ally in the fight against it. Trees, through their ability to capture and store carbon, play a crucial role. They can also reduce the risk of wildland fires and floods while also helping to restore areas impacted by climate-related disasters. To maximize these benefits, the government is continuing to deliver on its commitment to plant two billion trees.
Today, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, announced that Canada has supported the planting of over 110 million trees since the program was launched in 2021 - exceeding the goal to plant approximately 90 million trees during the first two years of the program and is putting us on track to achieve the two billion trees commitment. At an event today in Surrey, British Columbia, to support the Surrey Parks Forest Restoration Planting program, Minister Wilkinson planted a tree with Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke. The Minister also announced 16 new 2 Billion Trees program contribution agreements totalling over $100 million that will support the planting of an additional 56 million trees in the years ahead.
As Canadians continue to experience devastating wildfires across the country, causing the loss of habitat and biodiversity, Minister Wilkinson confirmed four of the new agreements announced today, backed by $63.9 million in federal funding, will support the planting of 35 million trees to specifically help restore wildfire-impacted forests and rehabilitate reserve lands that have been damaged by previous wildfires.
Also launched today was the 2BT Indigenous Funding stream. Of the 179 2BT planting and capacity-building projects funded under the program to date, one in five projects were Indigenous-led. The government will continue to support Indigenous-led projects now through this distinctions-based approach to program delivery, which was designed in collaboration with Indigenous groups, organizations and governments and fully recognizes the diversity of Indigenous cultures and priorities.
Provinces and territories are key participants in the 2BT program as managers of significant public lands, and their ambition and collaboration has been key to the program’s success to date. Canada has signed agreements in principle and contribution agreements with seven provinces and territories that are already advancing our planting goals. Moving forward, Minister Wilkinson will continue to work with provinces and territories to accelerate progress under the provincial and territorial stream of the program.
Planting two billion trees requires careful planning and cultivation of seedlings in nurseries, collaboration with different levels of government, non-government organizations and Indigenous groups, and a thoughtful approach to each stage of the supply chain from seed to seedling to planting. The Government of Canada will continue to work with program recipients to deliver on this program for the benefit of all Canadians.
The 2 Billion Trees program is helping to clean the air, keep neighbourhoods cool in the summer, create jobs and fight climate change while protecting nature. The program is on track to support organizations in planting two billion trees over 10 years from coast to coast to coast.
“Planting two billion trees over 10 years is a key part of Canada’s plan to fight climate change, preserve our biodiversity and restore valuable habitats. In just two years, the program has supported the planting of over 110 million trees across Canada. These trees will clean the air we breathe, make our urban spaces more enjoyable, provide new habitats for wildlife and help us adapt to our changing climate while mitigating its impacts by sequestering carbon emissions. Every tree planted is a step toward a healthier, more sustainable Canada. Our existing progress and new agreements announced today represent significant steps in the right direction.”
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson
Minister of Energy and Natural Resources
“We know that one of the best tools we have to fight climate change is nature. Our government is on track to plant two billion trees, which will go a long way to restore wildlife habitats, fight climate change and improve the livability of our cities. This latest round of tree planting projects announced in British Columbia are yet another positive step forward in reaching our goal.”
The Honourable Steven Guilbeault
Minister of Environment and Climate Change
“We are grateful for funding support through the 2 Billion Trees program, which will improve the health of our urban forest and contribute to our vision of a thriving, green, inclusive city. The 35,000 trees we are planting in parks throughout Surrey will increase biodiversity, improve our air quality and mitigate the effects of climate change.”
Mayor Brenda Locke
City of Surrey
Since 2021, the 2BT program has supported 179 tree-planting and capacity-building projects from coast to coast to coast. Ninety percent of these projects planted more than two types of trees and one in five projects were Indigenous-led. Over 220 different species were planted at more than 2,900 sites across Canada.
Planting two billion trees over the next decade is a whole-of-government and whole-of-society effort. The planting of trees through the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund, and with provinces and territories, to plant millions of new seedlings under the Low Carbon Economy Fund are captured in this effort.
Yearly planting numbers will fluctuate depending on a variety of factors like individual tree species’ life cycles, soil conditions, extreme weather events, such as drought or wildfires, reporting timelines from program recipients and seasonal climatic variation. For these reasons, the government will be adjusting the way in which it reports on progress made under the 2BT program and will be providing another one of its regular 2BT updates in the coming months that speaks to the total number of trees that the government has secured commitments to plant.
At COP15 on December 12, 2022, Minister Wilkinson announced that the City of Surrey’s Parks Forest Restoration Planting project is receiving over $207,000 under the 2BT program to plant 35,000 trees from 2022–2025 to help replace areas of passive grass and invasive species with a diverse mix of native trees.
- Backgrounder: Four New 2 Billion Trees Projects Announced to Plant Over 35 Million Trees for Wildfire Restoration Across Canada
- Backgrounder: Twelve New 2 Billion Trees Projects Announced
- Minister Wilkinson Updates Canadians on Progress Under the 2 Billion Trees Program
- 2 Billion Trees Program
- Our action: How we will get there together
- Planting the right tree in the right place for a better tomorrow
- 2 Billion Trees working with provinces and territories
- 2 Billion Trees Program ongoing call for proposals
- 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan: Clean Air, Strong Economy
- Natural Climate Solutions Fund
Natural Resources Canada
Office of the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources
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