Pledge to plant 2 billion trees lofty but attainable, Natural Resources Minister says

The federal government’s plan to plant two billion trees by 2030 is on track and is even exceeding its targets.

Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson says in the first two years of Justin Trudeau government’s tree planting pledge, 110 million trees have been planted, exceeding early targets of 90 million trees during that period.

The minister says in an age of record wildfires and devastating floods, tree planting is an important step to mitigating climate change-related disasters.

The commissioner of the environment said in a report earlier this year that the government is unlikely to reach the two billion target or get the expected emission reduction targets that go with it unless significant changes are made.

However, Wilkinson says the audit didn’t cover a six-month period when a number of agreements with provinces were signed and his government is working to include a planting monitoring program.

The minister says the first few years of the planting pledge included time to find suitable seedlings that take years to grow to planting size, and that volumes to meet the two billion tree pledge will ramp up in the years ahead.

With the 2021 floods in B.C., current fires across the country and Hurricane Fiona’s devastating blow to Nova Scotia, Wilkinson says the focus on adapting to climate change is as important as attempts to mitigating its effects.