Managing Red Pine Plantations
Red pine planting
in Ontario dates back to the 1920s. These early reforestation efforts
were largely the initiative of the provincial government. Most of the
forest cover was removed in the previous century by settlers clearing
the land for agriculture. However, large areas of sandy soils throughout
southern Ontario could not sustain agricultural practices and this marginal
farmland was soon abandoned. To prevent soil erosion, tree planting
programs were initiated, and the most suitable species for planting
in sandy soils was red pine.
Some of the best
examples of red pine plantation management can be found in various Agreement
Forests across southern Ontario. The LaRose Forest near Ottawa, the
Durham and York Regional Forests near Toronto, and the Hendrie Forest
near Barrie were some of the first major red pine plantings.
In the 1960s, the reforestation emphasis shifted from public land to private land with the implementation of the Woodlands Improvement Act (WIA) program. As a result, there are now healthy red pine plantations on both public and private land, ready for harvesting and other management activities. Many of these plantations are now mature and provide the right conditions to restore a more natural forest, as well as critical wildlife habitat. This Extension Note provides details on how to best manage your planned or existing red pine plantation for forest products and environmental benefits.
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