Oakville begins second year of renewal plans for EAB-infested woodlands

Ash Tree attacked by EAB
Oakville begins second year of renewal plans for EAB-infested woodlands

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Gisele Shaw

Gisele Shaw

Gisele Shaw is the Manager of Corporate Communication for the town of Oakville since 2002. Prior to working for the town she worked for Halton Region as a communications specialist. She is a graduate of Humber College.

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This winter, as weather and ground conditions permit, the town’s contractor will begin year two of the Woodlands Hazard Abatement program to remove ash trees damaged by the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) from the town’s woodlands and improve the overall health of the forest. The majority of properties in this year’s program are in Bronte, Glen Abbey and Morrison Valley area. A map of the properties in the program is available on the town’s website.

Residents are invited to the community open house at Queen Elizabeth Park Community and Cultural Centre on February 4 from 6 to 8 p.m. to learn more.

“Council is committed to protecting and growing Oakville’s tree canopy,” Mayor Rob Burton said. “The town continues to maintain the long-term health of our urban forest by using best forestry management practices — one of the many ways we are creating a more livable and sustainable future for Oakville residents.”

Removing dead and dying trees near woodland trails and bordering properties keeps people safe and allows new trees and shrubs to grow, renewing the forest more rapidly. Removal of trees from all ash-populated woodlands is part of a ten-plus year program. Portions of the woodlands will be temporarily closed over periods throughout the year while trees are removed.

“We understand the death and loss of trees caused by EAB is of great concern to residents.” said John McNeil, manager, Forestry Services. “We encourage residents to come to the open house, talk with the experts, and learn about how EAB is affecting the woodlands and the plans for their future restoration.”

While the town will establish intensive planting sites in select areas, natural regeneration will account for most of the regrowth in the woodlands. Following tree removals, the logs, branches and wood debris left on the forest floor will eventually break down, nourishing the soil, and aid in the natural regrowth of shrubs and trees. Tree plantings and preparation for regrowth begins this spring and fall in woodlands where ash trees were removed last year.

McNeil cites Iroquois Shoreline Woods as a great example of how a forest can regrow. In 2002 nearly 4,000 of the woodland’s oak trees, comprising the majority of the tree canopy, died. The town developed a long-term forest management plan to restore the forest through plantings and natural regeneration. He says that anyone walking through the area today would find it hard to imagine that only a decade ago, the forest lost 80 per cent of its trees.

In keeping with best forest management practices, the town will also remove some invasive species and trees other than ash that are identified as structurally unsound or are over-crowding the forest. By following this sustainable forest management approach, the Town of Oakville is the first lower-tier municipality in Canada to have all of its woodlands achieve Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) certification through the forest certification program of the Eastern Ontario Model Forest. The FSC® is an international, membership-based, non-profit organization that supports environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world’s forests.

The town continues to treat municipal ash trees on streets and in parks with the bio insecticide TreeAzin to protect against EAB. To get the latest information about the town’s EAB management program, visit oakville.ca.

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