‘Cooperation, not intimidation’ the rule at South Nation Conservation

Re: Local councils must act now to stop further deforestation

The Editor:

Here at South Nation Conservation, clear-cutting goes against preserving the natural surroundings that we oversee. We flinch when we see mature trees randomly removed, gouging the landscape and reducing the many benefits that our forests provide.

However, we also recognize the right of farmers to expand their farm lands, when markets warrant, by removing trees. We also recognize the right of tree removal for housing, soccer fields and factories.

And it is outside of our legal mandate to prevent it.

Legislation or not, SNC has learned that the best way to help any landowner protect the environment is through cooperation, not intimidation.

Farming is a complex industry, full of environmental rules that must be followed. SNC respects the right of farmers to remove trees to plant crops, a process that has always gone hand-in-hand with agriculture.

While trees may be cut in some areas, SNC has planted over a million trees in the past 20 years, always on land at the owner’s request. We also continue to acquire forested property — now up to 13,000 acres — and protect these forests in perpetuity.

As well, farm families have been very generous in donating forested land to SNC for public enjoyment, gifts for which they’re recognized with official openings and appropriate signage.

SNC also advises land owners about the value of trees, not only in providing shade, keeping wells full, sheltering wildlife, preventing erosion and purifying the air, but as a manageable crop in its own right.

Farmers play an instrumental role in these programs. SNC’s committees and its Board are well represented by farmers, and they help decide on funding for forestry, buffer strips, windbreaks, constructed manure containments and septic systems, to mention a few.

Councils from SNC’s 16 municipalities are also dedicated to forestry. Each year they provide SNC with hundreds of thousands of dollars for forestry and tree planting. In 2017 SNC, with the municipalities’ endorsement, will ask the local Federations of Agriculture for guidance on programs that will help farmers protect forests.

While clear-cutting isn’t a pretty sight, much is going on behind the scenes by many people and organizations to protect our forests, and to persuade landowners that the trees they have are worth preserving.

And SNC will continue to manage waterways and shorelines to keep homes, businesses, and other places where people work, shop and live, safe from flooding.

Dennis O’Grady
General Manager, South Nation Conservation


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