Field Notes

Field Notes

I live in a township that was once part of the Queen’s Bush, a clergy reserve that was surveyed and open for settlement in the late 1840s.  Before the pioneers cleared their fields, this area was nearly 100% forest and now the tree cover sits at about 10%.  The clay-loam soils here are serving farmers well for now, but research has shown that precious soil is being lost to wind erosion.  The solution is simple.  Plant trees!  I’m not talking about bringing back the Queen’s Bush, but experts have long argued that trees planted around the edges of fields and along rivers will create agro-environments that are more resilient to droughts, floods, heat and wind.  And considering the ‘global weirding’ associated with climate change, we should’ve started planting 20 years ago!

The Trees for Mapleton program has been working with farmers to plant trees around their fields and alongside the creeks on their property.  Because this has public benefit, the public is also funding these agro-forestry projects.  The Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Grand River Conservation Authority have pitched in to help Mapleton achieve its goal of 20% tree cover.  We’ve had a great start, but this is just the beginning as farmers see that agricultural and economic systems are only as sustainable as the environment that supports them.  There are similar projects popping up in neighbouring townships and all across Ontario.

Let’s get planting!

Share