B.C. plants its 10-billionth tree

Province of British Columbia
By Province of British Columbia
April 15th, 2024

B.C. is celebrating the 10-billionth tree planted since reforestation programs began in 1930, with two billion of those trees planted in the past seven years.

“Throughout the province, people are seeing the impacts of climate change on our forests,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Forests. “To support healthy forests for people and communities, we are accelerating tree planting and building on decades of work restoring our forests that provide clean air, recreation, local jobs and so much more. Today’s tremendous achievement is a culmination of those efforts, in partnership with many forest licensees and hard-working tree planters.”

Last year, 305 million seedlings were planted in B.C. forests. One of these seedlings was the 10-billionth planted since work began almost a century ago. In honour of this milestone, Ralston planted a ceremonial tree in Surrey’s Green Timbers Urban Forest Park. The park, dubbed the “birthplace of reforestation,” is home to the Province’s first reforestation efforts in 1930.

Forest tenure holders have been legally required to undertake reforestation efforts since 1987. In 2024, 235 million of the 290 million seedlings expected to be planted will be done through forestry companies, with an additional five million planted by First Nations.

“Ten billion seedlings planted is a remarkable achievement in making sure our forests are with us for generations to come,” Ralston said. “It’s easy to get lost in the number, but there’s a very human story here, too. Planting 10 billion trees means 10 billion carefully wielded shovels by 20 billion hands across almost 100 years. This is an accomplishment we can all be proud of, and it’s an honour to play a small part in that number by planting this tree today.”

In addition to legislated reforestation efforts, the Province will plant an additional 50 million trees this year through several provincial and federal programs. These initiatives focus reforestation efforts on areas that have been adversely affected by natural disturbances, such as mountain pine beetle infestations and wildfire.

“The planting of 10 billion trees in our province is one of B.C.’s most important mega projects,” said John Betts, executive director, Western Forestry Contractors’ Association. “Besides the hard work involved, it’s an act of optimism where the full benefits won’t be realized until well into the future. It’s a fine legacy for all the thousands of nursery workers, planters and foresters involved over the years.”

Included in the 10 billion is a milestone from the Ministry of Forests’ BC Timber Sales (BCTS), which is marking its one-billionth tree planted since the organization was founded in 2003. BCTS issues approximately 40 tree-planting contracts to local and small business operators throughout the province every season. By partnering with other Ministry of Forests branches, as well as industry and the planting contract community, it contributes to the successful planting of millions of seedlings each year.

The Province’s research and investment programs continue to work improving silviculture practices to boost the success of every seedling and help make sure B.C.’s forests are resilient in a changing climate. Climate resiliency is one reason why the Province provided the Bulkley Valley Centre for Natural Resources Research and Management – a world-class research institute based in Smithers – with $10 million in 2023. Its new Silviculture Innovation Program will support research and innovative practices that better address forest and ecosystem health.

Quick Facts:

  • The provincial Forest Investment Program has yearly targets to plant 40 million to 50 million seedlings.
  • The program aims to reduce or sequester greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of two million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year through forest investment activities, such as planting and fertilization.
  • BCTS is responsible for reforesting approximately 30,000 hectares (74,130 acres) of land annually, playing an active role in replenishing forests adversely affected by timber harvesting, fires, pests and natural disasters.
  • BCTS has been working with tree nurseries on innovative ways to reduce waste, packaging seedlings without the use of single-use plastics.

Learn More:

B.C.’s silviculture practices:

BCTS – seedling services:

Categories: General