In Ontario, municipalities have the responsibility of protecting natural resources on public lands. Protection can be achieved through the efforts of landowners, through bylaws or the official municipal planning process. Under the Municipal Act 2001, municipalities have the power to enact tree-cutting bylaws.
Tree protection isn’t that new in Ontario, as some may suspect. Councils of counties and townships in southern Ontario were empowered to enact tree-cutting bylaws through the Trees Conservation Act in 1946, the Trees Act in 1950 and the Forestry Act in 1998. Municipalities with a population greater than 10,000 were able to prevent the cutting of trees and as a result, there were 24 municipalities with tree-cutting bylaws passed under the Forestry Act by 2001.
Why Do We Need Bylaws?
Poor forestry practices have a negative impact on forest productivity and long-term revenue, habitat, forest health, soil & water quality. By having bylaws in place, we can prevent such negative impacts that are either extremely difficult, if not impossible to recover from.