Healthy Forests Benefit Everyone
A healthy, well managed woodlot provides long-term benefits to the owner in the form of financial returns on the timber harvested and protection against soil erosion in adjacent fields caused by both wind and water.
Woodlots also benefit neighbouring communities by improving surface water quality and helping to manage storm water drainage, which prevents flooding issues.
To ensure that privately owned woodlots are sustainably managed for the long-term benefit of owners and the surrounding communities, Huron County has a by-law in place that regulates commercial harvesting and the clearing of forests.
The first Huron County “Tree By-Law” was passed in 1947 with the support of landowners and the farm community who were concerned about the soil erosion and water issues that resulted from widespread clear cutting and over-harvesting by previous generations.
Activities Regulated Under the By-Law
Any landowner or contractor in the County of Huron who is considering a timber harvest or other tree cutting activity in woodlots needs to know the County by-law.
All woodlots greater than 0.5 acres (0.2 hectares) are regulated. The size of a woodlot is not determined by property boundaries but by the number of trees per acre of a certain size. The larger the trees, the fewer that are required per area for the bylaw to apply. Native tree species of any size are included.
The by-law does not apply to owners harvesting trees on their own property for personal use (e.g., firewood) as long as the total number of trees per acre is not reduced below the threshold that defines a woodlot in the by-law.
Steps to Apply for a Commercial Harvest
Commercial timber harvests require a short form called a Notice of Intent to be filed by the contractor or the landowner at least ten weekdays prior to the harvest starting.
Trees to be harvested must be clearly marked with paint on two sides and at the base. Trees must have reached a minimum circumference as defined in the by-law in order to be harvested, unless they have been marked using good forestry practices by a member of the Ontario Professional Foresters Association.
For a complete schedule of steps, or to discuss your needs, contact the County Forest Conservation Officer using the information provided below.
Services Offered to Woodlot Owners
Through the office of the Forest Conservation Officer, Huron County offers a suite of services to woodlot owners, including:
- Providing general advice on forest management, woodlot enhancement and forest product marketing;
- Pre-consultations prior to tree removal to ensure compliance with the Forest Conservation By-Law; and
- Assisting landowners to apply for the new Huron Clean Water Project Forest Management funding, which provides grants up to 50% of the cost of hiring professional forestry consultants.
For more information on how to get the most of your woodlot, consult the list of helpful web-based resources below, or contact:
County of Huron Forest Conservation Officer
Tel: 519.524.8394 ext. 3
Management of County Owned Forests
The fourteen forest tracts owned by the County are a legacy of the massive reforestation effort across southern Ontario that was undertaken by municipalities in partnership with the province starting in the early 1900’s. Totaling over 1600 acres, these forests are symbolic of a province-wide effort to reverse serious problems including soil erosion, flooding and water pollution that resulted from non-strategic clearing and a lack of forest management by the early settlers of Ontario. With proper management and community partnerships, these forest tracts can serve as valuable sources of environmental protection, education and recreation for current and future generations in Huron County. Forests For Our Future is a strategic plan for the thirteen County forests and makes management recommendations for the next twenty years.
Local Tree Planting & Stewardship Programs
- Ausable-Bayfield Conservation Authority
- Maitland Valley Conservation Authority
- Huron Stewardship Council