Tree Conservation By-Laws

In Ontario, upper-tier municipalities are responsible for any legislation governing tree-cutting practices of private landowners on properties greater than one hectare. In many cases, the legislation is somewhat outdated and does not comply with the most current understanding of environmentally sound and sustainable practices. The practice of diameter-limit harvesting (cutting only the best and largest trees) is no longer considered good forest management. Unfortunately, harvesting the maximum timber volume will earn the highest immediate return and this is what drives diameter-limit cutting. However, if you want your woodlot to continue producing quality timber in order to bring in a steady, reliable income over time, then you will need to learn about sustainable forest management practices. Many municipalities are now updating their Tree Conservation By-laws to improve the overall health and quality of their forests. Before you begin any harvesting on your woodlot, contact your county or regional government office to find out whether a Tree Conservation By-law is in place.

Good forestry practices will require a registered professional forester to develop a plan taylored specifically for your woodlot. Even if your municipality does not require you to seek the advice of a professional we recommend this route if you want to achieve the most financial and environmental benefits from your woodlot over the long term.

Forest Conservation By-laws in Ontario is an extension note published by the MNR. This publication explains the history of tree-cutting by-laws, diameter limit cutting and the option of good forestry practices.

The Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program offers an incentive to landowners who practice good forestry practices. You may be eligible to have your property tax reassessed at 25 percent of the municipal tax rate set for residential properties.

Diameter Limit Cutting and Silviculture in Northeastern Forests is a research paper commissioned by the USDA Forestry Service to show the long-term benefits of sustainable forestry practices over diameter limit cutting.

This project was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada. | Ce projet a été réalisé avec l’appui financier du gouvernement du Canada.