The history of deforestation in Southwestern Ontario and methods used in afforestation of old agricultural fields – a literature review
Honours Bachelor of Science in Forestry
DisciplineNatural Resources Management
History of settlement southern Ontario
Private land tree planting
Tree planting methods
MetadataShow full item record
The forests of southwestern Ontario were logged in the 1700’s for use by the British and French navies as ship masts, spars and hulls. Early settlers cleared the forests to make way for agriculture and settlements. The large-scale deforestation had devastating results to the land and people. Erosion, flooding, drought, loss of wildlife and fish habitat, the inability to grow crops and deserted farms resulted. Eventually, it was recognized that planting trees was the only way that the damage could be restored. As a result, legislation was passed to encourage tree planting but it took time and the willingness of municipalities, landowners, government and concerned agricultural groups for trees to be planted on a larger scale. This thesis is a literature review describing the history of land clearing in southwestern Ontario and explores the use of afforestation methods to regenerate old agricultural fields. A great deal has been learned about the best practices for success in afforestation. Understanding soil type, matching tree species to soil, species requirements, planting methods, competition control and tending are all important factors. After over two hundred years when deforestation started restoration of the land still continues in southwestern Ontario as is exemplified by popular tree planting programs in effect today such as the 50 Million tree program.