PEI

Environment minister concerned P.E.I. forests 'drastically reduced'

Environment and Climate Action Minister Steven Myers is concerned about the state of forests on Prince Edward Island.

Steven Myers aiming to double tree planting

Forests have not received enough attention in recent years, says Environment and Climate Action Minister Steven Myers. (P.E.I. Legislative Assembly)

Environment and Climate Action Minister Steven Myers is concerned about the state of forests on Prince Edward Island.

Myers expressed his concern in the legislature Tuesday in response to a question from a member of his own caucus.

Myers said the province will soon have the results of the 2020 aerial imaging survey, something P.E.I undertakes once a decade. He is not expecting good news.

"I'm not sure if enough focus has been put on our forestry sector in the last 10 years here on Prince Edward Island. I suspect that the pictures are going to show that we've drastically reduced the amount of forest here in Prince Edward Island," he said.

The province is making plans to expand and create new forest areas. (Nature Conservancy of Canada/Twitter)

"It's not good news, considering what our carbon targets are here in Prince Edward Island and how much we need forests to sequester carbon."

The province is already making plans to double the amount of tree planting on the Island, said Myers.

The planning includes growing the province's tree nursery services. His department is also exploring other ideas to add or grow forested areas. That includes planting more trees in buffer zones next to farmland, and planting on land that can no longer be used for agriculture, such as where there has been potato wart.

The minister said the initial images from the survey will be in this summer, but a full analysis will not be available until next spring.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Nicola MacLeod

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