(BlackburnNews.com file photo)

Huron County Reviews Woodlot Management

Huron County council has cleared up some of the confusion around what a landowner can do with a woodlot.

County Planner Monica Walker-Bolton says the conversation was triggered by Bluewater’s five-year review of its official plan.

The specific issue was how much control a landowner had over trees that were planted years ago and whether the landowner was able to return that land to agriculture at some point.

Walker-Bolton explains right now once trees reach a level of maturity and the forest reaches a level of maturity, it’s considered a provincially significant woodlot. It would be protected as part of the natural environment and only selective cutting of the trees would be allowed, not clear-cutting.

But county council decided to approve the adopted policy from the Municipality of Bluewater that allows tree plantations to be designated either “agriculture” or “natural environment”, depending on the long-term intended use of the land as expressed by the landowner.

Walker-Bolton adds there also has to be some clarification around the definition of plantation.

“If there’s forest plantation involved in a mapping change, either from agriculture to natural environment or vice versa, then there would be some consultation with the landowner to determine what their intent would be for that forest,” she says.