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Forestry Conservation and Management

Oxford County supports responsible forestry management practices and environmental stewardship of woodland areas within the County.

The County actively manages nine forests tracts totaling over 1,000 acres of woodlands across the County. Additionally, the County owns a number of properties that contain woodlots, meadows, thickets, and other environmentally sensitive features. In recent years, the County has enhanced efforts for reforestation and management of these lands and has planted over 15,000 trees on publicly-owned lands in the past three years. The County continues to work with local stewardship groups, woodlot owner organizations, and conservation authorities to improve the quality of the natural environment through conservation.

Reforest Oxford is also committed to good forestry conservation and management though their work advocating for enhancement of the natural environment, promoting of tree planting groups and programs, and connecting stewardship organizations with local landowners.       

Woodlands Conservation By-law

Woodlands are beneficial as they clean air, conserve soil and water, provide wildlife habitat and produce timber and other products.  As woodlands take many years to grow and mature, careful management can help ensure the sustainability of the County’s forest resources.

The County of Oxford believes that private landowners have a key role to play in ensuring that sustainably managed forests and woodlands remain part of Oxford and Ontario’s future.

The Woodlands Conservation By-law is recognized as an important tool with respect to retaining and enhancing woodlands in Oxford.The By-law identifies woodlands and sets out definitions for the purpose of protecting trees.It also identifies tree species to be protected; sets out the requirements for obtaining permits to harvest trees; and outlines exemptions to the By-law and/or the process for obtaining an exemption from the provisions of the By-law.

The Woodlands Conservation Bylaw is important because it helps Oxford County to:

  • Sustain the community’s environmental and natural heritage resources
  • Conserve and improve woodlands through good forestry practices
  • Protect, promote and enhance the value of woodlands for social, economic and environmental value
  • Enhance biodiversity and forest resilience that will assist the community in adapting to climate change and other environmental threats to forest health.

The County of Oxford Woodland Conservation By-law protects woodlands and may require that private landowners obtain a ‘Notice of Intent’ when they intend to harvest or destroy trees in woodlands specified in the By-law.

If you are planning to harvest/log in a woodland…

While the Woodlands Conservation By-law includes a number of exemptions for private landowners, the harvesting of trees within a woodland typically requires permission through the County’s By-law Officer.

Good Forestry Practices Notice of Intent Permit

If you have hired a registered professional forester in good standing with the Ontario Professional Foresters Association, and your timber harvest will be marked in accordance with Good Forestry Practices, you can use this form to file a Notice of Intent.

Circumference (or Diameter) Harvest Notice of Intent Permit

If you are planning a select harvest in your woodland (beyond the exemptions that are contained in the By-law for private landowners) in compliance with the regulations contained in By-law for circumference (or diameter) regulations, please use this form to file a Notice of Intent.

Administrative and/or Committee Exemption

Where you plan to harvest or destroy trees within a woodland in a manner that is not permitted by the By-law, you may need to apply for an Administrative and/or Committee Exemption in accordance with the provisions as set out in the Woodlands Conservation By-law.

Landowners are advised to contact the By-law Officer for a preliminary review of your proposal in the field, prior to submitting an application.  The By-law Officer will provide guidance as to how to proceed with a formal application.

For more information on the application of the Woodland Conservation By-law, landowners may contact the County Woodland Conservation By-law Officer at 1-800-755-0394, ext. 3132.

Additional Information

Information and resources are available to landowners to help them understand and assess the economic value and environmental importance of woodlands and natural features that may exist on their properties. Conservation authorities, government sources, stewardship groups and landowner associations exist to help educate and raise awareness for protecting and improving the natural environment. See the County’s Natural Heritage & Forestry webpage to learn more.