Trees and the food system

Duelli and Obrist, 2003.  Importance of natural and semi-natural habitats in agricultural landscapes for species survival. Tristan Knight

Quartuch MR, Beckley TM. 2014. Carrots and sticks: New Brunswick and Maine forest landowner perceptions toward incentives and regulations. Environ Manage. 53(1):202–218.

In  Ontario's mixedwood plains ecozone,  85% of the remaining forest land is private held. 81% of active farms and 92% of non-active farms include significant forest areas on their property, averaging 27% and 74% of their total land area respectively (Neave and Wolthausen 2004). Neave E, Wolthausen D. 2004. Private woodland owners, meeting the stewardship challenge. Ottawa (ON): Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Model Forest Network.

Trees for food production (agroforestry) - maple syrup, nuts, fruit

Trees and wood products for farm buildings and equipment

Trees for animal production - shade, feed

Trees for cover and biodiversity on farms

Trees around farms reduce nitrous oxide emissions and carbon storage. Cole Gross University of Alberta

Trees for food processing, distribution, retail and food service landscapes (trees and urban environments) including trees and parking lot design

One Health

From Kennedy:

One case study, outside of food systems but perhaps applicable, is of the Coastal Douglas Fir (CDF) ecological zone, an area that is rich with a wide variety of ecosystems, including old growth forests, wetlands and shorelines (Schuster et al., 2018). It is home to a diverse community of plants and animals, many endemic to the region and several critically endangered. It has been severely degraded, fragmentated, and developed, with 49% of the area converted for residential, commercial and industrial use. Currently, over 80% of land within the CDF ecological zone is privately owned. To buy enough land to meet the international or scientific conservation targets, the provincial government of BC would have to spend an estimated $360 million to $1.2 billion. This investment in conservation would be unprecedented in the country’s history, and does not include the continued costs of maintenance and monitoring associated with conservation efforts. The authors instead advise an alternative method, using easements or tax-shifting, and an empirical simulation model developed by the researchers to maintain the region’s current revenue, while also providing sufficient protection to the land (Schuster et al., 2018).

The method proposed uses multiple indicators of biodiversity within the CDF to determine which properties are the best candidates for conservation programs. It then optimizes the properties against their acquisition cost and categorizes them as high priority parcels. Instead of buying them outright, the government would use an easement system, whereby they acquire use of the land for conservation measures, while the owner retains full titles and rights and is compensated through a 100% reduction of property tax. This cost is shifted to owners of lower priority parcels; owners of land who are not selected for conservation would see an increase in property tax. Almost 900 conservation plans and taxing schemes were produced to model a variety of potential scenarios within the region. All of which represent tax-shifting models that allows the Georgia Basin to maintain tax revenue while also meeting conservation commitments in the CDF. Even in the least optimal scenario, where the target is set for 17% coverage and only 25% of high priority parcel owners agree to the property tax exemption, the maximum property tax increase to be paid by unselected property owners would be 0.51%, inclusive of the cost of yearly conservation monitoring and management. Selected property owners would see an average yearly savings of $10,000 in property tax (Schuster et al., 2018). This tax-shifting strategy could be adapted and extended to people negatively impacted by PAs or conservation efforts including food systems actors. Outside of easements, other incentives exist to encourage consideration and conservation of the environment.

Schuster, R., Law, E. A., Rodewald, A. D., Martin, T. G., Wilson, K. A., Watts, M., Possingham, H. P., & Arcese, P. (2018). Tax Shifting and Incentives for Biodiversity Conservation on Private Lands. Conservation Letters, 11(2), e12377.