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Skip Navigation LinksSimcoe County > Departments > Forestry > Forest Conservation By-law

Forest Conservation By-law

​​​​​​Forest Conservation By-laws have traditionally been referred to as tree cutting by-laws and have existed in Ontario for over 50 years.  These by-laws are intended to ensure that privately-owned forests are harvested on a sustainable basis and to regulate the clearing of forests.

The Forest Conservation By-law regulates:

  • properties at least one hectare (2.47 acres) in size
  • commercial harvesting
  • clearing of forests
The Objectives of the By-law are to:
  • conserve the forest landscape and prevent over harvesting
  • protect Sensitive Natural Areas
  • encourage 'good forestry practices'
  • ensure a sustainable supply of timber for industry and landowners
This By-law Does Not:
  • regulate properties less than one hectare (2.47 acres) in size
  • regulate or restrict cutting in order to erect a building where approvals or permits are in place
  • prevent landowners from cutting wood on their own property for their own use providing the forest remains a woodland

Forest Conservation By-law Officer
Telephone: (705) ​721-6242
forestry@simcoe.ca  ​



Forest Conservation Bylaw Permit ProcessForest Conservation Bylaw Permit Process<p>​It is necessary that appropriate permit applications be submitted at least 5 days prior to the planned start of any harvesting.  Note that special permit applications require submission at least 3 months prior to the planned start date.  There are no fees charged for application submission.  Please refer to the <a href="/Forestry/Documents/Forest%20Conservation%20Bylaw.pdf" target="_blank"><font color="#0066cc">Forest Conservation By-law #5635</font></a> for further details.  Information on specific permits can be found below.  </p><p> </p><p> <strong class="ms-rteFontSize-4">Good Forestry Practices Permit</strong><br><a href="/Forestry/Documents/Harvest_Permit_Good_Forestry.PDF" target="_blank">Good Forestry Practices Permit Application</a> </p><p>This is the preferred option for landowners with an interest in improving the long-term value of their forests. An assessment by a <a href="http://www.opfa.ca/node/1" target="_blank">Registered Professional Forester</a> and tree marking by a qualified individual ensures that the forest and landowner are protected. This can provides an opportunity to have several loggers bid on trees to ensure that a fair market price is received for the timber. </p><p> <span class="ms-rteFontSize-4"><strong>Conifer Plantation Permit </strong></span></p><p><a href="/Forestry/Documents/Harvest_Permit_Conifer.PDF" target="_blank">Conifer Plantation Permit Application</a>​<br></p><p>This is a simplified process where standard thinning is proposed in a conifer plantation. </p><p> <strong class="ms-rteFontSize-4">Harvesting Permit </strong> <br><a href="/Forestry/Documents/Harvest_Permit_Diameter_Limit.PDF" target="_blank">Harvesting​ Permit Application</a>​<br></p><p>This provides an option to harvest trees which have attained a minimum diameter limit, provided that a minimum density of trees remains following the harvest. Note that this is not considered a good forest management practice. In the long-term, it can result in reduced diversity, quality, and productivity, as the best and fastest-growing trees are normally removed in each successive harvest. This often leaves only the poorer quality trees to grow further and as the source for future regeneration. </p><p> <strong class="ms-rteFontSize-4">Special Permit </strong><br> <a href="/Forestry/Documents/Application%20for%20Special%20Permit.pdf" target="_blank">Special Permit Application</a></p><p>A Special Permit is required prior to the clearing of a forest unless the clearing is exempted under the <a href="/Forestry/Documents/Forest%20Conservation%20Bylaw.pdf" target="_blank">by-law</a>. </p><p>It is recommended that appicants contact the Forest Conservation By-law Officer prior to completing an application.   Applications must be submitted a <span style="text-decoration:underline;">minimum of 3 months prior to the proposed clearing</span>.  </p><p>Forest Conservation By-law Officer<br>Telephone: (705) ​721-6242<br><a href="mailto:forestry@simcoe.ca"><font color="#0066cc">forestry@simcoe.ca</font></a>    </p>