Eastern Ontario Model Forest

Country:  Canada
Location:  Kemptville, Ontario
Area:  1.5 million hectares  
Regional affiliation: Canadian Model Forest Network (est. 1992)   

Contact information

Name:  Mark Richardson, General Manager, Eastern Ontario Model Forest
Address: 10 Campus Drive, Kemptville, Ontario, K0G 1J0
Phone: (613) 258-8424
Email: easternontario@imfn.net
Website: www.eomf.on.ca

Forest and resource profile 

Eastern Ontario Model Forest (EOMF) is not a woodland in the traditional sense as only 34% of the region is actually forested. The rest is made up of farms, suburbs, wetlands and roads-or was developed for other purposes and is now being reclaimed by the forest. Lumbering, agriculture and other forestry activities have always played an important role in the region, especially in the last two centuries when vast stands of maple, oak, pine and spruce were felled to supply demands at home and abroad. A biosphere reserve and national park also exist within the boundaries of the EOMF.  

Today, most of the trees in this mixed forest (36% coniferous, 64% deciduous) are less than 80 years old.  The forests are dominated by sugar maple and beech, with red maple, yellow birch, basswood, white ash, largetooth aspen, and red and bur oak. More than one million people live in the EOMF, 8000 of who are woodlot owners (who, together, own 88% of the forested land).

Economic profile 

Local communities rely on the forest for employment, forestry products, and educational opportunities-more than 7000 jobs in eastern Ontario are forest-dependent. The Model Forest area also supports farming, maple syrup production, tourism and recreational activities. Over 50% of farms in eastern Ontario are engaged in some form of agroforestry.  And, 40% of Ontario's maple syrup production occurs in eastern Ontario.

Many people, including indigenous peoples, look to the forest for food, medicinal plants and materials for traditional crafts. Handmade black ash baskets generate more than $500 000 annually for the Mohawk Community of Akwesasne.  

Why a Model Forest?

The fragmented nature of the forests in eastern Ontario represents a key management challenge.  Urban expansion, coupled with agricultural and other development pressures, continue to splinter the landscape, jeopardizing the integrity of existing forest ecosystems.  An additional challenge is reaching the million or so inhabitants of the Model Forest with messages about sustainable forestry-this is where the value of broad-based partnerships becomes important.

The Model Forest offers opportunities for engaging forest stakeholders in efforts toward sustainable forestry. The need for involving stakeholders with a variety of interests is imperative given the nature of the landscape and the many values and uses associated with the forests of eastern Ontario.  Adopting the philosophy of the indigenous peoples, the EOMF considers each decision and new technology bearing in mind how it will affect future generations.

Partners - More than 150 partners (% by category not available)

Strategic objectives

The objectives of the EOMF in the current 5-year program (2007-2012) are as follows:

  • To work with communities (including industry, government and First Nations) and other stakeholders to develop new – and advance existing – forest-based opportunities
  • To work with communities to pilot ideas, conduct research and develop integrated, multi-sector approaches – based on science and innovation – that enable them to respond to a forest sector in transition and to build capacity
  • To develop and share sustainable forest management knowledge, practices, tools, and experiences with international forest-dependent communities in keeping with Canada’s international forest agenda

Key accomplishments to date 

  • The successful use and ongoing application of the Naturalized Knowledge System (an extension of Traditional Ecological Knowledge) to all of our activities, resulting in stronger, more responsible and more empowered communities 
  • The achievement of Forest Stewardship Council certification in 2002-the first private woodlot certificate in Canada 
  • The development and ongoing refinement of a carefully selected set of criteria and indicators to monitor and report on the state of the forest-and the greater natural landscape-in eastern Ontario 
  • The development of a methodology using GIS technology to identify and classify woodlands based on ecological value. This work is helping municipalities to develop natural heritage policies within their official plans 
  • The creation of information for landowners, ranging from extension notes to comprehensive best management practices manuals. Outreach through workshops, such as the Caring for Your Land series, has been central in sharing messages and providing hands-on experiences relative to sustainable forestry

International policy links

Eastern Ontario Model Forest activities directly address number 7 of the Millennium Development Goals. Further, the objectives of the EOMF are supportive of the UN Decade for Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014).  For example, the EOMF:

  • Develops and disseminates information products on sustainable forest management practices and principles 
  • Provides support to sustainable forest education programs delivered by partners 
  • Supports youth participation in science fairs and other environmental learning experiences 
  • Facilitates local community forestry events involving a range of audiences (e.g., families, forest professionals, youth) 
  • Transfers knowledge with communities beyond the boundaries of the Model Forest

Strengths and Skills (what your Model Forest can offer to the network)

  • Considerable experience in hosting international delegations
  • Experience in coordinating international exchanges (e.g., internships) and training/mentoring sessions (e.g., for CUSO participants)
  • A willingness to devote time and effort to international capacity building efforts
  • Recognition of the mutual benefits and synergies arising from international activities
  • A desire to learn from and share with others 
  • Expertise in governance, and approaches to networking, information sharing and knowledge transfer
  • Expertise in First Nations understandings/philosophies as embodied in Naturalized Knowledge Systems
  • Expertise in the development of a framework for forest and chain of custody certification for private woodlots, community forests and forest-based businesses


  • Choosing the Right Tree:  A Landowner's Guide to Putting Down Roots 
  • The Forest History of Eastern Ontario 
  • Managing for Biodiversity on Agricultural and Rural Lands in Eastern Ontario 
  • EOMF Certification Policies and Procedures Manual 
  • A Guide to Forest Stewardship Council Certification for Private Woodlots in Ontario
  • A Guide to Chain of Custody Certification for Forest Product Producers
  • Biodiversity Indicators for Woodland Owners 
  • A Review of the Use of Buffer Strips for the Maintenance and Enhancement of Riparian Ecosystems
  • Community Experiences in Urban Forestry
  • An Eco-industrial Wood Centre in Edwardsburgh/Cardinal: Moving to the Next Level
  • Valuing Ecological Goods and Services: An Ontario Perspective Invasive Species: Management Options for the Ontario Landowner