Prince Edward Island launches Forest Investment Program offering low interest loans to landowners for forest management costs, adding to incentives available under province's Forest Enhancement Program

CHARLOTTETOWN, Prince Edward Island , July 11, 2014 (press release) – The new Forest Investment Program will help Island woodlot owners manage their forests for economic, social and environmental benefits, says Minister of Agriculture and Forestry George Webster.

“Our government supports the development of healthy, diverse forests and recognizes the many benefits these lands provide to landowners and society as a whole,” said Minister Webster. “We believe that the Forest Investment Program will be an excellent resource to help owners realize many different goals for their forest lands.”

The Forest Investment Program was a commitment of the 2013 Speech from the Throne and received budget allocation in the 2014 provincial budget.

On Prince Edward Island, 88 per cent of the Island’s forest is owned and managed by small woodlot owners. In order to support their management efforts, the province provides incentives through the Forest Enhancement Program. However, landowners are still required to cover a portion of the forest management treatment cost and sometimes they do not implement work because they have difficulty funding their share.

Under this new program, landowners will be able to borrow their share of the forest management cost at a low interest rate and repay that loan in small regular payments over a period of one to five years. This will enable more landowners to get involved in forest management, with associated benefits to those in the private sector hired to do the management. The Forest Investment Program may also help landowners to fund treatments and projects that are not cost shared with the province.

To be eligible for the Forest Investment Program, landowners must have an approved forest management plan for their forest lands. Loans can then be used to pay the landowners’ share of the treatments recommended in that plan. All work must be done to the required standards. Loan amounts can vary from a minimum of $1,000 to a maximum of $5,000 and the loan must be repaid within a one to five-year period

“The Province of Prince Edward Island is committed to the promotion of sustainable forest management in our province,” said Minister Webster. “Through this new program and incentives available through the Forest Enhancement Program, we are able to enable more landowners to improve the health and diversity of their forests. We also hope that this program will help to build forest management capacity in the private sector and increase the range of options and services available to Island woodland owners.”

More information on the Forest Investment Program can be found at www.gov.pe.ca/forestry/FEP or at Forests, Fish and Wildlife Division offices across the province.

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