Tall treeForest Conservation

The County of Wellington regulates the destruction or injuring of trees through its Conservation and Sustainable Use of Woodlands By-law (5115-09).  The by-law’s goals are:

  • to conserve the forest coverage in the County
  • to improve the quality of forest management
  • to help landowners maximize the revenues from timber harvest on a continuing basis

A County permit is required prior to the cutting or destruction of trees in a forested area greater than 1 hectare/2.47 acres (woodlands). Doing so without a permit is a chargeable Provincial Offence. Please contact the Planning and Development Department for further information.

Wellington County Tree Commissioners

The County has two Forest Conservation Officers who make inspections, process permits and enforce the by-law. If the by-law is breached (ex. cutting undersize trees, clear-cutting or excessive damage), the landowner and logging contractor can be charged with a Provincial Offence. The officers perform an important educational function, explaining the value of trees and forest management to landowners. They report to the County's Planning and Development Department.

Three Types of Permits

All completed applications are to be delivered or mailed to the Planning and Development Department, County of Wellington, 74 Woolwich Street, Guelph, Ontario, N1H 3T9. Applications can also be emailed to carlir@wellington.ca. Faxed applications will no longer be accepted.

Good Forestry Practices Permit

This requires the trees to be harvested using "good forestry practices," according to a silvicultural prescription prepared by a Registered Professional Forester. This is the most desirable type of harvest as it ensures forest sustainability and improvement.

Circumference Limit Permit

This permit regulates harvests according to the size minimums set out in the tree by-law, either diameter or circumference (ex. trees cannot be cut that have a diameter smaller than 18 inches).

Clearing Permit 

The by-law does envisage that some minor clear cutting may be appropriate, such as squaring off an agricultural field, drain routes, creating an outside amenity area behind a residence. However, the clearing of a large area of good forest land is unlikely to be supported.

Statutory Exceptions

There are several statutory exceptions and situations where the tree by-law does not apply. Cutting in these instances can legally occur and no permit is required from the County. Please review Section 3 of the by-law for details.

If in doubt, or if you have any questions, please contact the Planning and Development Department.