Forest Conservation (Tree) By-Law

The goal of Northumberland County's Forest Conservation By-Law (By-Law 2015-27) is to promote good forestry practices and the maintenance of woodlands.

Why is this important?

Maintaining forest cover benefits the community by providing many ecosystem services such as:

  • Water retention and filtration
  • Air filtration
  • Beneficial insects and wildlife
  • Climate regulation

The Forest Conservation By-Law helps ensure that forest resources are maintained throughout the community over the long-term.

Apply for a harvesting permit

Before applying for a harvesting permit, please review the full by-law for details and contact us to discuss your application.

Review the by-law

Types of permits

Schedule A

Good Forestry Practices Permit

Obtaining a Good Forestry Practices Permit requires a prescription prepared by a designated Registered Professional Forester or Associate Member. Trees must be marked by a qualified Tree Marker, as defined in the by-law.

Diameter Limit Cutting Permit
  • Diameter Limit Cutting allows harvesting down to a minimum tree circumference, as outlined in the by- law. Harvesting must not reduce the basal area below 15m2/ha.
  • Diameter Limit Cutting is considered a poor forestry practice that can lead to long-term negative ecological and economic effects on your woodland.
  • Diameter Limit Cutting is not permitted on lands benefiting from the Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program.
How to submit a permit
Step 1: 

Before submitting the Schedule A - Harvest Permit, please contact our Forest team to discuss your application.

Email the Forest team

Step 2: 

After consulting with our Forest team, download and fill out the Schedule A - Harvest Permit below.

Schedule A Permit Application 

Step 3: 

To complete your application, email the completed Schedule A - Harvest Permit to the Forest team.  

Submit Schedule A Permit Application 

Schedule B

  • Landowners that want to clear forest, or perform management activities that will injure or destroy trees and alter the forest so that it no longer meets the definition of woodland, must apply for relief from By-Law 2015-27 (Schedule “B”).
  • The applicant must identify the area of trees to be injured or destroyed, and explain the rationale for this. Applicants should expect a minimum wait time of five weeks for application review and decision.
  • Permits for clearing four hectares or more will require Council approval. At the County's discretion, some permits under four hectares may also require Council approval.
  • Approval of Relief from the By-Law does not constitute any other development approvals, and landowners must comply with all other regulations including, but not limited to, those of the municipality and conservation authority.
Submit a permit

Before submitting a permit, please contact us to discuss your application.

Schedule B Permit Application

Fines for by-law violations

Violations of the Forest Conservation By-Law may result in fines of up to $100,000 for a single offence and an order to replant any trees that have been illegally removed.


Are you thinking about harvesting your woodlot? Here are some resources to consult: