Unit 2 - Modern Forest Research Network

Lesson 3: Department of Agriculture and Forestry

Another way the Government of Alberta "supports the growth, diversification and sustainability of Alberta's agriculture and forest industries", is through the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

As Alberta's primary land manager of publicly owned lands, the role of this ministry is to ensure that Alberta's forests are both protected and managed on a sustainable basis. It deals with the following:

  • Who is allowed to harvest Alberta's forests?

  • How much wood are they allowed to take?

  • What harvesting methods are most environmentally friendly?

  • How can Alberta's forestry industry remain competitive?

  • How will harvesting of trees affect wildlife?

Image Source: Public Domain


In large part, research provides the answer to the above questions. Alberta Agriculture and Forestry supports this forestry research through its many partnerships with industry, universities, and other research agencies. The type of research supported by Agriculture and Forestry is dictated by provincial priorities. For example, one of the province's priorities is to have a vibrant economy. This means that Alberta's forest industry must be able to compete in the global marketplace. As such, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry supports research into new uses for Alberta's wood supplies.

For example, it has been determined that wood wasted by the forestry industry or trees killed by disease or insects can be used to produce bioenergy. Bioenergy, or biofuel, is renewable energy that is made from biological materials such as crops or trees. "Alberta's forest industry and the Government of Alberta have made significant investments in the production of bioenergy from forest residuals. It adds value to residuals that would otherwise go unutilized, reduces the risk of fires, and plays an important role in the reduction of greenhouse gases.