Unit 3 - The Economic Importance of  Forests

Lesson 4: Forests and Alberta's Economy

Notice the green area shown on the map of Alberta; it consists of non-settled forest land. The majority of forest land in Alberta (87%) is owned by the provincial government and known as provincial crown land.  The federal government owns 9% which includes Aboriginal lands; the remaining 4% is privately owned.

Along with oil and gas, agriculture, and tourism, forestry is one of the four pillars of the Alberta economy. The Alberta forest industry is a vital part of the economy for more than 70 communities around the province and more than 12 Alberta communities are forest-dependent.
For more interesting facts about the importance of forests to Alberta's economy, try guessing the fun but important facts below.

  Think About It!

Before clicking on the drop downs below, try and guess the answers to these important questions about the importance of Alberta's forest industry to its economy.
15,000 people are directly employed by Alberta's forest industry.
There are two spinoff jobs created from every one forest industry job.
There are 70 communities supported by the forest industry.
Four billion dollars are generated annually by the forest industry for Alberta's economy.
320 Megawatts (MW) of power are generated by Alberta's forest industry, from materials previously wasted.
Grande Prairie needs 80 megawatts of power.
There are no additional trees cut down to make power; only by-products like bark and sawdust are used for power generation.
There were 80 million coniferous tree seedlings planted in Alberta in 2017; this means that for every Albertan, 19 trees were planted in the spring and summer planting season.

                                                                                                               Other Contributions to Alberta's Economy

The Government of Alberta collects considerable revenues from the Alberta forest industry through other avenues:

  • Personal income taxes - depending on how your woodland property is used, you may have to pay tax on it.
  • Stumpage fees - fees paid by forestry companies for permission to log on Crown land.
  • Fuel taxes - fuel used to operate equipment is taxed by the government of Alberta.
  • Road fees - fees are paid to landowners or the government for road access.
  • Holding and protection charges - annual fees used to help defray the costs of protecting the forests from fires and insect infestations.
  • Timber licenses and permits - give the holder the right to manage and harvest a specific number of trees in a certain area.
  • Reforestation levies - fees are paid for reforestation. 
  • Tourism - each year over 8 million people visit Alberta's provincial parks and recreation areas; the forests of Alberta significantly contribute to tourism, which is the fourth largest industry in the province.

Due to the economical importance of Canada's forests, some forest companies seek methods of growing forests in a shorter period of time.

Faster Forests

OSLI - Faster Forests Aug 21 from OSLI on Vimeo

If the above video will not play click here to view Faster Forests.

You have completed Unit 3; continue to the next page for Quiz 3.