Unit 6 - Forest Management

Lesson 1: The Forests Act

     As an introduction to this unit on forest management strategies, click here to watch "It's Our Forest", Part 3 Land Use.

Publicly owned forests, which cover nearly 60% of Alberta, are managed by the Province of Alberta under the authority of
the Forests Act. This piece of legislation ensures that timber harvesting occurs in a manner that minimizes any impact on

  • fish and wildlife

  • recreation and tourism

  • protected areas

  • watersheds

  • registered trapping areas

The Forests Act also preserves the visual quality of the landscape.

The Province of Alberta owns all timber located on its provincial public forested land. However, the Province is not in the business of harvesting trees; therefore, it makes agreements with timber companies. These agreements are known as "forest tenures", and they basically determine who can use the forest resources, for how long, and under what conditions.

The forest tenure holder is given permission to manage and harvest the timber resources for a set period of time, but land and resource ownership is retained by the government. For each particular area of forest, the province or territory determines an Allowable Annual Cut. The Allowable Annual Cut is based on the amount of new growth that a forest can produce in a year and is the maximum amount of timber that a forestry company can cut annually. This ensures that the forest is not cut down faster than it can grow.