Unit 6 - Forest Management

Lesson 2: Forest Management in Alberta

It is the law, in Alberta, to harvest trees in a sustainable manner.  Timber companies must practice good forest stewardship where logging is highly controlled and reforestation is also the law.  The Province of Alberta, as manager of all timber on crown land, allocates the right to harvest timber under a forest tenure. 

In broad terms, a tenure allocation in Alberta is either area-based or volume-based.

Area-based tenures give the tenure holder the right to harvest a specified volume of timber from a specified area or all the timber in a specified area. Forest Management Agreements are an example of area-based tenures.

Volume-based tenures give the tenure holder the right to a percentage of Annual Allowable Cut (AAC; measured in timber volume) within a specific area or a specified volume from a specific area. Coniferous timber quotas and timber permits are examples of volume-based tenures.

These tenure agreements are legal documents that describe the rights and responsibilities of the forest company with respect to the forest. Wildlife habitat, water, and soils must all be safeguarded as part of the forest company's long term harvesting plan. There are currently 20 Forest Management Agreements in Alberta, including three joint Forest Management Agreements. 

   Read more about Forest Tenures in Alberta; click here,
          courtesy of Alberta Forest Products Association.

Reforestation in Alberta is the responsibility of those who harvest forest trees and must take place in all areas where trees are cut down.

Reforestation is basically the re-establishment of trees following such events as harvesting, wildfire, or insect and disease outbreaks. It also involves managing the newly developing forest in order to ensure that it will establish and successfully grow into a future sustainable forest.

Reclamation is the process of returning disturbed land to its original state. It involves restoration of the soil layer and re-planting naturally-occurring vegetation that has been destroyed.

   Think About It!

Forest land that temporarily has no trees – for example, after harvesting or a natural disturbance such as fire – is still considered a forest, because trees grow back. This is not the same as deforestation, which is the permanent clearing of forest to make way for a new non-forest land use, such as agriculture or commercial development.

The opposite of deforestation is afforestation, which means that new forest is created through planting or seeding on land that wasn’t forest before. Afforestation and deforestation drive forest area change.