Unit 2 - The History of Forests

Lesson 8: Sustained Yield

Following World War II, many within the forestry industry and the forestry profession agreed that if Canada's forest policies did not change, it would spell disaster both for the forestry industry and the communities that they supported. This thinking ushered in the era of "Sustained Yield." 

This forest management approach recognized that there were limits to how much wood could be taken from a forest on an ongoing basis. In other words, forests should be managed as crops, not as mines.

Basically, sustained yield forestry put an end to the unrestrained logging of Canada's forests by dictating that the annual harvest of trees in any one area cannot exceed the amount of new growth in that area. That is, the forest should not be cut at a faster rate than it can regenerate.
The other requirement of sustained yield was that harvested land should be reforested, either by government or industry. British Columbia was the first province to adopt sustained yield forestry in 1947, followed by Alberta in 1949.

In 1948, the Alberta government divided the province into two main areas for land management purposes. 61% of the province was designated as green area and 39% was designated as white area. 

The green area, mainly publicly owned forest, was set aside for timber production, watershed protection, fish and wildlife habitat, tourism and recreation, oil and gas development, and conservation of natural spaces. 

The white area, mostly privately owned land, was set aside primarily for the purposes of settlement and agriculture. 

This land-use classification system endures to the present day.