Alberta’s beautiful landscapes are a key part of why Albertans are proud to call this place home; the great outdoors is at the core of this province.
Just as forests are vital to the well-being of Albertans, so too is the forest industry. In fact, they go hand-in-hand. The industry supplies tens of thousands of Albertans with jobs and generates billions of dollars in revenue for the province. It provides essential pulp, lumber and other forest products for Albertans and markets around the world. And most importantly, it helps sustain Alberta’s beautiful forest-scapes for centuries to come by employing sustainable practices.
Forestry and sustainability
Without sustainability, there is no forestry. Productive sustainable practices within the forest industry are not only mandated by law but crucial to keeping both the forests and the industry thriving. Thanks to thoughtful and effective long-term planning, the forest industry has been around for generations and the sustaining of healthy forests will continue into the future.
Forests matter, which is why extensive thought and planning comes before harvesting. Forest companies must prepare a 200-year plan, approved by the provincial government, which entails Indigenous engagement and a thorough assessment of the landscape, local wildlife, water sources, soil quality and the species, age and quantity of trees, among other important considerations. The plan also looks ahead to the future with a strategy for successful regeneration and ensures sustainable forest management happens at every step.
Wildfires are one of the natural disturbances in the life cycle of forests. Impacts can range from air pollution and threatened water supply to the direct endangerment of communities and wildlife, and Alberta has seen some devastating fires.
Sustainable forest management in Alberta acts as a valuable complement to traditional fire suppression tactics. By responsibly removing combustible materials, such as timber destined for lumber and pulp, and maintaining a balanced mix of young and mature trees, the forest industry contributes to reducing the likelihood of severe fires. These efforts, when combined with established fire suppression methods, form a more comprehensive approach to managing wildfire impacts.
“The areas that are sustainably harvested, strategically located across the landscape in differing shapes and sizes, create spaces between forested stands, which can help slow the spread and reduce the severity of fire,” says Bob Mason, Chief Forester for Alberta at Canfor, a forest products company. “This is vital to help protect communities and improve the resiliency of our forests.”
Although forest fires carry inherent risks, they also provide essential benefits to forest ecosystems. Eliminating fires completely would deprive forests of a necessary ecological process. Controlled and healthy fires, which are more likely to be managed effectively and pose fewer risks, contribute positively to the longevity of forests.
“Sustainable forest management plays a crucial role in this balance, ensuring that areas have a well-mixed age of trees and preventing the excessive buildup of highly volatile fuels typically found in older forested stands. It facilitates the renewal process, all the while reducing the threats that wildfires pose to communities,” says Aspen Dudzic, director of communications at Alberta Forest Products Association.
With sustainable practices and, in turn, wildfire-impact mitigation, the Alberta forest industry keeps forests thriving so that everyone can continue to love and enjoy Alberta’s vast forests.
Visit www.loveabforests.com to learn more.
This content was produced for the advertiser by RedPoint Media for commercial purposes. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Avenue staff.