Our province’s forests touch Albertans’ lives in many ways. Economic impact is one way – about 40,000 Albertans make their living in the forest industry, and over 70 Alberta communities are economically driven by forest-related jobs. Sustainable forest management is a cornerstone of Alberta’s economy, but that’s not the only reason Albertans value our forests.
The forest industry has a wealth of science-based knowledge in responsible forest management – we have the expertise to plan our activities so that the forest stays 100% sustainable in the long term. But that doesn’t mean that we know what a particular site means to a particular community. That’s why community consultation is important.
Forestry companies engage with the community as part of the planning process, long before harvesting happens. These consultations help us understand how the people who live near a site actually use it, and what’s most important to them. By getting the community’s input, forestry companies can plan around key recreational sites, areas that are important for cultural and spiritual practices and other features that contribute to a community’s way of life. Before any trees are harvested in Alberta, foresters want to make sure that the community knows what’s happening and knows that their needs and values will be respected.