Our forests belong to all Albertans. Most of our forests, including 90% of the areas where forestry companies operate, are on public land. The Government of Alberta and forest companies work together to make sure our forests are sustainably managed and cared for appropriately.
Economic, environmental and social benefits are all important – government, industry, communities and other stakeholders have to make informed decisions about how to balance all three. Provincial laws and regulations are in place to make sure we keep the right balance.
Like any landlord, the Government of Alberta decides what its tenants are allowed to do on the property they lease. The “lease agreements” for Alberta’s forests are extensive – forest companies are accountable for thorough long-term planning, as well as following legislation like the Water Act and Species at Risk Act. The provincial government also sets the limits on how much wood can be harvested each year, to make sure harvesting doesn’t exceed sustainable levels.
Forestry companies pay the Government of Alberta fair value for using our forest resource through stumpage fees. In part, these fees are used to fund research, wildlife habitat restoration programs and other initiatives that support the health and diversity of our forests.
Government regulations act as a safeguard and hold industry accountable, but forest companies do much more. 96% of Alberta’s managed forests are certified sustainable by independent third-party organizations like the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. Voluntarily seeking designations like this demonstrates a deep commitment in Alberta to showing our forests the care and respect they deserve.