Tree planting is essential for Alberta’s environment and economy
Edmonton – Members of the Alberta Forest Products Association (AFPA) planted 65 million tree seedlings in forests throughout the province in 2015. The industry also planted 65 million trees in 2014. This means that each year 16 trees were planted for every man, woman, and child in Alberta. The industry replants an average of two trees for every one that is harvested.
“We are very proud of our legacy of environmental stewardship,” said AFPA President and CEO Paul Whittaker. “Planting trees is an important part of ensuring that our forests are healthy and continue to support a variety of ecological, recreational, and economic values for generations to come.”
Honourable Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, emphasized the importance of forestry standards and reforestation with the view of keeping the industry strong. “Forestry is one of the most sustainable industries in Alberta. Our government is committed to working closely with forestry producers to ensure the health of our forests and to support the industry’s mortgage-paying jobs now and for generations to come.”
Planting trees benefits Alberta’s environment in the long-term and also has a positive, immediate impact on Alberta’s economy. Tree planters, typically youth and post-secondary students, worked 32,500 person days on replanting operations. Spin-off jobs created by tree planting include tree nursery employees and local businesses that supply goods and services to planting operations.
More information can be found on our website at albertaforestproducts.ca.
The Alberta Forest Products Association is a private, non-profit industry organization, representing lumber, panelboard, pulp and paper, and secondary manufacturing wood products companies operating in Alberta. AFPA member companies are active participants in sustainability advancements that contribute economic, environmental, and social benefits for Albertans.
Since 1960, forest companies have been legally mandated to reforest harvested areas in Alberta. Reforestation must occur within two years of harvesting. Tree planting operations in Alberta typically occur between May and August, when conditions are right to plant trees and promote their survival through the winter months. Forest companies monitor trees for up to 14 years after planting, and conduct all work needed to help ensure survival to full maturity and successful forest renewal.
Growing trees to full maturity takes approximately 50 to 100 years, depending on species and climatic conditions. Forest companies must harvest trees at a level that is sustainable – that is, within the rate of forest regrowth. Less than 1% of Alberta’s commercial forest land base is harvested each year.
From an ecological perspective, forests that have a mixed composition of species and age classes are desirable. Forests that are uniformly old are less resistant to fire and pest invasions. Sustainable harvesting and reforestation are important forest management tools. Replanting operations aim to restore harvested areas to their natural state. Tree species are selected to ensure a natural and diverse balance. Planting trees is one technique that forest companies use to regenerate Alberta’s forests. Certain species, like aspen, regenerate naturally after harvesting.
More information on Alberta’s sustainable forest management policy can be found at http://esrd.alberta.ca/lands-forests/forest-management.
Facts and Figures
- In 2015, forest companies replanted over 65 million trees. This works out to an average of 16.25 trees for every man, woman, and child in Alberta.
- Forests cover approximately 38 million hectares or 60% of Alberta. 38 million hectares is roughly the same size as Japan.
- The forest industry directly employs 15,000 Albertans and creates spin-off employment for thousands more.
- On average, the industry replants 2 trees for every one that is harvested. This helps to ensure long-term forest health.
- Forestry generates over $4 billion for Alberta’s economy and supports 50 communities throughout the province.