Natural Disturbance Model

Fire has shaped Alberta's boreal forests for 10,000 years. Boreal forest plants, animals and ecosystems have adapted to fires that sweep through the forest every 60 to 150 years. Fire creates unique new habitats for wildlife and helps maintain the natural balance of young and old forests found in the Al-Pac FMA area.

Alberta-Pacific has patterned its forest harvesting strategies after this force of nature. The company has invested considerable research into fire ecology and understanding how forest fires historically maintained biodiversity across the landscape. The goal is to minimize the effects of Al-Pac's harvesting operations and restore the ecological benefits of fire by using practices that result in forest patterns that more closely resemble those following natural disturbances.

Studying natural disturbances, their differences and similarities to forest harvesting, and the associated responses of biodiversity to both is an ongoing process. By applying this knowledge, managers of the boreal forest will be able to reduce the differences between the two types of disturbance. The result being that the closer harvesting practices and other human disturbances follow the natural range of variability, the more likely a healthy ecosystem will be maintained.