Forest Management Agreement Area

Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries (Al-Pac) operates within a Forest Management Agreement (FMA) area to sustainably harvest deciduous and coniferous trees. An FMA is an area-based tenure agreement between a forest company and the Government of Alberta that gives a forestry company the right to establish, grow and harvest timber. The FMA provides Al-Pac with a secure fibre supply.

This agreement is reviewed and negotiated every 20 years, or earlier at the company’s request. In return, Al-Pac assumes primary responsibility and accountability for forest management planning and public consultation, and seeks to maintain healthy forest ecosystems on the FMA. The company is responsible for managing the timber resource to provide a sustainable supply of wood, while considering wood consumed by other forest companies, the energy (oil and gas) industry and natural disturbances, such as forest fires. Al-Pac obtained its first FMA in 1991, and renewed the FMA in 2011.

For more information on forest management agreements, visit Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.

What's in Al-Pac's FMA Area?

The Forest Management Agreement (FMA) area encompasses 6.37 million hectares in northeast Alberta. This region of Alberta is one of the busiest in terms of industrial resource activity with the world’s largest known reserve of bitumen beneath it.

Forest management in the FMA area is integrated with many other uses and users of the landscape and resources. These include Aboriginal people, energy and transportation sectors, hunting, fishing, trapping and recreational users.

The FMA area is located in the boreal mixedwood forest, containing deciduous (leafy, “hardwood”) tree species and coniferous (cone-bearing, “softwood”) species. Al-Pac primarily utilizes deciduous trees: trembling aspen and balsam poplar.

Quota Holders and other forest companies that operate in the FMA area utilize conifer species such as white spruce and jack pine. The conifer chips they provide to Al-Pac supplements a small percentage of softwood that is utilized by Al-Pac.

About 2 million hectares of the FMA area are considered harvestable productive forest, while about 4.8 million hectares are comprised of wetlands (bogs, fens and muskeg), non-commercial black spruce stands, and non-harvestable forest areas (river valleys, slopes, protected areas and riparian buffers) as well as areas affected by wildfire. Parks, forestry and environmental reserves also exist within the FMA area but are not included in the total number of harvestable hectares.

From 1993 to 2011, Al-Pac and other forest companies harvested about 250,000 hectares, equivalent to about six per cent of the commercially productive forest or two per cent of the total FMA area. Forestry companies are required to return all harvested areas to new forest through silvicultural treatments.

In addition to its own harvesting, Al-Pac is responsible for developing the Forest Management Plan for the FMA area, including the research necessary to support forest management objectives, the timber supply analysis, inventories and planning, as well as public involvement and consultation. All forest companies must comply with the laws, policies and regulations of the Province of Alberta and the terms of the FMA.

Although Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (AESRD) is the principal regulator, forest activities are also affected by policies and regulations of many other federal, provincial and municipal governments and agencies.