I want to wish Albertans a very happy National Forest Week. This great province is home to some of the most beautiful forests in the world. Many are surprised to learn that Alberta’s Green Area, or forested land, makes up about 60% of the province (that’s roughly 87 million acres or 40 million hectares).
This year’s theme for National Forest Week – “Our forests – continually giving” – highlights the wide range of social, cultural, environmental and economic benefits our forests provide us.
This is why we sustainably manage our forests with multiple purposes in mind: we want to promote biodiversity, critical habitat, watershed health and function, and more, all while supporting recreational, industrial and other uses of Alberta’s forests.
Forestry is key to the economic, social and cultural fabric of over 90 rural and Indigenous communities across the province, directly employing 17,500 Albertans and supporting another 23,900 jobs across the economy. That’s why Alberta’s Recovery Plan will grow and leverage our innovative forestry sector for even greater success in the modern economy.
Harvesting timber within Alberta’s sustainable forest management system has significant economic benefits, while at the same time it supports the health and resilience of our ecosystem. Harvesting reduces the risk of catastrophic wildfire and mountain pine beetle outbreaks that can destroy millions of hectares of our forests every year.
Harvesting trees that act as natural carbon capturers effectively removes carbon from the atmosphere for decades by storing it in wood products, like building materials.
Our forests give us so much and forest management professionals continue managing them with the goal of ensuring Albertans can enjoy them for generations to come.
Stay tuned this week as we explore some of the many benefits we enjoy from our beautiful forests.
Devin Dreeshen served as Minister of Agriculture and Forestry from April 30, 2019 to November 5, 2021.