Standards and operating procedures

Forest health standards and operating procedures are necessary to ensure consistent and safe delivery of forest health programs.
These Forest health operational manuals provide guidance so that forest health functions are conducted consistently, correctly, safely and efficiently:

Legislation related to forest health

Provincial forest health programs are guided by, and must conform to, Provincial legislation, Federal legislation and other agreements.

  • Alberta acts, agreements and regulations

    Forests Act
    The Forests Act governs forest harvesting dispositions (Forest Management Agreements, Quotas, licenses and permits). Forest Management Agreements (FMA) are one type of forest tenure. Many of which contain provisions concerning forest health. The introduction of various forms of tenure provides companies with the assurance needed to begin planning and developing their operations over long timeframes.

    Forest Management Agreements
    A forest management agreement (FMA) is a long-term (20 year), renewable, area-based form of forest tenure. It is the most secure tenure type of tenure in Alberta. Each FMA contains a clause, in their forest protection sections, stipulating that parties bound by the agreement will cooperate in suppressing epidemic insect and disease occurrences.

    Forest Management Plans
    Details of where, when and how trees on Crown land in Alberta are sustainably harvested and managed are outlined in forest management plans (FMPs). The Alberta Forest Management Planning Standard (the Standard) and its annexes and interpretive bulletins make up the standard for preparing and implementing FMPs in Alberta. Contained within these are provisions for the management of damaging insects, diseases, and weeds. These plans can contain some forest health provisions, as within their Values, Objectives, Indicators, and Targets (VOITs), or be driven to a large extent by a forest health concern (for example: Mountain Pine Beetle amendments).

    Timber Management Regulation
    The Timber Management Regulation (TMR) is used to implement and administer the Forests Act. The Forests Act establishes an annual allowable cut in coniferous and deciduous forests. It prohibits persons from damaging the forest in any way, and takes proactive steps to reduce the number of pests imported from forest to forest. Of particular relevance for forest health is section 164.1, restricting or prohibiting the transportation of logs (or other forest products) with bark attached.

    Forest and Prairie Protection Act
    The focus of the Forest and Prairie Protection Act (FPPA) is fire suppression and control; however, it is also essential for the Government of Alberta (GoA) to manage forest pests. This act provides a legal definition of a forest pest (b.01) and the delegation of enforcement powers for forest officers. The FPPA enables the GoA to minimize the spread of tree pests by allowing the Province to do whatever is necessary to control forest pest infestations. Section 28 in particular, but also s. 31, s. 31.3, and s. 31.4 are important for forest health management in Alberta.

    Weed Control Act
    The Weed Control Act is the provincial legislation for invasive plant control and is administered by the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry. Noxious weeds must be controlled by the landowner or by the person who occupies the land. Prohibited noxious must be destroyed by the landowner or by the person who occupies the land.

    Weed Control Regulation
    The Weed Regulation provides additional information about the processes outlined in the Weed Control Act, including the appeal process, the designation of weeds, and regulations specific to seed cleaning facility licenses. It also includes a schedule of plants that are formally designated as noxious or prohibited noxious in Alberta.

    Agricultural Pests Act
    This Act allows the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry to declare an animal, bird, insect, plant or disease a “pest” or a “nuisance” and to take active measures to prevent its spread. Designating a species as a “pest” is only triggered if the Minister determines that the pest is harming, destroying or likely to destroy or harm the land, livestock or property in Alberta.

    Pest and Nuisance Control Regulation
    Under the Agricultural Pest Act, the Pest and Nuisance Control Regulation provides a list of species declared as pests and nuisances, details pest management prohibitions in s. 4(1); and allows the Minister to declare a quarantine in all or any part of Alberta in case of wide-spread infestation.
    Public Lands Act

    This Public Lands Act (PLA) deals with the selling and transferring of public land, as well as the management of rangeland and activities permitted on designated land. The Act outlines the process to obtain land dispositions and the rules associated with occupying public land. With regard to invasive plant prevention and control, the PLA details the duties of a holder of a disposition issued pursuant to this Act (s. 63).

    Forest Reserves Act and Forest Reserves Regulations
    Under the Act, “All forest reserves are set aside and constituted for the conservation of the forests and other vegetation in the forests and for the maintenance of conditions favourable to an optimum water supply in those reserves.” (s. 4) With respect to weeds, the Act allows the Province to make regulations respecting the control or destruction of weeds on forest reserves under s. 7 (c).

    Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act

    The Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA) is the primary act in Alberta through which regulatory requirements for air, water, land, and biodiversity are managed. The Act supports and promotes the protection, enhancement and wise use of the environment by designating proposed activities for which an approval or registration is required. Regulations and codes under this act are important for forest health’s pest control programs in some circumstances.

    Pesticide (Ministerial) Regulation
    Under the EPEA, this regulation creates four schedules of pesticides, each having different handling requirements. Each pesticide must have a label that provides the details on who can apply it, and where.

    Environmental Code of Practice for Pesticides
    Under the EPEA, the Code of Practice for Pesticides details the safe handling, use and application of pesticides to ensure environmental protection. Pesticide applicators, pesticide service, and pesticide vendors in Alberta must comply with these requirements.

  • Directives and policies

  • Federal acts and regulations

    There is federal legislation is applicable for forest pest management in Alberta, particularly when invasive species or multi-jurisdictional considerations are involved. The three acts listed below are examples of federal legislation that can affect forest pest management in Alberta.

    • Canada Plant Protection Act (S.C. 1990, c.22)
    • Pest Control Products Act (S.C. 2002, c. 28)
    • Canada Seeds Act (R.S.C., 1985, c S-8)

    These laws are available online at Justice Laws Website (Government of Canada).


Connect with Alberta Forest Health and Adaptation: [email protected]

Talk to Alberta Forestry staff in your area: Forestry Area Office Contacts

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