Overview

Much of Alberta’s forests on Crown land is designated for timber harvest by the forest industry. The Alberta government grants forestry companies and individuals the rights to cut trees on this land under a Forest Management Agreement (FMA), Timber Quota or other short-term tenure agreements.

If lands are no longer available for forest use through the approval of industrial use or by a third party, compensation for the value of the trees and/or area impacted is payable to the Alberta government for lost revenues.

For example, if a seismic line must be cut in a designated FMA or Crown area, the trees are no longer available for harvest. In order for the Alberta government to receive timber dues on the trees and compensation for loss of forest area, the company responsible for the clearing must pay the compensation due.

The compensation value is calculated using Alberta’s Timber Damage Assessment (TDA) tables.

Components of the TDA

There are 3 primary components of the TDA:

Standing timber value

Standing timber value is the value of the standing timber that exists on the land. Once the land is cleared by a non-timber FMA holder, the standing timber is no longer available to the forest industry and is part of the loss incurred. The value of the loss is calculated using an estimate of the quantity affected and the market value.

Quantity is determined through use of the Alberta Vegetation Inventory forest cover types, heights and density classes. The value of the timber is based on recent timber prices and annual transactions between the forest and energy/utility industries.

Loss of annual allowable cut value

This loss value represents the impact on annual harvest levels that are in place through provincial laws and policies. Clearing of the forest and/or reducing the land available to grow trees results in a reduction in the area available for sustainable harvesting. The value of the loss depends on the quantity of the reductions and associated value.

Reforestation value

The value of reforestation is based on the explicit assumption that once an area is reclaimed and returned to the forest land base, either the forest industry or the government will be financially and operationally responsible for establishing and growing appropriate commercial tree species on the area cleared. The value is a projection of a future cost and is discounted and expressed in the table as a discounted present value.

Crown TDA billing rates

The Alberta government bills only for:

  • its share of the coniferous and deciduous TDA values
  • the appropriate associated coniferous or deciduous salvage timber dues

Any portion of the TDA value that belongs to a FMA is addressed separately by the FMA holder.

Read the Timber Damage Assessment Fact Sheet 2018 and JMC Letter on Reforestation Component (PDF, 138 KB).

The Government of Alberta has accepted the pricing information as submitted by the Joint Management Committee and as posted on this webpage for its own use in billing industrial and commercial land users for timber damages incurred through the issuance of dispositions under the Public Lands Act.

Current Alberta government billing rate table and information:

TDA Tables

Overview of 2020-21 tables

The tables provide the provincial average TDA values calculated for each FMA and for non-FMA lands and used in the billing rate calculations.

The information is collected from the Alberta forest industry through surveys on the value and volume of private timber sales transactions and logging costs. The data collection, analysis and table updates are undertaken at the request of the Joint Management Committee (JMC).

The JMC directs the development of the survey and the methodology for the tables using data from:

  • timber auction prices
  • private sales
  • cost data

Read the Alberta Joint Energy/Utility and Forest Industry Management Committee (JMC) - Terms of Reference.

Private land holders may use the TDA tables to calculate the value of trees on their land.

Boreal and Foothills table areas

Area maps show the Boreal and Foothills natural regions:

Southern forest management units outside of the Foothills Region use the Foothills tables and FMU A13 uses the Boreal tables.

Full-value tables

These tables provide an estimate of the average total value of coniferous and deciduous timber damages for each hectare by forest cover type.

The amounts in these tables recognize the:

  • collective value of the standing timber
  • associated annual allowable cut
  • cost of future reforestation

Standing timber value tables

These tables provide an estimate of the average value of coniferous and deciduous standing timber damages alone for each hectare by forest cover type.

Annual allowable cut value tables

These tables provide an estimate of the average value of coniferous and deciduous Annual Allowable Cut timber damages for each hectare by forest cover type. This is in isolation from the other table components.

Reforestation value tables

These tables provide an estimate of the average value of coniferous and deciduous future reforestation costs the JMC has agreed to include in the determination of timber damages for each hectare by forest cover type. This is in isolation from the other table components.

Stand volume tables

The stand volume tables provide an estimate of the average volume of coniferous and deciduous timber found on a hectare of forest land for each forest cover type in Alberta. These averages are prepared separately for the Foothills and Boreal natural regions.

Geophysical TDA calculation

TDA values are set to 0 for low-impact seismic programs where:

  • program average line width is 2 metres or less, and;
  • no category of line width – new, source, receiver – is greater than 2.75 metres

Download the Geophysical Program – Timber Damage Assessment Calculation Form (PDF, 129 KB)

All activity must use best practices, including:

  • meandering avoidance
  • line of site to be a maximum of 200 metres
  • avoidance of merchantable timber where and when possible

Failure to achieve best practices will result in the line being billed at the full rate regardless of the line width. This general practice has been in place since 2009.

The Crown TDA payable for a Geophysical Program is based on the TDA table rates in effect at the time the exploration program was approved. TDA is payable and owing at the conclusion of the exploration program.

Contact the Alberta Energy Regulator for more information on Geophysical Final Plans.

Note: Only the director designated under the Timber Management Regulation (Section 147) may relieve an industrial operator from salvaging timber. Contact your local forest area office for further information.

Contact

Connect with the Economics and Trade Section:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Lee Woodham, Director, Economics and Trade Section
Phone: 780-427-4351
Email: lee.woodham@gov.ab.ca