Part of Timber

Timber quotas

A timber quota is a form of tenure that provides a long term and sustainable timber supply to Alberta’s forest industry.

Timber quota basics

Timber quotas are issued under the authority of the Forests Act and governed by:

Under the provisions of the Forests Act, a timber quota is a form of tenure that provides a long term and sustainable timber supply to Alberta’s forest industry. Timber quotas last for 20 years and are renewable as long as the quota holder is in good standing with the Crown. Timber quotas can be area-based or volume-based tenures, which give the tenure holder the right to either:

  • a specified volume from a specific area, or
  • a percentage of the annual allowable cut (measured in timber volume) within a specific area

Currently there are no area-based timber quotas.

Licensing: timber quota holders cannot harvest trees until they get a timber licence; the licence gives them the right to harvest trees.

Location: timber quotas can be issued within Alberta’s Green Area and White Area (see Figure 1) and can exist within (or on) the lands that comprise a Forest Management Agreement. Deciduous and coniferous quotas can overlap.

Size: the size of timber quotas can vary. In Alberta, timber quotas range from less than 1,000 m3 to just over 1,000,000 m3.

Green area and white area map with national parks and forest management units

Figure 1. Green Area and White Area map

View larger image

Reforestation obligations

Timely reforestation is critical to sustainable forest management in Alberta. Quota holders are responsible for carrying out reforestation on any land where the holder has harvested. Or they may be authorized by the director to afforest an equivalent amount of other public land within the same forest management unit instead of the area cut. The government sets reforestation standards and ensures reforestation is successful by carrying out inspections to verify reforestation obligations are fulfilled.

Reforestation obligations of timber quota holders vary:

  • Quota holders with a combined annual allowable cut of 10,000 m3 or greater are responsible for reforestation.
  • Quota holders with less than 10,000 m3 can either:

Forest management planning

Timber quotas holders are not responsible for forest management plan development, but are expected to participate in planning.

Types of timber quotas

There are 2 types of timber quotas in Alberta:

Coniferous Timber Quota (CTQ)

There are currently 73 CTQs in Alberta.

A Coniferous Timber Quota allocates:

  • rights to harvest coniferous trees such as pine and spruce, and
  • a specified volume, or percentage of volume of coniferous timber or a specific area of coniferous timber that the quota holder may harvest

CTQs may be issued to a member of the Community Timber Program in the delivery of that program.

Deciduous Timber Allocation (DTA)

There are currently 38 DTAs in Alberta.

A Deciduous Timber Allocation allocates:

  • rights to deciduous trees such as aspen and balsam poplar, and
  • a specified volume, or percentage of volume of deciduous timber or a specific area of deciduous timber that the quota holder may harvest.


A timber quota certificate is a document that establishes the amount of volume or area of timber. Certificates for CTQs and DTAs contain standard wording applied to all quotas. The quota certificate does not authorize harvest. See sample certificates:



Connect with the Forest Tenure, Trade and Economics Section:

Shane Neigel, Director
Phone: 780-644-9730
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: [email protected]


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