Investing in Alberta forestry


Investing in Alberta forestry

A renewed forest management agreement means long-term investment in the Slave Lake and High Prairie areas.

This news release originally appeared on the Government of Alberta’s news page. Original link

The joint forest management agreement (FMA) with West Fraser Mills Ltd. and Tolko Industries Ltd. is renewed for the next 20 years, in exchange for various responsibilities. The FMA allows both companies to maintain the right to establish, grow, harvest and remove Crown timber from the forest management area.

Over its lifespan, the FMA will potentially contribute:

  • $3.2 million in holding and protection charge payments
  • $69.4 million in timber dues
  • $1.2 billion to Alberta’s GDP

“This renewed forest management agreement gives West Fraser and Tolko the security they need to make long-term investments in our forests, our economy and our northern communities. Secure access to wood fibre is a critical component of Alberta’s Recovery Plan and ensures our forestry sector remains competitive in a globalized economy.”
Nate Horner, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Economic Development

West Fraser and Tolko provide hundreds of well-paying jobs, sponsorships, donations and job training to residents in the High Prairie and Slave Lake region.

Both companies also have a strong track record of business relationships with Indigenous communities, including Metis Settlements.

“West Fraser understands the responsibility entrusted to us in managing public forest land and balancing the many values ranging from job creation to biodiversity that are important to the Indigenous Peoples and communities in the region. By following strong stewardship principles with a focus on long-term sustainable resource management, we look forward to renewing this and other agreements with the province of Alberta for years to come.”
– D’Arcy Henderson, vice president, Canadian Woodlands, West Fraser Mills Ltd.

“We’re very pleased to see the renewal of the forest management agreement. This is great news for our employees and the many partners that work closely with us in the northern Alberta region. Tolko appreciates the strong support that we receive from the community and are proud to be working with our Indigenous community and business partners, providing employment opportunities and investing in the people and areas where we operate.”
– Brad Thorlakson, president & CEO, Tolko Industries Ltd.

Alberta’s government is committed to the responsible management of our natural resources, which includes sustainable forest management and enhancing operational practices for the benefit of the environment and all Albertans, including Indigenous peoples.

Before an FMA is renewed, the government undertakes a thorough assessment of the company’s compliance with relevant legislation, regulations and policies, as well as the company’s sustainable forest management plans for the area.

West Fraser and Tolko’s current forest management plan was recently approved and is in place until 2031. The plan is based on sustainable forest management principles, practices and implementation.

Forest Jobs Action Plan

The renewal of this FMA supports the Forest Jobs Action Plan initiative to provide companies with secure access to wood fibre, which in turn helps maintain and protect thousands of jobs. This helps support Alberta’s Recovery Plan by committing sustainable, long-term fibre access for forest companies while ensuring our forests continue to provide ecological, economic, social and cultural benefits for Albertans, including Indigenous peoples, that can be enjoyed by future generations.

Quick facts

  • The development of forest management plans is an important legal obligation for FMA holders, turning environmental commitments into actions in the field.
  • FMA holders are subject to strict reforestation requirements that require them to reforest harvested areas within two years. On average, FMA holders plant two trees for every tree harvested, establishing young, healthy forests and restoring wildlife habitat.
  • West Fraser operates a High Prairie sawmill in association with the FMA, which directly provides 150 good-paying jobs and indirectly provides another 450 jobs.
  • Tolko operates a High Prairie oriented strand board (OSB) facility in association with the FMA, which directly employs 150 people and provides an additional 300 indirect jobs.
  • The total forest management agreement area is 245,527 hectares.
  • An FMA is a long-term (20-year), renewable, area-based form of forest tenure and is the most secure type of forest tenure in Alberta. There are currently 21 FMAs in Alberta.

Well-managed forests reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire and mountain pine beetle outbreaks, increasing the resiliency of Alberta’s forests.

Related information

L-R (front row): Brad Thorlakson, Minister Horner, D’Arcy Henderson; L-R (back row) MLA Pat Rehn,
MLA Dan Williams, James Gorman (vice president, West Fraser, Corporate and Government Relation).