AFPA Members Plant 74 Million Trees in 2016
Tree planting is an instrumental part of mitigating climate change
Edmonton, September 19, 2016 – Members of the Alberta Forest Products Association (AFPA) planted 74 million tree seedlings in Alberta’s forests during the 2016 planting season. This means that for every Albertan, 18 trees were planted this spring and summer. The industry replants an average of 2 trees for every 1 that is harvested.
“Our industry plants trees because we want a sustainable and green future for Alberta,” said AFPA President and CEO Paul Whittaker. “We know that healthy forests are one of the best defenses against climate change. Planting trees also fulfills our commitment and obligation to the people of Alberta to regenerate all forests that we harvest. We take this commitment very seriously.”
Honourable Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, emphasized the importance of reforestation. “Our forests are essential to the quality of life in Alberta. They support a healthy ecosystem, thousands of well-paying jobs, and pristine recreational spaces. Government and the forest sector work closely together to maintain our forests for future generations.”
Planting trees supports renewable forests and provides jobs for Albertans. Tree planters, who are often youth and post-secondary students, worked 37,000 person days on replanting operations. Tree planting also creates jobs in support sectors like tree nursery employees and local businesses that supply goods and services to planting operations.
More information can be found on our website at albertaforestproducts.ca.
The Alberta Forest Products Association is a private, non-profit industry organization, representing lumber, panelboard, pulp and paper, and secondary manufacturing wood products companies operating in Alberta. AFPA member companies are active participants in sustainability advancements that contribute economic, environmental, and social benefits for Albertans.
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Since 1960, forest companies have been legally mandated to reforest harvested areas in Alberta. Reforestation must occur within two years of harvesting. Tree planting operations in Alberta typically occur between May and August, when conditions are right to plant trees and promote their survival through the winter months. Forest companies monitor trees for up to 14 years after planting, and conduct all work needed to help ensure survival to full maturity and successful forest renewal.
Growing trees to full maturity takes approximately 50 to 100 years, depending on species and climatic conditions. Forest companies must harvest trees at a level that is sustainable – that is, within the rate of forest regrowth. Less than 1% of Alberta’s commercial forest land base is harvested each year.
From an ecological perspective, forests that have a mixed composition of species and age classes are desirable. Forests that are uniformly old are less resistant to fire and pest invasions. Sustainable harvesting and reforestation are important forest management tools. Replanting operations aim to restore harvested areas to their natural state. Tree species are selected to ensure a natural and diverse balance. Planting trees is one technique that forest companies use to regenerate Alberta’s forests. Certain species, like aspen, regenerate naturally after harvesting.
Healthy forests also play an important role in mitigating climate change. As young forests grow, they sequester carbon. Storing this carbon in sustainable forest products removes in from the atmosphere indefinitely. A six-storey wood-framed apartment stores the same amount of carbon that 672 cars generate in a year of typical driving.
More information on Alberta’s sustainable forest management policy can be found at http://esrd.alberta.ca/lands-forests/forest-management.
Facts and Figures
- In 2016, forest companies planted 74 million trees. This works out to an average of 18 trees for every man, woman, and child in Alberta.
- Forests cover approximately 38 million hectares or 60% of Alberta. 38 million hectares is roughly the same size as Japan
- The forest industry directly employs 15,000 Albertans and creates spin-off employment for thousands more.
- On average, the industry replants 2 trees for every 1 that is harvested. This helps to ensure long-term forest health.
- Forestry generates over $5 billion for Alberta’s economy and supports 70 communities throughout the province.