CPAWS Releases Forestry Report

Forest Industry Making Little Progress Towards Sustainability

EDMONTON, July 13, 2005

The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), Edmonton, today released an in-depth report on the state of forest management in Alberta. The objective of the study was to determine how far government policies and industrial practices still need to go to achieve the vision set forth in the Alberta Forest Conservation Strategy, released in 1997. To do this, CPAWS compared and contrasted the management plans of all large forestry companies in the province and the government’s new Forest Management Planning Manual against the Alberta Forest Conservation Strategy and the Forest Stewardship Council boreal certification standard.

"We give a ‘B’ to Al-Pac and Daishowa Marubeni for making meaningful progress in implementing the Alberta Forest Conservation Strategy; a ‘C’ to the government for taking an important first step towards sustainable forestry, while falling short of what will ultimately be needed; a ‘F’ to other forestry companies, that have been unwilling to undertake any changes that could affect their cut levels; and an ‘F-’ to the petroleum sector which is ignoring its responsibilities and frustrating everyone else’s efforts to achieve conservation gains," says Richard Schneider, Director of Conservation.

"We found that, overall, little progress has been made by forestry companies in implementing the recommendations of the Alberta Forest Conservation Strategy," says Schneider. All but two companies — Al-Pac and Daishowa — still plan to liquidate old-growth on their management areas (where liquidate implies a permanent loss of 80% or more of the existing merchantable old-growth of one or more species). Intensive management practices, such as the spraying of herbicides, are increasingly being used; whereas only one company, Al-Pac, has been working to establish new protected areas within its management area. Harvest levels continue to be unsustainable because timber losses to petroleum development and wildfire are still ignored in timber supply calculations and estimates of regrowth are overly optimistic.

The government’s new Forest Management Planning Manual, recently released for public review, marks the first shift in regulatory regime since the Alberta Forest Conservation Strategy was released eight years ago. For the first time, companies will be required to address a series of indicators related to ecological sustainability in their management plans. We commend the government on taking this important step. However, it will be necessary to also set minimum standards, which are notably absent from the Planning Manual, before change will actually occur on the ground. The scope of the Planning Manual will also need to be extended to all companies operating within a management area, including oil and gas companies, if there is to be any chance of success. Currently, the petroleum sector accounts for almost as much forest clearing as the forestry sector, yet oil and gas companies are not required to follow any form of integrated planning framework, nor are there any limits on their cumulative ecological impacts.

View the report at

View the government planning manual at