Stewardship of the Forest
Ours is a long-term business. We want healthy, productive forests not just for today but for decades and generations to come.
Albertans own the forests in their province and accordingly DMI recognizes its immense responsibility as a steward of a vast, yet finite, public resource. DMI must demonstrate to its public that it is a responsible steward of the forest while removing trees in an economically viable manner. Along with this responsibility comes the mandate to develop public participation which often requires large investments of time and energy from local stakeholders.
DMI manages about 2.9 million hectares of public forestland in Alberta under a Forest Management Agreement (FMA) signed with province of Alberta. The harvest rate on provincial land is regulated by Annual Allowable Cut (AAC), which has a maximum volume of timber that can be cut each year in a given area. DMI practices sustainable forest management. AAC is determined using timber supply models that use ecological principles forecast over a 200 year horizon.
One of the keys to developing a long-range forest management plan is having a complete and thorough inventory of the forest – including information such as vegetation, wildlife and forest use. In 1998, DMI completed a massive biophysical inventory of close to six million hectares in northwestern Alberta.
In Alberta, a forest management plan must be prepared and approved before any harvesting begins. A forest management plan is a document that describes how and when human activities will occur in a forest. Forest management planning involves projecting the growth, harvest, and regeneration of forests 200 years into the future. A Detailed Forest Management plan forecasts harvesting operations for a period 20 years into the future and is updated every 10 years.
From this forest management plan, more specific detailed plans are created. The General Development Plan (GDP) is a document that outlines operational activities over a five-year time frame. The operational activities include proposed harvest areas, road construction, road maintenance, and reforestation. Strategies to address fire control, and manage fish and wildlife habitat are also identified as part of the GDP. This plan is updated annually.