The draft 2021 Lesser Slave Lake Regional Forest Management Plan (LSLRFMP) was submitted to the Government of Alberta for technical review in January 2021. The plan uses a unique, regional approach that allows for consistent consultation, research, modelling, and implementation of forest management practices across the region as well as the application of forest management strategies at a scale appropriate for water and habitat management. The review of the draft is underway and revisions are being made as feedback is received. The companies anticipate final approval by the end of the year.
DRAFT 2021 Lesser Slave Lake Regional Forest Management Plan
Below is the table of contents for the draft LSLRFMP, with links to download and a brief description of the contents of each chapter and annex.
Ch. 1 - Corporate Overview and Forest Management Approach: Background information on the forestry operators and the regional planning approach.
Ch. 2 - FMP Development: Describes how the Forest Management Plan (FMP) was developed including the public and Indigenous consultation processes and outcomes.
Ch. 3 - Forest Landscape Assessment: Assesses the administrative, physiographical, climatic, ecological, and socio-economical status of the region.
Ch. 4 - Summary of Previous FMPs: Assesses the status and performance of previous Forest Management Plans and reviews significant events that have occurred since their approval.
Ch. 5 - Values, Objectives, Indicators, and Targets (VOITs): Presents the performance standards used for plan development, monitoring, and reporting.
Ch. 6 - Preferred Forest Management Scenario: Describes the harvesting and silviculture actions that operators plan to take over the next 10 years and the predicted response of the forest to these actions over a 200-year planning horizon.
Ch. 7 - FMP Implementation: A summary of the products that will direct plan implementation for the next 10 years as well as specific strategies and direction for forest management activities.
Ch. 8 - Research: Summarizes current and proposed research programs.
Annex I - Forest Management Agreement (FMA): Contains the current Forest Management Agreements between the companies and the Government of Alberta.
Annex II - Net Landbase Development: Describes the landbase development process, which classifies the region into areas of active (eligible for timber harvesting) and passive (non-eligible) land. The net landbase is used to develop the Timber Supply Analysis and Spatial Harvest Sequence.
Annex III - Growth & Yield: Describes the data, methods, and assumptions applied to develop timber volume yield estimates.
Annex IV - Timber Supply Analysis: Describes the forecasting process used to select a Preferred Forest Management Scenario for each Forest Management Unit.
Annex V - Spatial Harvest Sequence: Maps showing the location and grouping of stands that are the focus of harvest planning over the next 10-20 years.
Annex VI - Growth & Yield Program: Describes program goals, data collection initiatives, and timber growth monitoring commitments.
Interested parties are encouraged to download the draft FMP products and submit feedback here by September 1, 2021.
Preferred Forest Management Scenario
A robust Forest Management Plan recognizes the many types of benefits a forest provides and carefully balances economic objectives with environmental and social values. The Preferred Forest Management Scenario determines the location and the amount of timber to be harvested over the next 10 years, at which point a new management plan and Preferred Forest Management Scenario is required. However, forestry companies are required to evaluate the impacts of management decisions over a 200-year planning horizon to support the sustainability of Alberta’s forests into the future. Computer modelling is used to evaluate the potential impacts of different harvest activities on non-timber values such as wildlife habitat and watersheds. These outcomes inform the development of a detailed roadmap of what, where, and when to harvest over the next ten years.
Did you know? While a Preferred Forest Management Scenario is only valid for a 10-year period, companies are
required to look at potential impacts of harvest over a 200-year planning horizon to ensure long-term sustainability
of Alberta’s forests.
Spatial timber supply modelling is used to investigate alternatives and to conduct trade-off analyses between timber and non-timber values for each Forest Management Unit within the region. Harvesting constraints may be applied to specific locations of concern identified through public engagement, such as areas around high-value watersheds. Results are then combined into a regional model to allow values to be assessed at the broader landscape level. The outcome of this process is a Preferred Forest Management Scenario for each Forest Management Unit, which contains the timber harvesting schedule and regeneration activities planned for the next 10 years, as well as predictions for sustainability of timber supply and other recognized non-timber values.
Every management decision results in trade-offs and good management decisions weigh potential benefits against undesirable outcomes before determining a path forward. Effective forest management planning seeks to balance economic, social, and environmental objectives while recognizing that each decision will result in a trade-off and minimizing impacts where possible.
Did you know? The LSLRFMP will allow the forest industry to invest and maintain their facilities while providing more
than 750 direct and over 2,000 indirect jobs within the Slave Lake Region.
The 2021 LSLRFMP will support economic and community well-being for the next decade by protecting jobs, decreasing wildfire potential, and reducing modelled impacts while supporting Annual Allowable Cut in the region. The plan will help support communities in the Slave Lake region by safeguarding jobs and invigorating the economic sector during recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Communities will benefit from ongoing assessments of fire behavior potential and FireSmart planning that takes actions to reduce the risk of large, intense fires. The PFMS was developed to maintain a productive harvest level while reducing modelled impacts on non-timber values. The harvest level allows for the forest industry to invest and maintain their facilities while providing more than 750 direct and over 2,000 indirect jobs within the Slave Lake region related to ongoing forest management activities.
The Preferred Forest Management Scenario directs harvesting while forecasting potential impacts on other forest values. The Government of Alberta has developed computer modelling for species such as caribou, grizzly bears, marten, barred owl, and various songbirds that are used to predict the impact of forestry activities on wildlife habitat far into the future. At the regional level, songbirds and marten remain below the high risk threshold over the 200-year planning horizon, though impacts vary at a finer scale. Regionally, habitat changes in barred owl are predicted to exceed the high-risk threshold by year 2071. The companies recognize these potential impacts and support ongoing research to refine wildlife models and strengthen mitigation strategies for the region. Updated wildlife modelling is completed every 10 years with each new Forest Management Plan and the most current research is used to inform best management practices.
Spatial Harvest Sequence
A key output of the Preferred Forest Management Scenario is the Spatial Harvest Sequence, which shows the location and grouping of stands that are the focus of harvest planning over the next 10-20 years. Earlier iterations of the harvest sequence were available on the website as a digital download from July 31, 2020 to September 15, 2020 and from January 27, 2021 to February 28, 2021. Feedback received during that review period has been incorporated into the current Spatial Harvest Sequence.
The FMP provides high-level strategic direction. Cutblock-level planning to address local values and site-specific concerns are addressed through ongoing operational planning and consultation processes that occur annually throughout the life of the FMP.
Questions and comments on the draft 2021 LSLRFMP will be accepted through the website until September 1, 2021. We welcome and value your feedback on the plan. The companies will continue to work with stakeholders and attempt to mitigate or address issues through operational implementation in a timely manner.
Thank you for your feedback.