Alberta forestry continues solid growth
April 12, 2016 - Economic output by Alberta’s forest sector grew in 2015, marking the fourth consecutive year of increases. The forestry sector saw the value of its products rise by five per cent – or $150 million – last year, following growth of eight per cent in 2014, 14 per cent in 2013, and nine per cent in 2012.
Lumber, pulp and paper, and panelboard manufactured by Alberta Forest Products Association (AFPA) members in 2015 was valued at approximately $3 billion. The most significant gains came from pulp and paper, which grew 16 per cent. Panel also had a strong year, with seven per cent growth. Lumber production values declined by five per cent.
“Alberta’s forestry sector is strongly diversified,” said AFPA president and CEO Paul Whittaker. “This is due not only to product and market diversification, but also to investment in new areas. In addition to traditional products, the industry continues to make progress in converting waste streams into green energy and exploring new opportunities in bioproducts. Just last week, West Fraser opened a plant at their Hinton operation that will recover lignin from waste streams for use as a renewable substitute for products derived from fossil fuels. This type of innovation has built a forest industry that will play a critical role in an economically diversified Alberta.”
Alberta’s forest industry is a significant contributor to 70 Alberta communities. 15,000 Albertans work in the industry and an additional 30,000 are employed through economic activities generated by the sector.
Alberta’s forests cover 38 million hectares, an area approximately the same size as Japan. Our forests are managed according to some of the world’s most rigorous standards, including legally mandated regeneration of harvested areas and detailed forest management plans that include public consultation and consideration of ecological, recreational, and economic values.