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Photo: Al-Pac

Status of Land Cover and Biodiversity in the Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc.
Forest Management Agreement Area

Status assessment of human footprint, species, and habitat

In This Report

This report describes the status of human footprint, species, and habitat in the Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc. Forest Management Agreement area located in northeastern Alberta. This is the third status report completed for this management area; a preliminary status report was completed in 2009 and the second report was completed in 2015.

High-level Findings

Status of several indicators of environmental health assessed in this report include:


Total Human Footprint

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Forestry Footprint

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Interior Native Habitat

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Overall Biodiversity Intactness

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Intactness of Old-forest Birds

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Intactness of Mammals

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About Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc.

Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc. (Al-Pac) manages the largest Forest Management Agreement (FMA) area in Alberta.

Located in northeastern Alberta, the Al-Pac FMA area covers approximately 10% of Alberta’s land area and includes a mosaic of deciduous, mixedwood, and coniferous forests along with an abundance of aquatic ecosystems including lakes, rivers, and several types of wetland (e.g., bogs and fens). This range of habitats supports a rich array of biodiversity requiring responsible forest management to sustain ecological value along with the social and economic benefits in the FMA area.

Al-Pac uses an ecosystem-based management (EBM) approach to manage its activities in the FMA area. Following a natural disturbance model as part of EBM is viewed as a risk-managed approach to maintaining biodiversity. The underlying assumption of this approach is that the biodiversity in boreal forests is adapted to frequent, widespread disturbances—particularly fire as the main agent of change. Therefore, if forest harvesting resembles the patterns, structure, and vegetation communities resulting after fire disturbances, biodiversity is more likely to be maintained.

While there are some well-documented differences between wildfire and timber harvesting immediately after disturbance, it is hypothesized that differences in biodiversity will diminish with time. Implementing harvest planning and practices that are inspired by natural disturbance should hasten the convergence of many components of biodiversity between wildfire and timber harvesting. Al-Pac commissioned the ABMI (2010-2012 field work) to test the convergence hypothesis and found supportive evidence for many aspects of biodiversity when comparing 15-year old harvest areas to comparably-aged wildfires[1]

Al-Pac is committed to long-term monitoring of biodiversity in northeastern Alberta to allow the company, the regulators, and the public to understand how biodiversity responds to a variety of natural and human-caused disturbances.

Al-Pac has been a long-time supporter of the ABMI and believes strongly in the mandate of the ABMI to conduct credible, third-party monitoring with results that are available to all. This report represents the third report, and second 5-year update, on monitoring biodiversity on the Al-Pac FMA area using the ABMI’s core monitoring program.

Al-Pac has maintained Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) forest management certification on its Forest Management Agreement (FMA) area since 2005 (FSC C022642). This certified area is currently the largest contiguous FSC certified forest in the world[2]. FSC is an international, not-for-profit, membership-based organization. The mission of the FSC is to promote environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable management of the world’s forests[2,3]. The new National Forest Stewardship Standard of Canada was published by FSC in June 2019 and must be implemented by certified members by January 1, 2021[4,5]. Throughout this report, applicable FSC Indicators that can be addressed by ABMI data are highlighted to support Al-Pac's conformance to the new standard.

About Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute

The ABMI is an arm’s-length, not-for-profit scientific organization.

The business of the ABMI is to monitor and report on the status (current condition) and trends of Alberta’s species, habitat, and human footprint. The goal of the ABMI is to provide relevant scientific information on the state of Alberta’s biodiversity to support natural resource and land-use decision making in the province.

The ABMI is jointly delivered by InnoTech Alberta, the Royal Alberta Museum, the University of Alberta, and the University of Calgary. The ABMI Board of Directors includes representatives from the Government of Alberta; environmental non-governmental organizations; the forest, energy and agriculture sectors; and the research community. Al-Pac currently represents the forestry sector on the ABMI Board.

The ABMI reports on a range of biodiversity indicators that act as a guide for establishing biodiversity-related management goals and tracking performance against those goals. Notwithstanding, ABMI is not a management agency and does not make management recommendations.

The ABMI is guided by a core set of principles—we are independent, objective, credible, accessible, transparent, and relevant. The ABMI generates value-neutral, independent, publicly accessible data, and presents knowledge derived from the data in a value neutral format.

The ABMI would like to acknowledge the ongoing support and commitment of our key funding partners:



Huggard, D.J., B.E. Grover, E. Dzus, M. Smith, and J. Schieck. 2014. Effectiveness monitoring for biodiversity: comparing 15 year old structural retention harvest areas to fires in boreal aspen. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 44:1-9. Web access: 10.1139/cjfr-2014-0091.


Alberta Pacific Forest Industries. 2012. Forest Stewardship Report Overview: Reporting Period 2006 – 2010. Available at:


Anonymous. N.D. Who We Are. Forest Stewardship Council. Available at:


Anonymous. N.D. A New National Forest Management Standard. Forest Stewardship Council. Available at:


FSC® Canada. 2018. The FSC® National Forest Stewardship Standard of Canada. FSC-STD-CAN-01-2018 V 1-0 EN. Forest Stewardship Council. 159 pp. Available at:

American Marten
Photo: Nick Parayko

Effective Human Footprint

Effective Forestry Footprint


This report is in partnership with