Forest Tenure - Forest Management

 Alberta owns all timber located on provincial Public lands. Under Alberta's Forests Act, the right to harvest Crown timber is allocated to companies and individuals through forest tenures. Alberta's forests are managed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
To achieve sustainable forest management, the province establishes Acts, regulations, standards, policy directives and procedures. Alberta government policies support sustainable forest management to provide ecological, economic, social and cultural opportunities for the benefit of present and future generations. What are the forest tenures in Alberta?

There are three main forest tenure systems in Alberta:
  • Forest management agreements
  • Timber quota
  • Timber permit
Based on the forest tenure type, timber is issued to a forest tenure holder by a specific timber disposition, which can include a:
  • Forest Management Agreement (FMA)
  • Timber licence
  • Timber permit
For further information, see:

Forest Tenure System

Timber Disposition

Main Types

Forest Management Agreements (FMA)

Forest Management Agreements


Timber Quotas

Timber Quota Licence

  • Coniferous Timber Quota (CTQ)
  • Deciduous Timber Allocation (DTA)

Timber Permits

Timber Permits

How are forest tenures allocated?

The Alberta government does not transfer land ownership rights through these forest tenures. Each forest tenure gives the holder specific rights and responsibilities to manage the forest and harvest timber for either short or long periods. Broadly speaking, tenure allocations in Alberta are either area-based or volume-based.
  • Area-based tenures give the tenure holder the right to harvest a specified volume of timber from a specified area or all the timber in a specified area. Forest Management Agreements are an example of area-based tenures.
  • Volume-based tenures give the tenure holder the right to a percentage of Annual Allowable Cut (AAC; measured in timber volume) within a specific area or a specified volume from a specific area. Coniferous timber quotas and timber permits are examples of volume-based tenures.
For more information, see: Are there any opportunities for public and Indigenous involvement?

Yes. The government will notify potentially affected Indigenous communities of its intent to renew Forest Management Agreements (FMAs). Also, the public and Indigenous communities have the opportunity to get involved through the consultation processes during forest management planning.

Forest Management Agreement holders are required to consult with the public and Indigenous communities during the development of the Forest Management Plans. Other tenure holders also make their specific plans available for public and Indigenous consultation on an annual basis.

Public consultation can include
  • Open houses within the community
  • Presentations and information on the tenure holder's website
  • Public advisory committees
  • Town hall meetings
For more information, see: Does the government regulate the activity of forest tenure holders?

Yes. Under the authority of the Forests Act, the Alberta government has developed strict regulations, planning and operating standards, and policy directives in order to manage our forest resources in a sustainable and ecologically sound manner. These documents regulate and guide
  • Forest management planning
  • Forest pest management
  • Harvest reporting
  • Harvesting operations
  • Reforestation
Each forest tenure must follow its applicable regulations, standards and directives. The government also monitors all forestry-related activity on Alberta public land to ensure that these regulations, standards and policy directives are followed.

Where possible, all timber harvesting should occur in a manner that will minimize the impact on:
  • Areas near recreation or tourism sites and facilities
  • Fish and wildlife
  • Legislated protected areas, watersheds, and registered trapping areas
  • Visual quality of the landscape
Reforestation must take place in all areas where timber is harvested.

For more information about the content of this document, contact Wendy Machan.
This information published to the web on February 25, 2016.
Last Reviewed/Revised on February 22, 2018.