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Home > Alberta's Resource Inventory > Forests

Resource Inventory

Forests

Mixed ForestForested lands in Alberta occupy about 60 percent of the total provincial area. Approximately 351,000 square kilometres of the total forested area is located within the Green Area. Of this, approximately 64 percent (225,000 square kilometres) is timber-productive forest (forest capable of yielding 50 cubic metres/hectare of wood volume within 120 years). 

Alberta's forests feature a variety of tree species. White spruce, black spruce, lodgepole pine, jack pine, balsam fir, Douglas fir and tamarack are the most common coniferous species. Aspen, balsam poplar and white birch are the most common deciduous species. In the timber-productive area, almost 50 percent is pure coniferous stands, about 30 percent is pure deciduous, and the remaining 20 percent is a mixture of coniferous and deciduous trees.

Forest inventory records show that the forests in Alberta are relatively young. Due to a history of frequent forest fires, approximately 70 percent are less than 120 years of age. The majority (55 percent) of pure coniferous tree stands are between 81 and 140 years old; 10 percent are older and the remainder are younger. Pure deciduous stands are typically younger, with 65 percent of the trees being between 41 and 100 years old. Of the remaining age classes, 26 percent of trees in pure deciduous stands are older than 100 years.

The age of mixed-wood forests reflects the age range of their dominant tree type. About 51 percent of coniferous-dominated mixed-woods are 81 to 140 years old, whereas 55 percent of mixed deciduous forests are between 41 and 100 years old.   

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