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Forest Inventories

Proper forest management practices can only be put in place if land managers have accurate information on the location, extent and condition of the forest resources and the ability to analyze that information to determine the potential effects of different activities. Forest inventories give us important information to help calculate the Annual Allowable Cut. That means how many trees loggers can cut down every year. Inventories provide data on tree age, tree height, what plant species are present, and how much a forest will grow and how fast.

Alberta's Phase 3 Inventory has been one of the most widely used inventories by the provincial forest industry. Its main focus is timber production. It has been kept up-to-date to include forest impacts, such as burned areas, timber harvesting, and land clearings (well sites, pipeline rights of way, agricultural expansion).

In the near future, a new inventory - the Alberta Vegetation Inventory (AVI) - will be completed and will replace Phase 3. It provides better information on artificial features (roads, pipelines, wellsites, etc.), vegetation height, species, crown closure, age and productivity. In keeping with the new direction of forest management, AVI also includes information that was not used in past inventories. Some examples of this are soil moisture, waterbodies (streams, rivers, lakes, etc.), and land elevation. This information is turned into digital computer data and stored in a database to help manage forests.

 Courtesy of Western Canada Scenic Photographs Inc

Courtesy of Western Canada Scenic Photographs Inc