Strategic Plan 2016 – 2021

The Alberta Forest Genetic Resources Council (Council) was established by the Government of Alberta in the year 2000, to assist the government in fulfilling its forest stewardship mandate. The Council was formed on the basis of a detailed framework that was developed by experts from the provincial government, the forest industry and the academic community. Members of Council are appointed by the Executive Director, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, Forest Management Branch, for either a five-year or two-year term.

Today, with diverse representation from the scientific community, government, industry, nursery, reclamation and biodiversity sectors, Council members meet to discuss and debate how to maintain natural plant genetic diversity within Alberta’s forested areas. Council also develops advice on how to increase productivity in forest growth and yield, improve wood quality, and implement sound reclamation practices through the improved management of forest genetic resources.

Maintaining natural genetic diversity provides the evolutionary capacity of forest (ecosystem resilience and health) to adapt to a variety of stressors, including climate change, pests, diseases and fire. Ecosystem resilience and health are also key to achieving sustainable forest management, ensuring that forest resources provide Alberta with sustainable economic, ecological and socio-cultural benefits.

Alberta is committed to achieving sustainable forest management through various agreements, including A Vision for Canada’s Forests: 2008 and Beyond, agreed to by the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers. The conservation of Alberta’s biodiversity and sustainable use of its biological resources is also required with Canada’s ratification of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (1992), commitments that are reaffirmed in the Canadian Biodiversity Strategy (1996).

The mandate of the Alberta Forest Genetic Resources Council is to:

Provide advice and recommendations to the Government of Alberta on policy, standards and regulations related to the management and conservation of Alberta’s forest genetic resources.

To achieve Council’s mandate it:

 VISION STATEMENT

Excellence in the management and conservation of forest genetic resources in Alberta.

MISSION STATEMENT

To advise, influence, facilitate and promote policy, networking and partnerships for the management and conservation of Alberta’s forest genetic resources by:

GOAL

The goal of the Council is to establish and foster a sound foundation for the management and conservation of forest genetic resources through advice to the Government of Alberta on forest genetic resources matters.

PRINCIPLES

The Council`s goal is based on the following four principles:

 

THE COUNCIL`S STRATEGIC PRIORITIES

The Council, in 2016, agreed to focus its efforts over the next 3 or more years on the following Strategic Priorities. The list of Strategic Priorities is not in any order of priority – all Strategic Priorities are of equal importance.

Rationale: to provide recommendations to the Government of Alberta on gene conservation to ensure genetic diversity is maintained for Alberta’s native forest plants.

Mechanism: Establish a Gene Conservation Technical Advisory Committee

Priority Activities: 

Rationale: Enhance productivity using forest genetic resources management in light of fibre requirements, now and in the future.

Mechanism: Establish an Ad Hoc Committee on Provincial Productivity and Tree Improvement Targets 

Priority Activities: 

Rationale: To foster a unified approach in research and operational activities in forest genetics and tree improvement across the province.

Mechanism: Establish a Genetics and Tree Breeding Technical Advisory Committee

Priority Activities:

The Genetics and Tree Breeding Technical Advisory Committee will provide recommendations to the Council aimed at fostering a unified approach in research and operational activities in forest genetics and tree improvement across the province (government, private sector and others). This will include recommending research and operations in all important areas, such as:

Rationale: To improve the knowledge and understanding of reclamation activities and materials and continue to advance reclamation with respect to resolving reclamation issues, including issues identified during the 2015 review and revision of the Forest Genetic Resources Management and Conservation Standards. Provide recommendations to the Council aimed at improving the knowledge and understanding of reclamation activities and materials and to continue to advance reclamation in order to achieve the reclamation objective of self-sustaining ecosystems.

Mechanism: Establish a Reclamation Technical Advisory Committee

Priority Activities:

Rationale: To enhance and understand trending of Alberta’s forest genetic resources and provide routine reporting on the state of Alberta’s forest genetic resources.

Mechanism: Government of Alberta – with support from the Council Communication Committee plus others as required

Priority Activities: 

Rationale: To improve and advance knowledge in relation to Alberta’s forest genetic resources management as inputs in the development of Government of Alberta forest genetic resources policies.

Mechanism: Input from Council members and Technical Advisory Committees to be compiled to identify research priorities in the various forest genetic resources research areas.

Priority Activities:

Rationale: Continue and enhance Council’s role in undertaking reviews of Government of Alberta policies on request by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry – Forest Management Branch, and to further efforts to identify policy needs and potential adjustments in regard to emerging issues and forest genetic resources related policies.

Mechanism: Council as a whole.

Priority Activities: 

Rationale: To continue and enhance Council’s important role in communicating the essential need for the sustainable use and conservation of Alberta’s forest genetic resources, as well as to inform stakeholders and other members of the public of emerging issues and needs in relation to forest genetic resources.

Mechanism: Council Communication Committee, website development, preparation and sharing of communications products and participation in public and other events

Priority Activities: 

Rationale: To provide forums for Council members and others to learn and exchange ideas on seed orchard matters and orchard management issues, and to identify any emerging issues.

Mechanisms: a variety of mechanisms to be used to exchange ideas on seed orchard matters and orchard management issues, and to identify emerging issues, including mechanisms such as study tours and meetings among orchard researchers, managers and operators

Priority Activities: 

Approved by Council February, 2017

[1] Species that are designated as endangered or threatened are then legally identified as such under the Alberta’s Wildlife Act.