The Alberta Forest Genetic Resources Council – Goal, Vision and Mandate

With greater local, national and international pressure from the public to manage forests for a broad set of values, products and services, a great deal of complexity has been introduced to forest management planning. This has evolved from a multiple-use, sustained yield, integrated resource management planning paradigm to one of Sustainable Forest Management (SFM).

On an international level, many groups and individuals have demanded assurance that forests are being managed in a sustainable manner. This is manifested through international consumer pressure and the widely adopted use of forest certification systems by companies and agencies involved in forest management.

Canada’s national commitment to SFM is reflected in such initiatives as the Canadian Criteria and Indicators sponsored by the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers (CCFM). This was in response to agreements on implementation of SFM coming out of the 1992 UNCED (Earth) summit as well as a longer-term development of a forest strategy culminating in the Canada Forest Accord on SFM, signed by Alberta in 1992. Linked to these SFM initiatives, Canada’s commitment as a signatory to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity links the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, biological resources and genetic diversity directly to these SFM initiatives. This in turn requires integration of forest genetic resource management into forest planning.

Alberta has undertaken a number of initiatives to meet its commitment to implement SFM. Overall guidance for policy development and implementation of SFM for Alberta’s public forests is provided by the Alberta Forest Legacy document, developed through extensive discussions with the public and stakeholders on the desired state and role of future forests. With guidance provided by the Legacy document, and with consideration of certification objectives and CCFM Criteria and Indicators, forest management planning standards are being developed and implemented based on the SFM paradigm. Planning, implementation and performance are directed through the forest management planning and review process.

The Alberta Forest Genetic Resources Council is a multi-stake holder advisory body with the following goal, vision and mandate:

GOAL: A solid foundation for the sustainable management of forest genetic resources in Alberta.

This goal is supported by four principles:

* Genetic gain: Increased growth and yield will accrue through operational tree improvement programs implemented according to current policy and best practices.

* Adaptation: Biological suitability to site and climate is essential.

* Genetic diversity: Natural variation is crucial to ecosystem resilience and health.

* Conservation: Alberta’s forest gene pool is a heritage resource.

VISION: Excellence in the management of forest genetic resources in Alberta, fostered by a productive partnership between government, industry and the scientific community.


* The Council will provide advice and recommendations to the Government of Alberta on policy, standards and regulations related to the management of Alberta’s forest genetic resources.

* The Council will foster communication, dialogue and technology transfer among stakeholders and participants in forest genetics research and operations on public forest lands and wetlands in Alberta.

* The Council will encourage an inter-disciplinary approach to forest genetic resource management (FGRM).

* The Council will identify and address issues of concern related to the management of forest genetic resources in Alberta.

Further, the Council is expected to:

* Foster communications, dialogue and technology transfer among various stakeholders and participants in forest genetics research, development and application in Alberta; and

* Address issues in forest genetic resource management through knowledge gap analysis, cooperative research facilitation, and the hosting of workshops, conferences and seminars.