Grizzlies near the Chungo region Alberta, photo credit: Hal Jackson

Planning Harvesting with Grizzly Bears in Mind

Oct 29, 2019

In Alberta, our forest planning work stretches over a 200-year time frame. With such a long-term view, we are continuously on the lookout for opportunities and methods to improve our sustainable forest management practices and activities.

One of our most important goals is to responsibly harvest timber while also ensuring the right mix of habitats are on the landscape to support the animals that depend on the natural forest environment we share, such as grizzly bears.

In 2010, the Province of Alberta implemented a grizzly bear recovery strategy to improve bear habitat and increase their numbers. We have implemented the recovery strategy actions within our activities, and the province has seen grizzly bear populations trending up, including areas where we harvest trees.

West Fraser’s foresters got curious about understanding more about how harvesting affected grizzly bear habitat. They decided to investigate to see if they could better understand what effect the order of our harvest planning steps has on wildlife habitats where we harvest, specifically looking at the effects on grizzly bears.

Learn more about some of the surprising results we gathered in researching the effect of harvest planning steps on grizzly bear habitat

West Fraser’s research project leveraged the Foothills Research Institute’s Grizzly Bear GIS tools, developed within fRI’s award-nominated Grizzly Bear Research program.

Did you know?
You can contribute to grizzly bear research – as a citizen scientist! In Alberta Bear Management Area (BMA) 3, near Jasper National Park, consider downloading the grizzly bear scat app. Through the app you can volunteer to collect scat DNA samples. It is a non-invasive, cost-effective method to monitor regional bear populations for the fRI Research Grizzly Bear Program.