The Algonquin Forestry Authority (AFA) is the Crown Agency responsible for Sustainable Forest Management in Algonquin Provincial Park.
General Information: Forest Facts
The total area of the Park is 7,635 km2 including water. Less than 55% of that total area is available for forest harvesting on a periodic basis. Forest management activities are a permitted use only in the recreation/utilization zone. These activities are not allowed in wilderness, nature reserves, historical, natural environment or development zones or reserves for shorelines, portages, trails, etc.
The level of harvesting is based on what is sustainable over the long term. The wood supply available to industry is a function of sustainable forestry practices and is not influenced by industrial demand. Forest management plans are revised every ten years and supply levels are adjusted to reflect changes in the forest.
Harvesting activities take place on approximately 1% of the forested area of the Park in a given year.
More than 95% of harvesting is done with partial cutting systems (selection or shelterwood). These systems are based on removing designated trees and retaining better quality trees which are uniformly spaced for seed and shelter, and establishing natural regeneration. The new forest develops under the canopy of the existing forest whereby forest cover is maintained at all times. Species such as maple, beech, yellow birch, white pine and hemlock are managed with these systems.
Less than 5% of harvesting is a form of clearcutting with standards. These areas help to maintain the natural diversity of the forest while creating the early successional habitat favoured by wildlife such as the white-tailed deer. Species such as poplar, jack pine, red pine and white birch require open sunlight conditions to germinate and grow new seedlings.