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Forestry and Logging With Support Activities

At 38 million hectares, Alberta's forests cover a land mass equal to the size of Japan. The provincial government allows an annual harvest of more than 30 million cubic metres of timber. Because harvesting is balanced with reforestation, in 2015, forestry industry workers planted 65 million seedlings. Products of the forestry and logging industry range from building supplies, pulp and paper, and animal bedding material to a variety of engineered wood products.

GDP Gross Domestic Product

Gross domestic product (GDP) measures the overall size of an economy. In 2015, the forestry and logging industry made up 0.1% of Alberta's GDP. This represents a 0.2% decrease from 2013.

Alberta’s GDP
Decrease from 2013
  • growing or harvesting timber
  • producing seedlings in specialized nurseries
  • gathering forest products such as gums, barks, and balsam needles
  • providing related support services

The forestry and logging industry employed about 3,600 people in 2015. This is an increase of 900 jobs (33.3%) from 2013.


About 2,700 men worked in the industry in 2015 (up 12.5% from 2013).


Data for women in the industry is not available.

Average Wage
Forestry and Logging With Support Activities
Average Hourly Wage
Average Hourly Wage
  • The average 2015 hourly wage of $40.81 for the forestry and logging industry was above the provincial average of $29.06.
Industry Performance

The value of Alberta's forestry industry products rose by $150 million (5.0%) in 2015 over the previous year, marking the fourth consecutive year of growth. Diversification and stronger prices for products contributed to this growth. The value of pulp and paper grew by 16.0% in 2015, while the panel sector rose by 7.0%. Lumber production values, however, dropped by 5.0% that year, possibly linked to the decline in demand for new housing.

In response to increasing global demand for renewable energy resources, export sales of wood pellets, made from previous waste material such as sawdust, has grown steadily, climbing from $208 million in 2012 to $285 million in 2015. In another move to capitalize on the interest in biofuels, Canada's first commercial-scale plant to recover lignin, a renewable wood by-product that can replace some petrochemicals, opened in Hinton in 2016.

The Conference Board of Canada, a not-for-profit research organization, estimated that the impact of the Fort McMurray wildfire contributed to a 0.33% drop in this industry's 2016 GDP in Alberta.

Industry Outlook

The expiration of the Canada-U.S. Softwood Lumber Agreement in October 2015 may weigh on industry investment decisions. While a one-year grace period prevents the U.S. from launching punitive trade action, possible future trade restrictions could hamper the industry. Nevertheless, the Conference Board of Canada predicts that the forestry and logging industry's overall profit margins will average 5.4% between 2016 and 2020.

Industry Employment Trends

Employment in this industry is expected to grow at an average rate of 5.4% from 2016 to 2019.

OCCinfo has more information about occupations in Alberta, including details about duties, working conditions, educational requirements, employment outlook, and salary ranges. You can also find reports on region-specific information about wages, job vacancies, and hiring difficulties in this industry. Visit the Survey Analysis to learn more.

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