The Forest Resource Improvement Association of Alberta (FRIAA) is a not-for-profit association governed by a Board of Directors who report to its industry members and to the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (ESRD). FRIAA has a mandate to deliver programs and initiatives that enhance forest resources and that benefit Albertans. FRIAA has a strong track record of efficient program delivery with full public accountability. There are currently six separate programs under the FRIAA umbrella, each with its own specific objectives related to forest reosurce improvement. A total of $347 million has been spent, and well over 1,500 individual projects have been completed using FRIAA funding since the association’s inception in 1997.
Forest Resource Improvement Program
FRIAA’s cornerstone program is the Forest Resource Improvement Program (FRIP). FRIP involves collecting dues from industry to fund projects that enhance forest resources or the management of forest resources for the benefit of all Albertans. FRIP projects have become a very effective and common way for the forestry, lands, and wildlife communities to work together towards enhancing forest management systems.
FRIP projects can include a wide variety of activities. The common thread for all of them is that they directly improve forest resources or enhance the management of forest resources in Alberta and that they go beyond legislated requirements of industry. Most FRIP projects are delivered by FRIAA members, using partners and subcontractors throughout the forestry sector.
Since the inception of FRIAA in 1997, over $200 million has been contributed towards FRIP projects that support key aspects of sustainability and resource enhancement through:
On-the-ground work to improve forest stands and wildlife habitat
Integrated resource and land-use planning and inventory work
Applied research projects
Public education and awareness
Community Reforestation Program
Transferred to FRIAA in 2000, the Community Reforestation Program (CRP) involves collecting reforestation levies from small timber operators to fund reforestation activities in relation to the Community Timber Program. FRIAA targets the established regeneration standards published by the province in carrying out reforestation. Service providers are contracted by FRIAA to deliver the activities required to conduct reforestation. These may include FMA holders, groups of Commercial Timber Permit CTP holders, and silvicultural contractors.
Since the implementation of the CRP in 2000, total program spending has been over $55 million:
Over 38 million seedlings have been planted.
Over 50,000 ha of land have been reforested.
Nearly 30,000 ha have met the intended standard on final survey.
Work is ongoing on the remaining area.
Wildfire Reclamation Program
The purpose of the Wildfire Reclamation Program (WRP) is to assist in reclaiming and re-establishing forest cover on areas that have been harvested by industry and replanted, but subsequently damaged or destroyed by wildfires. Any cutblock that has been harvested, treated in any way for reforestation, and burnt over is eligible for assistance from the WRP. The WRP is an important part of the Ministry’s extensive efforts to sustain forest growth in relation to wildfire management.
In 1998, wildfires destroyed over 30,000 ha of regenerating cutblocks. A $35-million grant was provided to assist in re-establishing forest cover, with the following results:
Over 40 million seedlings were planted.
100% of the area has been returned to productive forest.
Total expenditures exceeded $37.6 million (additional expenditures were covered by investment income).
Since 2007, $39.3 million in grant money has been provided to FRIAA to treat over 21,000 ha of cutblocks damaged by wildfire.
Mountain Pine Beetle Mitigation Program
The Mountain Pine Beetle Program (MPBP) provides funding for industry to participate in activities relating to the control and mitigation of mountain pine beetle (MPB) infestation. The program is key to providing opportunities for the industry to participate in MPB control and to maintain a coordinated government and industry response. Incidental Conifer Replacement Program
Since its inception in 2007, the MPBP has been granted $22.7 million and provided over $21.5 million in funding for activities such as:
Detecting beetles through ground and aerial surveys
Removing infested trees
Preventing spread of beetle from log yards
Protecting seed orchards and genetic trials
Incidental Conifer Replacement Program
Aspen stands that were harvested in certain management units had scattered coniferous trees. The Incidental Conifer Replacement Program (ICP) collected specific reforestation levies from these stands and reinvests the money in projects that enhance the growth of coniferous trees on Alberta's public land.
The ICP was established in March 2005, when the Minister transferred $2.8 million to FRIAA along with the mandate to complete the program activities initiated by the Crown. Activities have included:
Enhancing understory inventory for better protection/avoidance of conifer patches during harvest operations
Planting over 1.3 million seedlings in burned areas or regenerated deciduous stands
Mountain Pine Beetle Forest Rehabilitation Program
FRIAA’s newest program, the Mountain Pine Beetle Forest Rehabilitation Program (MPBFRP) provides funding to industry (FRIAA members) to carry out activities that help to maintain or enhance forest resources by rehabilitating forest lands that have been negatively impacted by Mountain Pine Beetle. The program contemplates activities such as planting, seeding, stand tending, information gathering and other rehabilitation activities.
FRIAA has a proven track record for effective delivery of programs that relate to its mandate of enhancing forest resources in Alberta. It has demonstrated an ability to understand the objectives of specific initiatives that fall within this overall mandate and establish and deliver programs that meet those objectives. Integrity, transparency, and accountability are watchwords that continue to guide the association.
Today, FRIAA is more diversified than ever, and this diversity helps sustain it through the ebbs and flows of particular programs that it administers. But FRIAA is not complacent in looking to the future. It is concerned with improving funding for FRIP, its keystone program, and continues to look for new opportunities to achieve its mandate—both through FRIP funding mechanisms and through delivery of new programs.