Alberta’s forest sector slowing down

Photo: Satoru Kikuchi/Wikimedia Commons

In the first half of 2015 Alberta’s forest sector began to slow, but remains stable. Values of lumber, pulp and paper, and panelboard manufactured by Alberta Forest Products Association (AFPA) members totaled $750 million in the 1st quarter of 2015 and $718 million in the 2nd quarter. The numbers reflect a 4.4% increase from the 1st quarter of 2014, followed by a year-over-year decline of 1.3% in the 2nd quarter.

Pulp and paper sector production by AFPA-member companies for the 1st quarter of 2015 was 378,100 air dried metric tonnes (ADMT) valued at $342 million. Production was down 10,500 ADMT (2.7%) from the same period in 2014, but stronger prices caused values to increase by $17 million (5.1%). In the 2nd quarter of 2015, pulp and paper production was 376,300 ADMT valued at $331 million. This represents a decline of 15,000 ADMT (3.8%) from the 2nd quarter of 2014, while values increased $12.6 million (4%). 

"Our industry has many opportunities that bode well for the future," said AFPA President and CEO Paul Whittaker. “We have seen an increase in the generation of green power, development of markets abroad, and the use of cutting-edge technology in facilities.” Whittaker noted that despite some positive news, the industry also faces a number of challenges, including the expiration of the Softwood Lumber Agreement with the United States, the mountain pine beetle, and a slowing economy in Canada. “Some of these challenges are certainly contributing to slower growth in the sector. Now, more than ever, it is important for the forestry sector, government, and communities to work closely together to ensure that the forest industry remains a vital contributor to Alberta.”

The Alberta Forest Products Association is a private, non-profit industry organization, representing lumber, panelboard, pulp and paper, and secondary manufacturing wood products companies operating in Alberta, Canada.