Prompt renewal after harvesting is critical to long-term forest health, and to ensure a steady supply of timber for Saskatchewan's forest industry.
Forest renewal activities will vary depending on the site. Some areas are prepared and planted with seedlings, while others may be disturbed with equipment to encourage regrowth, or left to regrow naturally. Forest companies plan these activities before they harvest the site, as part of their required planning.
In Saskatchewan, the forest industry is required to make sure that all harvested sites are reforested promptly. The government sets standards that companies must meet or exceed, as well as requirements for the survey data they must collect, and when. The provincial government is responsible for renewing areas that predate existing agreements.
Overall, 96 per cent of harvested forest areas in Saskatchewan have been successfully regenerated.
Measuring Forest Renewal Success
An area is sufficiently regenerated when 80 per cent of the available growing area has trees 1.5 to 2.0 metres tall, depending upon the species, 14 years after harvest. As the graph shows, the area harvested and renewed are not exactly the same in any given year, because of the built-in time lag between harvest and renewal.
Areas are not typically renewed in the same year they are harvested, with renewal occurring a few years later. Whatever treatment is used – planting seedlings, disturbing the ground to encourage regrowth, or leaving areas to regrow naturally – areas must meet the growth criteria set out in the Forest Regeneration Assessment Standard at seven and 14 years after harvest to be declared sufficiently regenerated.