Courtesy // Vadim Sherbakov

The future of Canadian forests

By Briony Smith

It is at the heart of the country’s environment, history, culture and economy, and its sustenance is crucial. In honour of AMA’s upcoming 100th anniversary in 2026, AMA has partnered with Project Forest, a non-profit focused on rejuvenating local landscapes to re-wild non-productive areas of land across Alberta into 100 hectares of new forests.

These will become “forever forests.”

What exactly are “forever forests”? Quite simply, the trees being planted will never turn into a housing development or an industrial park someday. As part of AMA’s first initiative at Project Forest Camp Creek, workers and volunteers have already planted 15,200 trees—the first of an expected 200,000 trees that will grow across those 100 new hectares.

Efforts like these also help restore sacred lands, so that medicinal plants and native species can thrive again through the continued care and practices of First Nation communities.

One key component of the life cycle of a forest is fire, the aftermath of which releases nutrients back into the ground. But, as we vividly recall, wildfires went beyond the forest this year in a catastrophic way across Canada, destroying property and claiming lives.

When a fire burns too hot and too long—even within the parameters of the forest—it also does considerable damage, including the irretrievable loss of the forest’s seed source. “And you actually lose organic soils that have built up since the last ice age,” says Project Forest executive director Mike Toffan.

And that’s where human intervention is needed, says Toffan, not only to protect communities, but the forests as well.

“Without our help, the forest might not come back, and that’s where it’s really important to have forest management and surveys and helping the forest along,” he says, “because these big, huge catastrophic fires did happen, but way less frequently before Western civilization took hold of North America.”

So, the hard work of forest management continues—and with positive impacts. One mature tree can sequester about 1,300 pounds of carbon in its lifetime. So those 15,200 newly planted trees at Project Forest Camp Creek? They’ll remove roughly 7,394 tonnes of CO2 from the air over the forest’s lifetime. And that’s worth rooting for.