To commemorate International Forests and World Water Day, Vanderwell would like to share some of its commitments and achievements in reforestation and watershed protection.
Every year Vanderwell plants trees in their recently harvested blocks, giving those areas a jump-start on reforestation. The tree species planted is dictated by what was growing there before harvest, to get as close to natural regeneration as possible. Once the trees are planted, Vanderwell tends to their growth over 14 years. Each of those seedlings will capture, on average, one tonne of carbon over its lifetime. That is a lot of carbon being captured by a young, hungry, and growing tree! Forest companies’ replanting practices renew the health and retain the function of forest water systems.
In the summer of 2020 alone, Vanderwell planted 3,214,680 seedlings on Crown Land and in 2021 they plan to plant even more, 4.9 million seedlings! Vanderwell also owns a large amount of private land and manages this land as part of their ongoing commitment to Sustainable Forest Management. In 2020 Vanderwell planted 194,265 seedlings on private land. Vanderwell also planted 624,780 seedlings as part of a Wildfire Reclamation Program in 2020. This program is funded by the Government of Alberta and helps to re-establish forest cover in previously reforested cutblocks damaged and destroyed by wildfire. Forest-related disasters like wildfires can disrupt our water supply so this program is vital to keeping our forests healthy.
Speaking of water systems, Vanderwell has a representative on the Board of Directors of the Lesser Slave Watershed Council (LSWC) which is the Watershed Planning and Advisory Council (WPAC) for the area that Vanderwell primarily operates in. Currently the LSWC is in the last year of a five-year Water Quality Monitoring program on the Lesser Slave Lake and tributaries. Vanderwell is a major sponsor of this program as it will establish a 5-year data set that will help us assess the condition of our rivers and make informed watershed and land management decisions.
Forests are vital to Alberta’s watershed in many ways – they help maintain wetlands, keep water in the ground in a particular area, and reduce the risk of floods. The health of our forests plays a significant part in making sure that all Albertans have access to clean, fresh drinking water.