Learn how we manage forests in Yukon

  • Our forests and who manages them
  • Forest management planning
  • Forest inventory and annual allowable cut
  • Forest tenure
  • Protecting our resources
  • Silviculture and reforestation
  1. Our forests and who manages them

    Yukon is home to extensive boreal forest covering an area of approximately 28.1 million hectares.

    Yukon forests boast a number of important values including:

    • ecosystem services such as:
      • fresh water;
      • air; and
      • carbon storage;
    • timber and other forest products;
    • fish and wildlife habitat;
    • cultural and historical resources;
    • outdoor recreation opportunities; and
    • natural beauty.

    Who manages our forests?

    The Forest Management Branch is responsible for managing and protecting Yukon’s public forest land.

    We make sure people and companies use forest resources in sustainable ways. We also want to increase socioeconomic opportunities. We want to do this without damaging the ecological and social systems our communities depend on.

  2. Forest management planning

    Forest planning in Yukon occurs on 3 levels based on 3 spatial scales. The types of plans range from broad, landscape-level to detailed site-level. Each plan helps ensure the sustainable use of forests. Planning identifies values on the land base and determines harvest limits in different areas.

    Forest resources management plans

    Forest resources management plans are strategic and cover a landscape usually greater than 1,000,000 hectares in area. These plans provide direction on:

    • which forest resource activities will take place;
    • where these will take place;
    • identifying resource zones;
    • forest values; and
    • sensitive areas.

    Find a forest resources management plan.

    Timber harvest plans

    These plans cover landscape units ranging from 5,000 to around 300,000 hectares. These identify:

    • areas proposed for forest resource harvesting;
    • where and how timber will be removed; and
    • strategies for minimizing or removing negative environmental impacts on other natural resources.

    Heritage assessments are also carried out at this stage.

    Site plans

    Site plans are specific and cover 1 to 500 hectares. These plans focus on operational and technical aspects of harvesting at the site level. Site plans identify:

    • tree-stand level management activities; and
    • methods and standards for harvesting.

    Site plans may include a reforestation plan. This ensures sufficient regrowth of forests after harvesting takes place.

  3. Forest inventory and annual allowable cut

    Forest inventory is the collection of data on the forest, such as tree species and size. Analysis of the data can help us make forest management decisions.

    Examples of inventory and analysis include:

    • mapping Yukon’s forest resources;
    • analysis to support decisions about forest planning and use;
    • providing data for the development of timber harvest plans;
    • providing data for forest health concerns; and
    • providing information and data for concerns about forest stewardship.

    The most recognizable forest analysis we do is a timber supply analysis. This explores how strategies could affect the timber supply and other forest values. The analysis helps determine a rate of harvest of forest resources. It takes into account economic, environmental and social factors. Timber supply analyses are some of the most important reports to support an annual allowable cut decision.

    Annual allowable cut

    The annual allowable cut is the volume of wood that we can permit for harvest:

    • over a specified time period;
    • for a specific land base; and
    • under a particular management regime.

    We set an annual allowable cut to make sure our forests are sustainably managed.

    We decide the annual allowable cut based on technical factors, such as a timber supply analysis. We also consider socioeconomic and environmental factors.

    Existing annual allowable cuts

    Haines Junction: 1 million cubic metres of wood over a minimum 10-year period beginning in 2006.

    Teslin: 25,000 cubic metres of wood a year.

    Current annual limits

    In areas that do not have a forest resources management plan, we set an annual limit as the annual allowable cut.

    Beaver Creek, Burwash Landing and Destruction Bay Annual Limit Region

    • 5,000 cubic metres per year of coniferous trees
    • 2,000 cubic metres per year of deciduous trees

    Carmacks Annual Limit Region

    • 5,000 cubic metres per year of coniferous trees
    • 2,000 cubic metres per year of deciduous trees

    Dawson Annual Limit Region

    • 5,000 cubic metres per year of coniferous trees
    • 2,000 cubic metres per year of deciduous trees

    Mayo Annual Limit Region

    • 5,000 cubic metres per year of coniferous trees
    • 2,000 cubic metres per year of deciduous trees

    Old Crow and Peel Annual Limit Region

    • 2,000 cubic metres per year of coniferous trees
    • 1,000 cubic metres per year of deciduous trees

    Pelly Crossing Annual Limit Region

    • 5,000 cubic metres per year of coniferous trees
    • 2,000 cubic metres per year of deciduous trees

    Ross River and Faro Annual Limit Region

    • 5,000 cubic metres per year of coniferous trees
    • 2,000 cubic metres per year of deciduous trees

    Watson Lake Annual Limit Region

    • 128,000 cubic metres per year of coniferous trees
    • 2,000 cubic metres per year of deciduous trees

    Whitehorse Annual Limit Region

    • 10,000 cubic metres per year of coniferous trees.
    • 2,000 cubic metres per year of deciduous trees.

     

  4. Forest tenure

    Forest tenure refers to how we give out harvesting rights for timber and firewood. Tenure includes what responsibilities go with that right.

    We give tenure for commercial harvesting only in areas that have a timber harvest plan.

    To get tenure, you must meet eligibility requirements, such as:

    • operating under a registered business; and
    • being in good financial standing with the Forest Management Branch.

    We use licences and permits to give forest tenure.

    Timber resource licence

    You need a timber resource licence to harvest timber for commercial purposes. The licence establishes:

    • the maximum amount of timber you can harvest annually; and
    • the total amount of timber you can harvest for the licence.

    The term of the licence can be up to a maximum of 10 years. We can approve a renewal of the license for 1 additional term. You can assign a timber resource licence to another business if we approve.

    To be able to harvest, you must also get a cutting permit. This is linked to your timber resource licence.

    Before we approve a licence, there's a public and First Nation notification period of at least 30 days.

    Fuel wood licence

    You need a fuel wood licence to harvest firewood for commercial purposes. The licence can be for a maximum volume of 20,000 cubic metres.

    The maximum term is 5 years. We can approve a renewal of the licence for 1 additional term. You cannot assign a fuel wood licence to another business or person.

    To be able to harvest, you must also get a cutting permit. This is linked to your fuel wood licence.

    Before we approve a licence, there's a public and First Nation notification period of at least 30 days.

    Cutting permit

    The cutting permit completes the authorization to harvest under a timber resource licence or fuel wood licence. The permit is tied to the licence it was issued for.

    The cutting permit has a maximum term of 3 years. It cannot be renewed or assigned to another business or person.

    Wood volumes authorized by a cutting permit are determined based on the limits set in the licence.

    Forest resources permit

    You need a forest resources permit to harvest:

    • timber for personal use;
    • firewood for personal use;
    • morel mushrooms for selling; and
    • other non-timber resources you want to harvest commercially.

    Forest resources permits can be issued for a maximum of 3 years. These cannot be renewed or assigned to another business or person.

    You do not need a forest resource permit to harvest for personal-use non-timber resources such as berries or mushrooms.

    To get a forest resources permit, visit your local Compliance Monitoring and Inspections office.

  5. Protecting our resources

    Heritage protection

    Heritage resources are sites or objects that are the evidence of past human presence on the landscape. These include:

    • historical sites dating from early Gold Rush times to the Alaska Highway construction era;
    • archeological remains, such as ancient camps and stone tools; and
    • fossils and other remains of extinct or prehistoric plants and animals.

    Heritage resources found in Yukon are protected. You cannot remove artifacts from historic or archaeological sites without a permit. Learn more about protecting heritage resources and resource development.

    Wildlife protection

    Maintaining habitat for wildlife is an important aspect of forest management and forest use. With forest operations, we try to minimize barriers to wildlife movement and protect wildlife features.

    Wildlife features are parts of a habitat that have an important use for animals. These features include:

    • mineral licks;
    • bear and wolverine dens;
    • nest sites;
    • beaver dams;
    • cavity nesting and wildlife trees;
    • game trails;
    • cliff faces; and
    • fish overwintering or spawning areas.

    Riparian and wetland protection

    Streams, lakes and wetlands are critical to healthy forest ecosystems. These provide habitat for aquatic and other wildlife species and protect water quality.

    Forests close to riparian features help stabilize soil and regulate water temperature. By soaking up water in wetter seasons, trees regulate water flow. Trees in riparian areas provide nesting and foraging habitat for migrating birds.

    There is usually a buffer zone next to riparian features where harvesting is either not allowed or is limited.

    Compliance and enforcement in Yukon’s forests

    Yukon’s forests play an important role in the lives of Yukoners and our environment. Compliance and enforcement are parts of managing our forests. These parts of forest managemt help us ensure the long-term health, and to realize the many benefits of forests.

    Compliance and enforcement are carried out by our natural resource officers. Officers are located in most Yukon communities and provide:

    • inspection;
    • enforcement; and
    • client support.

    As a forest user, it's your responsibility to ensure you comply with:

    • applicable laws;
    • regulations; and
    • any terms and conditions outlined in licences and permits.

     

  6. Silviculture and reforestation

    Silviculture is the practice of controlling forest:

    • establishment;
    • growth;
    • composition;
    • health; and
    • quality.

    Silviculture activities help maintain:

    • healthy ecosystems;
    • a diversity of forest resources; and
    • good stewardship.

    We address silviculture during timber harvesting at the site plan level. When we develop a site plan, we consider the regeneration of tree species after harvest. Regeneration activities have to be consistent with the:

    • forest resources management plan; and
    • timber harvest plan.

    Common silviculture activities include:

    • site preparation for natural seeding or planting;
    • planting trees; and
    • conducting surveys to assess tree:
      • composition;
      • density; and
      • distribution.

    Strategic plan for Yukon forests

    We have a silviculture strategic plan for Yukon forests. The plan provides guidance for our silviculture program. It also provides vision and direction for reforestation and related activities in Yukon.

    Download the strategic plan.