Forest Management & Planning

Forest Management

Forest Sections & Management Units

The forested portion of the province has been divided into ten Forest Sections that generally relate to common forest conditions throughout the Forest Section.

These Forest Sections are comprised of Forest Management Units that further define a forested area with common forest conditions that are managed in a similar manner.

Forest inventories within Forest Management Units are analyzed to determine allowable harvest limits of softwood and hardwood tree species within each Forest Management Unit.

In the near future a more ecological approach to defining forest management areas will more accurately represent the ecological processes and conditions found in Manitoba's forest ecosystems.

Timber Cutting Authorities on Crown Land

Timber cutting authorities for Crown Land may be allocated by the Crown under The Forest Act by:

  • Forest Management License Agreements (FMLA)
  • Timber Sale Agreements (TSA)
  • Timber Permits

There are currently two Forest Management License Agreements, 185 Timber Sale Agreement Holders and 2,928 Timber Permit Holders in Manitoba.

Forest Management License Agreements (FMLA)

The minister, with the approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council may grant a Forest Management License (FML) to an industry where the investment in a wood-using industry established, or to be established in Manitoba, is sufficient to require the security of a continuous timber supply. The license is subject to Sections 11 and 12 of The Forest Act, to such terms and conditions as may be imposed by the minister, and to such terms and conditions as may be prescribed in the Forest Use and Management Regulations. The license is restricted to the species, size, quality and quantity of timber which, in the opinion of the minister, is required by the licensee.

FMLA are granted for a period of not more than 20 years. The license may be renewed with or without change or amendments to the terms and conditions under which it was originally granted, for additional periods of not more than 20 years each.

Forest Management Licensees are required to prepare a long-term Forest Management Plan (FMP) for the land area included in their FMLA that incorporates strategic and operational considerations. Operating Plans (OP) and Annual Reports are also required.

Timber Sale Agreements (TSA)

Timber Sale Agreements may be issued under a number of circumstances. The TSA is a legal document describing the softwood and/or hardwood volume to be harvested, the specific locations to be harvested, and any special conditions for that harvest. The responsibility for forest management planning for areas under TSAs is in most circumstances assumed by Manitoba Economic Development, Investment, Trade and Natural Resources. TSAs may be issued in the following ways:

  • Auctions are usually initiated by Manitoba Economic Development, Investment, Trade and Natural Resources in order to promote economic development. Alternatively, if an individual or company expresses an interest in harvesting wood in a particular area that may be of interest to others, an auction may be held to ensure equal opportunity and fairness to all who may be interested in accessing that wood for harvest. Auctions are done by sealed tender, with the TSA being awarded to the highest bid. Direct Awards: Direct awards are those which are awarded without a competition.
  • Direct Awards generally result from single party interest in remote communities or areas with limited economic potential. If no bids or tenders are received in Timber Sale auctions, the director of forestry may directly award a Timber Sale to any person who applies within 12 months of the original auction competition date.
  • Community Allocation: A community allocation is a direct award that is granted to a community, in order to provide economic and other benefits to the community, rather than to an individual or an industry. Communities interested in this type of TSA submit a plan prior to receiving the TSA, indicating the desired allocation and how that allocation would benefit the community.
  • Special Allocations: This type of TSA is granted under special circumstances to individuals, industry or other groups. Interested parties must submit a proposal/business plan to Manitoba Economic Development, Investment, Trade and Natural Resources explaining how the TSA would benefit the province as a whole via creation of employment, benefits to the provincial economy, etc. This proposal requires approval from the Minister of Economic Development, Investment, Trade and Natural Resources.
  • Quotas: Timber producers who operated a sale or permit in the three years previous to June 14, 1965 were granted a annual volume of wood based on their three year's average production. This right was called a quota. The original quota system ran from 1965 to 1980. The new quota system (1980 to present) is essentially an extension of the original quota system with a few modifications. The new quota system in Manitoba is governed by the Timber Quota Policy. Although each quota holder possesses an annual allocation of wood, either a TSA or a Timber Permit is still required as legal authority to harvest their quota.

Timber Permits

Timber permits are provided for commercial harvests of less than 300 m3, often for purposes such as cutting for firewood, fence posts, or for small lumber/sawmill operations. These permits are only issued for a maximum of one-year and will not be extended. Forest Management Plans for areas harvested under Timber Permits are done by Manitoba Economic Development, Investment, Trade and Natural Resources.

In recognition of an Indigenous right to harvest timber for domestic use, Indigenous people may obtain a Timber Permit free of charge, which will allow them to harvest timber for their own use from the traditional use area of their First Nation.

Further details regarding specific regulations, policies and legislation which pertain to the various forms of tenure in Manitoba can be found in the following documents:

Forest Management Licences (FML) and Crown Land

The Forest Act provides for the establishment of a Forest Management Licence to provide a continuous timber supply to a wood using industry.

A Forest Management Licence, granted for a period of not more than twenty years, may be renewed for further periods.

The Forest Management Licence describes the land upon which trees may be cut, the volume of wood that may be harvested, and other terms and conditions. There are currently two Forest Management Licences in Manitoba.

Timber management and forest renewal are the responsibilities of Manitoba Economic Development, Investment, Trade and Natural Resources on Crown Forest Land outside of Forest Management Licence areas, and within Forest Management Licence areas where the wood is used by a facility other than that operated by the Forest Management Licensee.

  • FML 2 - Canadian Kraft Paper Industries Ltd., The Pas, MB
  • FML 3 - LP Canada Ltd., Minitonas, MB

Forest Management Licence # 2 - Canadian Kraft Paper Industries Ltd.

Manitoba entered into Forest Management Licence Agreement # 2 with Repap Manitoba Inc. in 1989. FML # 2 is now managed by Canadian Kraft Paper Industries Limited and supplies timber to the kraft paper mill in The Pas.

Documents pertaining to the on-going agreement between the Province of Manitoba and FML#2 are listed below.

  • Repap Manitoba Inc. Forest Management Plan 1993-2002(Files 3094.10, 3094.20, 3094.30, 3094.40)
  • Tolko Industries Ltd. - Forest Management Plan 1997-2009 (File 3094.60)

FML # 2 documents are located in these Public Registries:

  • The Pas Public Library
    53 Edwards Avenue
    The Pas, MB
    (204) 623-2023
  • Thompson Public Library
    81 Thompson Drive
    Thompson, MB
    (204) 677-3717
  • Flin Flon Public Library
    58 Main Street
    Flin Flon, MB
    (204) 687-3397
  • Company Contact: Canadian Kraft Paper Industries Ltd.

Forest Management Licence # 3 - LP Canada Ltd.

Manitoba entered into Forest Management Licence Agreement # 3 with Louisiana-Pacific Canada Ltd. in 1994. FML# 3 is currently managed by LP Canada Ltd. and supplies timber to the oriented strand board mill in Minitonas.

Documents pertaining to the on-going agreement between the Province of Manitoba and LP Canada Ltd. and company contact information are listed below.

  • Louisiana-Pacific Corporation (File 3741.00 OSB plant file)
  • 1995-2004 Forest Plan (File 3893.00)

FML # 3 documents are located in these Public Registries

  • Winnipeg Public Library
    251 Donald Street
    Winnipeg, MB
    (204) 986-6450
  • Manitoba Legislative Library
    200 Vaughn Street
    Winnipeg, MB
    (204) 945-4330
  • North-West Regional Library
    200 - 6th Avenue North
    Swan River, MB
    (204) 734-3880

Companies who hold, or are seeking, a Forest Management Licence are required to develop long-term Forest Management Plans under The Forest Act. The Forest Management Plan must be developed in accordance with current guidelines provided by Manitoba.

Planning for the management and use of forest resources is essential to ensure the sustainability of Manitoba’s forests.  A Forest Management Plan is a landscape level plan that provides strategic direction for forest resource activities on crownlands, within a license area, over a 20-year period.

The development of a forest management plan must include the engagement of the public, stakeholders and indigenous communities. Context for the plan is provided with an outline of the current status of the licence area. The plan includes a sustainable wood supply analysis, preferred management approach and outlines long-term timber harvesting, access development and forest renewal activities within the Forest Management Licence area. Lastly, it describes monitoring to be undertaken and reporting details.

Forest Management Plan Guideline

The planning guidelines provide direction for developing long-term forest management plans that are consistent with Manitoba's commitment to sustainable forest management.

In 2020, the Clean Environment Commission Report on the Forest Management Plan approval process recommended streamlining the process to incorporate required elements under The Environment Act to allow for a single approval process. In 2021, the 20-year Forest Management Plan Guideline was revised to include the requirements of both The Environment Act and The Forest Act and additionally, modernized the approval process.

The guidelines will be reviewed every five years to ensure submitted forest management plans are consistent with provincial policy, practices and standards for forest management.

20-Year Forest Management Plan Guideline (2021)

Forest Management Plan Approval Process

In 2021, the Ministers charged with the administration of the Forest Act and the Environment Act signed an agreement in accordance with section 11(2) of The Environment Act providing for a single approval process for forest management plans. Forest Management Plans are submitted to the Forestry and Peatlands Branch for a review process that includes both the public and a technical advisory committee. The approval of a Forest Management Plan is the responsibility of the Director of the Forestry and Peatlands Branch.