Land-use Planning Regions:

TOTAL AREA:
83,004 km2

TOTAL Human Footprint:
24,162 km2

Region Overview

The Upper Athabasca Region covers 83,004 km2 (12.5%) in northwest central Alberta. Forest ecosystems cover most of the landbase, including the Boreal Forest (44%), Foothills (38%), and Rocky Mountain (17%) Natural Regions. Forestry is an important economic driver with several Forest Management Agreement areas overlapping the regional boundary. In addition, recreation and tourism are key industries; Jasper National Park—a world-renowned tourist destination—coincides with this region. Human footprint status and trend is summarized for the Upper Athabasca Region.

Status

As of 2016, human footprint occupied 29.11% of the Upper Athabasca Region. Agriculture was the dominant human footprint, covering 13.23% of the landbase, followed closely by forestry footprint, which covered 11.20%. Energy and transportation footprint covered 2.29% and 1.50% of the region, respectively. 

Human Footprint Type Area (km2) Area (%)
Total Human Footprint 24,162 29.1
Agriculture 10,981 13.2
Energy 1,901 2.3
Forestry 9,296 11.2
Human-created Water Bodies 125 0.1
Transportation 1,245 1.5
Urban/Industrial 623 0.8

FIGURE: Summary of percentage cover of total human footprint broken down by human footprint category in the Upper Athabasca Region, circa 2016.

Total Human Footprint 29.1%

Agriculture 13.2%

Energy 2.3%

Forestry 11.2%

Human-created Water Bodies 0.1%

Transportation 1.5%

Urban/Industrial 0.8%

Trend

Between 1999 and 2016, the total area of human footprint in the Upper Athabasca Region increased by 6.82%, from 22.29% to 29.11%. Most of this increase was due to the expansion of forestry footprint (+5.65%), which doubled in size, increasing from 5.55% to 11.20% during this time. 

Human Footprint Type 1999 (km2) 2016 (km2) Change (km2)
Total Human Footprint 18,502 24,162 + 5,661
Agriculture 10,409 10,981 + 573
Energy 1,577 1,901 + 324
Forestry 4,607 9,296 + 4,690
Human-created Water Bodies 66 125 + 58
Transportation 1,071 1,245 + 174
Urban/Industrial 432 623 + 191
Human Footprint Type 1999 (%) 2016 (%) Change (%)
Total Human Footprint 22.3 29.1 + 6.8
Agriculture 12.5 13.2 + 0.7
Energy 1.9 2.3 + 0.4
Forestry 5.5 11.2 + 5.6
Human-created Water Bodies 0.1 0.1 + 0.1
Transportation 1.3 1.5 + 0.2
Urban/Industrial 0.5 0.8 + 0.2

FIGURE: Trend in the percentage area of total human footprint, and by human footprint category in the Upper Athabasca Region between 1999 and 2016. Click on the entries in the legend to turn human footprint categories on and off.