Land-use Planning Regions:

TOTAL AREA:
85,781 km2

TOTAL Human Footprint:
46,931 km2

Region Overview

The North Saskatchewan Region, an area covering 85,787 km2 (or 18%) of Alberta, bisects the province from the Rocky Mountains in the west to the Saskatchewan border in the east, and encompasses a diversity of ecosystems and land uses. This region includes five of Alberta’s six Natural Regions: Rocky Mountain, Foothills, Boreal Forest, Parkland, and Grassland. Forestry is an important industry in the Foothills. In the Parkland, Grassland, and Boreal Forest Natural Regions, there are a range of land uses—agriculture, industrial development, and urban expansion—as well as the transportation infrastructure to support these activities. Privately owned land makes up more than 60% of the region. Human footprint status and trend is summarized for the North Saskatchewan Region.

Status

As of 2016, human footprint occupied 54.71% of the North Saskatchewan Region. Agriculture was the dominant human footprint, covering 44.18% of the region. The following human footprint categories occupied similar areas: transportation (2.76%), forestry (2.76%), urban (2.42%), and energy (2.32%).  

Human Footprint Type Area (km2) Area (%)
Total Human Footprint 46,931 54.7
Agriculture 37,898 44.2
Energy 1,990 2.3
Forestry 2,368 2.8
Human-created Water Bodies 232 0.3
Transportation 2,368 2.8
Urban/Industrial 2,076 2.4

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

Total Human Footprint 54.7%

Agriculture 44.2%

Energy 2.3%

Forestry 2.8%

Human-created Water Bodies 0.3%

Transportation 2.8%

Urban/Industrial 2.4%

Trend

Between 1999 and 2016, the total area of human footprint in the North Saskatchewan Region increased by 3.73%, from 50.98% to 54.71%. The footprints that expanded the most during this time period included: forestry (+1.73%), energy (+0.76%), and urban (+0.70%). 

Human Footprint Type 1999 (km2) 2016 (km2) Change (km2)
Total Human Footprint 43,731 46,931 + 3,200
Agriculture 37,426 37,898 + 472
Energy 1,338 1,990 + 652
Forestry 884 2,368 + 1,484
Human-created Water Bodies 189 232 + 43
Transportation 2,239 2,368 + 129
Urban/Industrial 1,475 2,076 + 600
Human Footprint Type 1999 (%) 2016 (%) Change (%)
Total Human Footprint 51.0 54.7 + 3.7
Agriculture 43.6 44.2 + 0.5
Energy 1.6 2.3 + 0.8
Forestry 1.0 2.8 + 1.7
Human-created Water Bodies 0.2 0.3 + 0.1
Transportation 2.6 2.8 + 0.1
Urban/Industrial 1.7 2.4 + 0.7

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