TOTAL Human Footprint:
During the past century, the availability of natural resources in Alberta has defined human land-use patterns, in both time and space. The province was considered a farming frontier in the late 1800s, and most of the human footprint in central and southern Alberta is the result of this farming legacy. While agriculture remains important, other human land uses, particularly forestry and oil and gas development, have expanded in recent decades into previously undisturbed areas in the Foothills and Boreal Forest Natural Regions. To meet the needs of Alberta’s growing population, urban areas have grown to keep up with industrial growth. As these activities continue, understanding and managing the cumulative effects on Alberta's biodiversity are priorities.
As of 2016, human footprint occupied 29.37% of Alberta. Agriculture was the dominant human footprint, covering 20.27%, an area five times larger than that of forestry footprint (4.38%), the second-largest human footprint category. The remaining footprint types, in decreasing order of provincial area covered, include: energy (2.03%), transportation (1.42%), urban/industrial (1.01%), and human-created waterbodies (0.25%).
|Human Footprint Type||Area (km2)||Area (%)|
|Total Human Footprint||194,600||29.4|
|Human-created Water Bodies||1,656||0.2|
FIGURE: Summary of percentage cover of total human footprint broken down by human footprint category in Alberta, circa 2016.