This paper examines the inter-sectoral conflicts and ecological impacts resulting from the development of oil and gas and forestry resources in Alberta's boreal forest region and evaluates the legal regime under which the two resource sectors operate. It argues that current policies, legislation and regulations are inadequate to meet the challenge of intensifying resource use and increasing ecological impacts. Structural reforms to the legal and policy regime and clear political leadership are required in order to achieve the effective integration and sustainable development of oil and gas and forest resources. Integration of development activities is seen as a way to minimize the collective industrial footprint on the landscape and protect the health of ecosystems, as well as to reduce operational and planning costs and resolve inter-sectoral disputes.
The research for this paper was made possible by a project grant from the Alberta Law foundation.