The Agroforestry & Woodlot Extension Society (AWES) is a non-profit organization with the mission of increasing awareness of the economic, social, and environmental values of agroforestry and woodlots in the agricultural landscape. Our board members represent diverse sectors across Alberta, including municipal and provincial government, industry, and other non-profit organizations. With guidance from our board, AWES staff promote responsible agroforestry and woodlot management across Alberta by providing extension and project management services to landowners, land managers and others who influence land-use practices.
In the late 1990s, representatives from government, industry, and conservation agencies realized they shared a common goal in encouraging the sustainable management of the more than 3.6 million hectares of privately owned forested land in Alberta. Their collaborative efforts led to the formation of the Woodlot Extension Program in 2000.
A decade later in 2010, WEP went through an organizational transition and evolved into AWES. The transition – and particularly the addition of “Agroforestry” to the name – was spurred by recognition of the prevalence of agricultural activities within and around privately forested areas, and the importance of finding sustainable and profitable ways of integrating land-uses that are traditionally seen as distinct: agriculture and forestry. Today, AWES in a fully independent non-profit organization with a diverse membership that still shares the common goal of encouraging sustainable forest management on private lands.