Input invited on Dawson Creek timber supply review

Trent Ernst

 

The annual allowable cut in the Peace Region is up for discussion between now and November 26.

Comments are being accepted as part of a comprehensive timber supply review for the Dawson Creek Timber Supply Area.

The timber supply review happens every ten years on average, though the actual timing is at the discretion of the chief forester.

The annual allowable cut is 1,860,000 cubic metres, and came into policy May 1, 2003.

However, since 2002, a number of changes have occurred in the timber supply area that may affect the annual allowable cut. These changes include, according to the discussion paper, “Introduction of the Forest and Range Practices Act, issuance of two new community forest agreements, completion of a new forest inventory, including improved site productivity information, and infestations of mountain pine beetle.”

Public feedback on the discussion paper will be considered by the chief forester before setting a new allowable annual cut. The discussion paper describes the geography, natural resources, forest management and land-use plans of the Dawson Creek Timber Supply Area. It also provides the results of the timber supply analysis, including a base case harvest forecast.

The Dawson Creek Timber Supply Area covers about 2.3 million hectares, with only 758,335 hectares available for timber harvesting. Communities in the timber supply area include Chetwynd, Dawson Creek, Fort St. John, Hudson’s Hope, and Tumbler Ridge. Much of that area is covered by natural stands older than 80 years. Much of the managed stands are less than 25 years old.

According to the discussion paper, “the base case harvest forecast indicates the current AAC of 1 860 000 cubic metres can be maintained for six decades.”

Afterwards, concludes the document, “The harvest is projected to decline to 1,233,000 cubic metres per year, a level that is 34 percent lower than the current AAC.

The chief forester’s allowable annual cut determination is an independent professional judgment based on information such as technical forestry reports and input from First Nations and the public.

Under the Forest Act, the chief forester must determine the maximum amount of wood that can be harvested in each of the province’s 38 timber supply areas and 34 tree farm licences at least once every 10 years. However, a new allowable annual cut may be determined earlier in response to abnormal situations, or postponed for up to five years if an allowable annual cut level is not expected to change significantly.

To view or download a copy of the discussion paper, visit the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations forest analysis and inventory branch website at www.for.gov.bc.ca/hts.