Province seeking input on Okanagan timber harvesting

Timber harvest input sought

The provincial government is seeking public comment as it prepares to set the annual allowable cut in the Okanagan Timber Supply area.

The AAC is set once at least every ten years, with the current figure — 3.1 million cubic metres per year — put in place in February 2012. It dictates how much logging can occur in a given region annually.

Forests in the Okanagan have seen significant change over the past decade, the largest being the end of salvage logging of mountain-pine-beetle-killed trees.

The “base case” for the new annual allowable cut would see 2.65 million cubic metres per year, which reflects average levels prior to the outbreak of the mountain pine beetle.

B.C.’s chief forester could, however, adjust the cut above or below that in either direction.

“The AAC determination of the chief forester is an independent judgment based on professional experience and consideration of the broad range of social, economic and environmental factors required under Section 8 of the Forest Act in addition to the timber supply analysis,” reads a discussion paper on the Okanagan Timber Supply area.

Notably, the discussion paper said studies have shown forestry activity does not appear to be impacting the sustainability of moose populations in the region.

“Interestingly, road densities were high across much of the [area], but they did not appear to be correlated with declining moose populations or high hunting pressure,” the paper said.

The report lists 21 active mills operating in the region, which spans 2.4 million hectares from the Shuswap to the American border, with almost 760,781 hectares available for timber harvesting.

Comments are being accepted until March 18, 2021.

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