British Columbia's chief forester expects to reduce AAC in Cariboo from 5.77 million m3, cut was expanded in 2007 to salvage stands infested with mountain pine beetle

WILLIAMS LAKE, British Columbia , September 20, 2011 () – It won’t be until late 2012 when the province’s chief forester makes a determination on the annual allowable cut in the Cariboo.

But it is expected to be down from the 5.77 million cubic metres alloted in 2007; how much, though, is yet to be determined. The rationale for the 2007 cut was to facilitate the take of mountain pine beetle stands.

“I said that in order to maximize the efficacy of that salvage we want the licensee to focus in on the stands that are greater than 70 per cent pine and do as much of that as possible west of the Fraser River so that was the direction,” said Jim Snetsinger, assistant deputy minister of resource stewardship and the province’s chief forester.

“Since then we’ve been monitoring harvest performance and licensees have been doing a good job.”

By legislation new AACs must be issued every 10 years. Snetsinger says in this case he decided to do it within five years in order to ensure that the cut was sustainable and the harvesting of mountain pine beetle stands was on target, adding that doing an early AAC helps him to determine when to “start to transition the cut back down.”

“We just want to make sure we’ve got the right level of cut.”

In the coming months Snetsinger will gather data and move toward putting modelling together. A public discussion paper will outline conditions in the Williams Lake management unit, the state of mountain pine beetle kill trees, and other elements and allow for public input for example what is being seen on the ground or items to advise the chief forester. An AAC determination will follow near the end of 2012.

Snetsinger believes there still is a “significant amount” of damaged timber out there that hasn’t been taken down which will be a consideration in his next AAC designation.

In determinining the AAC, Snetsinger will take into account the growing stock, the amount of timber in the timber supply area, the level of tree mortality, the health of second-growth stands, and performance of licensees with the mountain pine beetle kill. Forest health issues, and non-timber resource values such as mule deer winter range, old-growth management areas, and First Nations concerns and interests will be considered.

Snetsinger doesn’t know how the AAC will look in 2012 but says the cut “can’t stay high forever.”

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