The allowable annual cut for the Williams Lake Timber Supply Area has been reduced from 5.77 million cubic metres to three million cubic metres, chief forester Dave Peterson announced today.
The changes are effective immediately.
"By focusing on salvaging dead and dying pine while it still has economic value, I am confident we can maintain the mid-term timber supply while contributing to local economies," Peterson said.
In 2003, the AAC for the timber supply area was about 3.77 million cubic metres. It was temporarily increased in 2007 to 5.77 million cubic metres to recover maximum economic value and speed regeneration of forests impacted by the mountain pine beetle epidemic.
The new AAC limits the volume of live trees for harvest to 1.5 million cubic metres — which is close to the level that can be sustained through the mid-term once the beetle salvage is completed.
In the Williams Lake Timber Supply Area, it is estimated the mountain pine beetle infestation peaked in 2005/06 and now the cut level can decrease again to ensure the cut is sustainable in the long term.
As well, since 2007, the land available for harvesting has decreased due to the creation of new old growth management areas, and the removal of the Tsilhqot'in title area from the timber harvesting land base.
On June 26, 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled 141,769 hectares of land belonged to the Tsilhqot'in and, as such, could no longer be considered as provincial Crown land.
There are four lumber mills, one veneer/plywood plant, two log home manufacturers, a pellet mill and a remanufacturing plant in the Williams Lake Timber Supply Area. In addition, a wood waste-fuelled electric generation plant consumes wood waste from local sawmills to generate electricity for sale to BC Hydro.
The Williams Lake Timber Supply Area covers approximately 4.93 million hectares, with 1.83 million hectares available for timber harvesting.
The timber supply area includes the city of Williams Lake and the smaller communities of Horsefly, Likely, Miocene, Alexis Creek, Anahim Lake, Tatla Lake, Riske Creek, Big Creek and Nimpo Lake