The allowable annual cut in the Prince George Timber Supply Area, which was temporarily elevated in 2011 to deal with the mountain pine beetle-killed timber, has been decreased by about 33 per cent, effective immediately.
The new allowable annual cut for the Prince George Timber Supply Area is set at 8,350,000 cubic metres per year for the first five years, and 7,350,000 cubic metres for the following five years, chief forester Diane Nicholls announced today.
This new cut level represents a 33 per cent decrease from the allowable annual cut of 12.5 million cubic metres set in 2011. However, according to the Ministry of Forests, the average annual harvest over the past five years was 9.1 million cubic metres per year, so the reduction is approximately eight per cent.
“After reviewing all relevant factors on timber and non-timber resources, and taking into consideration First Nations’ interests in the Prince George TSA, I am satisfied that the new AAC will ease the transition to a lower mid-term timber supply and allow more time for local and regional economies to adjust,” said Diane Nicholls, the province’s chief forester.
The effect it will have the area’s 13 lumber mills, three pulp mills, utility mill, four pellet operations, two co-generation facilities and bioenergy facility is not yet known.
The new cut level includes three partitions:
- A maximum of 1.5 million cubic metres per year is attributed to supply blocks A and B.
- A maximum of 6.1 million cubic metres per year is attributed to the remaining supply blocks (and reduced to 5. 1 million cubic metres in October 2022), of which 62,000 cubic metres per year is attributed to deciduous-leading stands.
- A maximum of 750,000 cubic metres per year is attributed to bioenergy stands.
The Prince George TSA is subdivided into eight supply blocks.
With the partitions, in the first five years harvesting will focus on the salvage of stands damaged by spruce-, pine- and/or balsam-bark beetle, as well as wildfire. After that time, the chief forester may apply a partition to account for the recovery of dead fibre in spruce-beetle impacted stands.
The Prince George TSA covers about eight million hectares in the north-central Interior of the province and is one of the province’s largest management units. Approximately three million hectares of the total TSA land base is considered available for timber harvesting. The leading tree species are lodgepole pine, spruce and subalpine fir.
The chief forester’s determination takes into consideration winter range for ungulates, as well as habitat requirements for other wildlife, which are managed through wildlife habitat areas.