In response to the end of the mountain pine beetle epidemic and salvage of dead pine in the Lakes Timber Supply Area (TSA), the new allowable annual cut (AAC) for the Lakes TSA will be 970,000 cubic metres, effective immediately.
The new AAC was announced by Diane Nicholls, chief forester, and includes three partitions:
- a maximum of 400,000 cubic metres per year is attributable to live coniferous volume;
- a maximum of 20,000 cubic metres per year is attributable to live deciduous volume; and
- a maximum of 550,000 cubic metres per year is attributable to dead volume.
Although the new cut level is approximately 41 per cent lower than the previous AAC of 1,648,660 cubic metres, it is only six per cent lower than harvest levels in the last two years.
Adjustments to the previous cut level were made in 2016 to account for the expansion of the Burns Lake Community Forest and the creation of the Chinook Community Forest, the Lake Babine Nation Woodland Licence and the Nee Tahi Buhn Band First Nations Woodland Licence.
“After considering all of the available information on timber and non-timber resources, including social and economic objectives, and comments from Indigenous Nations, licensees, stakeholders and numerous members of the community, I am confident that this new cut level will sustainably manage the live, mature forest while maintaining younger stands and a robust timber supply for future generations,” Nicholls said.
The decrease has been predicted in timber-supply analyses prepared over the last 15 years and is a direct result of pine mortality owing to the mountain pine beetle epidemic and, more recently, major wildfires.
The Lakes TSA is located in north-central British Columbia, encompassing approximately 1.5-million hectares of land. The Village of Burns Lake is the largest community, with the remainder of the TSA’s population being located in numerous smaller communities, including Decker Lake, Grassy Plains and Danskin.
The Lakes TSA overlaps the traditional territory of 13 First Nations:
- Cheslatta Carrier Nation;
- Lake Babine Nation;
- Ts’il Kaz Koh First Nation (formerly Burns Lake Band);
- Wet’suwet’en First Nation;
- Skin Tyee Nation;
- Nee Tahi Buhn Indian Band;
- Stellat’en First Nation;
- Nadleh Whut’en First Nation;
- Tl’azt’en Nation;
- Ulkatcho First Nation;
- Takla Lake First Nation;
- Yekooche First Nation; and
- The Office of the Wet’suwet’en, which represents Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs.
Many factors are considered by the chief forester in making the determination, including, but not limited to, community, Indigenous Nation, stakeholder and public input, and requirements for biodiversity, wildlife habitat, sustainability and the Crown’s social and economic objectives.
There are three lumber mills and one pellet plant in operation within the Lakes TSA. Additionally, wood from this TSA supports the operation of a lumber mill and a bioenergy plant in Fraser Lake.
The dominant tree species in the Lakes TSA are lodgepole pine, hybrid spruce and balsam fir. Less common species include deciduous varieties and Douglas fir.