BC Reduces Allowable Annual Cut Level by 13.4% in Kootenay Lake Timber Supply Area

On Tuesday, British Columbia’s deputy chief forester announced a new allowable annual cut (AAC) level for the Kootenay Lake Timber Supply Area (TSA). Effective immediately, the new ACC is 550,000 cubic meters, a 13.4% reduction from the previous AAC.

The Kootenay Lake TSA comprises approximately 1.24 million hectares in southeastern BC. The TSA overlaps the territory of member First Nations/Bands of the Ktunaxa Nation, Secwepemc Nation, Okanagan Nation (Sylix), and the Sinixt (Lakes Tribe of the Colville Confederated Tribes).

The Kootenay-Boundary Region received unanimous support from First Nations to defer harvest of at-risk old-growth forest. Licensees operating in this TSA have agreed to not harvest these areas until a final decision is made regarding old forest management.

The new level reflects adjustments made to consider available harvest on unstable steep slopes and to account for a higher level of stand-level reserves to address biodiversity, stream edge and wetland management, domestic watersheds, cultural heritage resources, and climate change.

To support these deferrals while a long-term management approach is finalized, and to ensure sustainable forestry practices, this determination includes two partitions:

  • A maximum of 25,300 cubic meters, or 4.6%, of the AAC can be harvested from old forest stands; and
  • A maximum of 524,700 cubic meters, or 95.4%, of the AAC can be harvested from forest stands that are not old.

Old forest is defined as stands older than 250 years in less frequently disturbed ecosystems and stands older than 140 years in more frequently disturbed ecosystems.

Under the Forest Act, the chief forester must determine the AAC in each of the province’s 37 TSAs and 34 tree farm licenses at least once every 10 years. The government press release notes that the deputy chief forester’s AAC determination is an independent, professional judgment based on information ranging from technical forestry reports, First Nations consultations, input from the public, and government’s social and economic objectives.

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