Allowable annual cut reduced for B.C.’s Mackenzie Timber Supply Area
May 5, 2023 By CFI Staff
British Columbia’s chief forester Shane Berg has set a new allowable annual cut (AAC) level for the Mackenzie Timber Supply Area (TSA).
The new AAC for the Mackenzie TSA is 2.39 million cubic metres. The allowable annual cut was previously 3 million cubic metres in 2010 and was revised to 4.5 million cubic metres in 2014 to address the mountain pine beetle outbreak. More than 50% of the annual harvest included beetle-killed timber.
The chief forester has set the new determination as part of an overall harvest risk assessment with input received from the public, key stakeholders, local municipal leaders, the forest industry and extensive consultation with First Nations in the TSA. The new AAC considers forest health, climate change influences contributing to wildfire and drought, current and future spruce beetle infestation, old-growth management, species at risk, and wildlife habitat values.
Although it is beyond the scope of the chief forester’s authority to set forest practices to address these values and mitigate risks posed by wildfire and drought, these factors pose a significant risk to timber supply and the chief forester has recommended implementation instructions to assist sustainable harvest in the Mackenzie TSA.
Risk factors are more likely to affect the southwest zone of the TSA, which is west of Williston Reservoir and south of Omineca Provincial Park. Since 2014, the southwest zone has experienced more harvesting activity that has affected First Nations and many ecological values, such as wildlife habitat, riparian areas and stream flow. In response, the chief forester has set an AAC partition for the southwest zone that limits the total AAC for the zone to no more than 1.17 million cubic metres.
Under the Forest Act, the chief forester must determine the AAC in each of the province’s 37 timber supply areas and 33 tree farm licences at least once every 10 years. The new AAC for the Mackenzie TSA takes effect immediately.
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