Public input invited on Prince George Timber Supply

Comments are being accepted until May 24 as part of a comprehensive timber supply review for the Prince George Timber Supply Area.

Spruce beetle infestation in the Prince George TSA

Spruce beetle infestation in the Prince George TSA

PRINCE GEORGE – Comments are being accepted until May 24, 2016, on a discussion paper released today as part of a comprehensive timber supply review for the Prince George Timber Supply Area.

Public feedback on the discussion paper will be considered by the chief forester before setting the new allowable annual cut. The discussion paper provides the results of the timber supply analysis, including a base-case harvest forecast. It also describes the geography, natural resources and current forest management practices in the Prince George Timber Supply Area.

The Prince George Timber Supply Area, the largest in the Province, covers approximately 7.97 million hectares in the north-central portion of the province, with approximately 3.1 million hectares available for timber harvesting.

The City of Prince George is the largest community in the timber supply area which includes the municipalities of Vanderhoof and Fort St. James and Village of Fraser Lake, as well as several smaller unincorporated communities.

The chief forester’s allowable annual cut determination is an independent professional judgment based on information such as technical forestry reports and input from First Nations and the public.

In April 2015, the Province and seven Carrier Sekani First Nations, whose territories encompass the Prince George Timber Supply Area, signed an agreement which provides a framework to deepen collaboration on a range of issues including allowable annual cut decisions.

Government has been consulting with First Nations throughout this timber supply review regarding the potential impacts of the chief forester’s allowable annual cut determination on First Nations interests.

Under the Forest Act, the chief forester must determine the maximum amount of wood that can be harvested in each of the province’s 38 timber supply areas and 35 tree farm licences at least once every 10 years. However, a new allowable annual cut may be determined earlier in response to abnormal situations, or the current allowable annual cut postponed for up to five years if it is not expected to change significantly.

To download a copy of the discussion paper, visit the following Ministry of Forests, Lands and

Natural Resource Operations forest analysis and inventory branch webpage:

https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hts/tsa/tsa24/index.htm

Copies of the discussion paper can be viewed at: Prince George Natural Resource District: 2000 S. Ospika Boulevard, Prince George; Stuart Nechako Natural Resource District: 2537 Stones Bay Road, Fort St. James; Vanderhoof Office, Stuart Nechako Natural Resource District 1560 HWY 16 East, Vanderhoof.

Visit the Forest Analysis and Inventory Branch website: http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hts/

 

Significant changes since the previous TSR

 

– Harvest performance – Since the previous analysis there has been an ongoing decline in the pine percentage within cutting permits issued in the TSA. The proportion of pine permitted has dropped significantly in the Prince George District driving down the TSA average. Concurrently, there has been a significant shift from the Prince George District and Vanderhoof District into the Fort St. James District. The current analysis assumes significantly higher levels of non-pine harvest during salvage phase of the projection.

– Adjusted inventories – In the summers of 2014 and 2015 approximately 250 audit plots were established in the Prince George TSA to validate inventory attributes. The results of the audit were used to adjust the attributes used to determine natural and managed stand yields.

– Treatment of balsam – Although balsam-leading stands represent 22 percent of the CFMLB and 20 percent of the total volume, historically they have represented 1.6 percent of the harvest profile in the Prince George TSA. This analysis explores the contribution of balsam to the base case.

– Shelf life definition – There is uncertainty regarding the length of time that a mountain pine beetle-killed tree is usable as a sawlog to make lumber (shelf life). In the previous analysis it was assumed that 100 percent of the impacted pine volume would be suitable for some product for 15 years post-attack, after which time it would be useless. This analysis assumes merchantable sawlog volume decreases following an exponential loss curve.

– Flow policy – Harvest projections for the Prince George TSA are consistent with the Forest Analysis and

Inventory Branch (FAIB) catastrophic flow policy (see Appendix 1).

– Treatment of future managed stands – Stand age was not used as a merchantability criterion in the

previous analysis. To better reflect current practice and historic piece size preference a minimum harvest age of 75 years was implemented in this analysis.

Spruce Beetle

– Due to favourable weather conditions and available host trees, the level of spruce beetle (IBS) infestation has thepotential to reach epidemic proportions in some areas of the TSA.

Aerial overview assessment flights completed over the past two years surveyed approximately 156 000 hectares impacted by IBS in the Prince George TSA.

Analysis is currently underway to assess the potential impacts of a potential IBS epidemic and expanding salvage operations on the mid-term timber supply and other resource values in the TSA.