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Professionals facing reality of changes in timber supply

Everybody will be impacted in some way by the new annual allowable cut determination for the Williams Lake’s timber supply area, said a spokesperson for the Association of BC Forestry Professionals (ABCFP) Friday.

Earlier this month the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations released its Williams Lake timber supply analysis discussion paper, inviting feedback from the public.

“The discussion paper precedes the cut determination and the public’s input can have some impact on that,” ABCFP’s associate registrar Casey Macaulay said. “Recreational groups may have some concerns about access into some parts of the timber supply area, and they may wish to write a response. Hunters, trappers and other groups as well may want to weigh in. Anyone with a forestry job is going to want to take note how their piece is going to be effected over the next generation.”

In its conclusion, the discussion paper recommends a “dramatic” Annual Allowable Cut reduction from the present 5.7 million cubic meters to  3.4 million cubic metres for the first decade.

And a further drop to 1.42 million for the next 50 years after that.

The ministry does suggest a few scenarios that could buffer the impact of the cut reduction, Macaulay said.

One example is the shelf life of pine beetle impacted wood.

“Is it too rotten to go into a sawmill?,” Macaulay explained. “Is it on the ground versus standing up? Will the market place be able to deal with wood that’s more checked — the longer the tree is dead and dry it splits open and the harder it is to cut boards out of it.”

Information gathered from the public, along with the report, will help chief forester Dave Peterson make a decision on a new Annual Allowable Cut (ACC).

Macaulay said a couple of generations will see a very different cut level and a different forestry economy through their lifespan going forward.

“But it’s not a surprise in that we knew we were increasing the levels to capture dead and dying trees and now that we’ve salvaged them it has to drop,” he said. “We’ve known that reality all along, but now we are faced with it.”

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