Houston’s timber harvest is being cutback 26 percent over the next ten years.
Houston Councillor Jonathan Van Barneveld said it is “probably one of the better decisions that could come out.”
From now until March 2020, the annual allowable cut (AAC) is down 12 percent to 1.9 million cubic metres. Of that harvest, no more then 16 percent can be live trees.
In March 2020, the allowable cut will drop another 16 percent to 1.6 million cubic metres in the Morice Timber Supply Area (TSA).
The Morice TSA is 1.5 million hectares and runs from Babine Lake to Ootsa and Whitesail Lakes and includes Houston, Topley and Granisle.
The timber supply cutback was announced by Chief Forester Dave Peterson last week Monday.
A news release from the Ministry of Forests says the two-tiered allowable cut reflects the results of the pine beetle epidemic.
“This two-tiered allowable annual cut provides an opportunity for licensees to continue the salvage of dead pine until the end of its shelf life in 2020 and allows for a more gradual decrease in the cut level,” said Chief Forester Peterson.
Beetle-killed pine is worth harvesting until 2020, but after that “dead trees will have degraded to the point that they are no longer suitable for harvesting,” said the release.
That’s when the harvest level drops another 16 percent.
In October 2002, the AAC was just over 1.96 million cubic metres.
It increased in February 2008 to 2.165 million cubic metres “to recover maximum economic value and speed regeneration of forests impacted by the mountain pine beetle.”
Houston Chief Administrative Officer Michael Glavin said the District contacted the Ministry to meet with mayor and council prior to releasing the decision on the Morice harvest levels, “but they decided to release it without that consultation.”
Houston mayor and council will meet with the Ministry of Forests soon to discuss the Morice Timber Supply Area and the cutback in harvest.
The next annual allowable cut (AAC) determination for the Morice TSA will be no later then 2025.
Chief Forester Peterson said in his report that he expects to revisit the Morice AAC in about five years, “after new information is available from harvest performance monitoring.”
“If additional significant new information is made available to me, if major changes occur in the management assumptions upon which I have predicated this decision, or if the harvest performance does not match the partition, then I am prepared to revisit this determination sooner,” he said.