Effective immediately, Shane Berg, British Columbia’s deputy chief forester, has set a new allowable annual cut (AAC) level for the Okanagan Timber Supply Area (TSA).
The new AAC for the Okanagan TSA is 2,462,800 cubic metres. It is a decrease of approximately 20% from the previous AAC of 3,078,405 cubic metres, which included an increase to allow salvage of stands affected by the mountain pine beetle, and 7% below the AAC set in 2006, prior to the mountain pine beetle epidemic.
Numerous comments were received from First Nations, licensees and residents of the TSA, regarding this determination. The new AAC accounts for Indigenous Peoples forestry principles, limits on harvesting in community watersheds, wildlife habitat and a national park reserve area.
The Okanagan TSA overlaps the territories of approximately 28 First Nation communities. The public review and consultation process, which included engagement with First Nations, was initiated in September 2017.
Kelowna is the major population centre in this TSA, which also includes Armstrong, Chase, Coldstream, Enderby, Kelowna, Keremeos, Lake Country, Lumby, Oliver, Osoyoos, Peachland, Penticton, Salmon Arm, Sicamous, Spallumcheen, Summerland, Vernon, West Kelowna and the unincorporated areas of north and south Okanagan.
The Okanagan TSA covers about 2.45 million hectares in the Thompson-Okanagan Region, with approximately 31% of the total TSA area available for timber harvesting. The major tree species in the TSA include Douglas fir, lodgepole pine, spruce and balsam.
The chief forester’s AAC determination is an independent, professional judgment based on information ranging from technical forestry reports, First Nations and public input to the government’s social and economic goals.
Under the Forest Act, the chief forester must determine the AAC in each of the province’s 37 timber supply areas and 34 tree farm licences at least once every 10 years.