Fewer trees will be logged in the Okanagan this year.
A new allowable annual cut (AAC) level has been set for the Okanagan Timber Supply Area (TSA), effective Thursday, Jan. 27.
Shane Berg, British Columbia’s deputy chief forester, has decreased the AAC by approximately 20 per cent. The change is from 3,078,405 to 2,462,800 cubic metres. The previous AAC included an increase to allow salvage of stands affected by the mountain pine beetle, and was seven percent below the AAC set in 2006, prior to the beetle epidemic.
It’s unknown yet how the cut will impact operations of lumber companies, like the large-scale Tolko Industries. Tolko provides a significant number of jobs in the Southern Interior and supports regional communities.
“Tolko’s manufacturing operations in the Southern Interior of B.C. are all directly dependent on the timber supply from the Okanagan Timber Supply Area,” Tolko’s communications advistor Chris Downey said. “This determination is critically important to the economy and communities in the Southern Interior.
“Tolko is now in the process of assessing any potential impact this reduction in allowable annual cut could have to our Southern Interior operations.”
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.
Kelowna is the major population centre in this TSA, which also includes Armstrong, Chase, Coldstream, Enderby, 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 per cent of the total TSA area available for timber harvesting. The major tree species in the area include Douglas fir, lodgepole pine, spruce and balsam.