Effective immediately, the new allowable annual cut for the Cranbrook Timber Supply Area (TSA) is set at 808,000 cubic metres, chief forester Diane Nicholls announced Thursday.
A press release from the provincial government said the new cut level is a 10.6 per cent decrease from the current allowable annual cut of 904,000 cubic metres set in 2008.
“After reviewing all of the available information on timber and non-timber resources in the area, and consulting with First Nations, I am satisfied the new cut level will sustain a competitive forest industry in the area while taking into consideration local social and economic objectives,” Nichols said.
Several factors have contributed to the reduced cut level in the Cranbrook TSA. They include:
• marginally economic sites;
• the lack of harvest on steep slopes;
• increased protection for old-growth forests; and
• new ungulate winter ranges — including moose, elk and bighorn sheep.
There are 81 wildlife habitat areas for the protection of identified wildlife in the Cranbrook TSA, including badger and grizzly bear.
The chief forester’s allowable annual cut 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 allowable annual cut in each of the province’s 37 timber supply areas and 34 tree farm licences at least once every 10 years.
The Cranbrook TSA covers about 1.2 million hectares in the southeast corner of the province and includes the communities of Cranbrook, Kimberley, Sparwood, Fernie and Elkford.
Five sawmills operate within the timber supply area. The leading tree species are pine, spruce and Douglas-fir.
Province of BC