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October 27, 2017 5:04 pm

Chief Forester Sets Annual Allowable Cut for Quesnel TSA

Friday, June 16, 2017 @ 3:02 PM

Quesnel, B.C. – The annual allowable cut for the Quesnel Timber Supply Area was released today and it’s down considerably from where it was in 2011.

Chief Forester Diane Nicholls set the cut at 2,607,000 cubic metres effective immediately. 

“While the new cut level is about 35 per cent less than the four million cubic metres set in 2011, it is close to the average annual harvest over the past three years of about 2.7 million metres and consistent with the allowable annual cut set in 1996 – before the mountain pine beetle infestation began,” reads a statement from Nicholls office.

The cut sets limits to harvest maximums of 127,000 cubic metres from deciduous tree – leading stands and 1.25 million cubic metres to living trees. The rest must be harvested from dead trees.

In addition, the mountain pine beetle epidemic and the salvage logging of dead pine are ending in the Quesnel Timber Supply Area.

Communities in the area include Quesnel, Red Bluff, Barlow Creek, Dragon Lake, Bouchie Lake, Wells and 13 First Nations communities

There are two sawmills, two pulp mills, a plywood plant and a fibreboard plant operating in the region.

“After considering all the available information on timber and non-timber resources – including social and economic objectives – I am confident that this new cut level will maximize the long-term supply of timber in the Quesnel Timber Supply Area,” says Nicholls.


What is not mentioned is the huge amount of wood from the Mackenzie and Fort St James area which is being hauled into West Fraser now, taking some of the PG region timber supply and using it in the Quesnel area.

    I have always been a firm believer that the logs from a timber supply area should remain within that area for milling.

    The beetle epidemic (pine and now spruce) and lack of capabilities for milling in certain areas, has dictated that if we are to make use of these dead/dying tree stands we must move much timber to other TSA’s for processing. Time was of the essence to make use of these infested trees. Let them stand too long and the wood looses all commercial value… and then becomes a wildfire hazard.

    How long can mills continue to afford to transport these large volumes of wood from one area to another?
    There has been timber going from Ft St James to Williams Lake, from the Anahim Lake area to as far as Dunkley. Poplar/birch from the nether regions going south to 100 Mile and Cache Creek. Transportation costs will eventually outweigh the profit margin.

    Some more mills are going to close. Simple math will dictate this. Williams Lake will be down to only one mill within 10 years I bet. PG may see another closure in the next 10-15 as well. The industry needs to revisit the “value added” sector to keep people working. Prefab housing plants, finger joint wood, plywood/osb, pellet plants and small scale industry (furniture, custom wood working) are all part of a movement which could keep the forestry industry viable for years to come. Raw log exports outside of BC MUST stop.

    We cannot allow certain regions to die (economically) just to fulfill the appetite of key giant mills elsewhere. Diversity and planning can keep many jobs for our forest sector for years to come.

    Forestry fed my family for years. I moved on to a different line of work, but it still feeds this area…. hence it still feeds my family as a spin-off. Without our natural resource sector, we would all be in hard times. I hope that some foresight can keep it sustainably producing.

You are correct ST, but the alternative is to leave it die and get no economic value for it!

    except of course Canfor has 4 local mills with no wood in their yards and desperate for any source of fibre they can lay their hands on right now. Kudo’s to West Fraser for having the foresight of opening a couple of yards and filling them up with fibre from another regions allowable cut while Canfor thought they were smarter than everyone else and proceeded to run out of wood this spring.

I realize I am swaying a bit off topic here, but;

In the big picture, this is how I would manage the forest industry’s future.

-Set a sustainable AAC for each TSA. This would be a calculated number that would not exceed the growth rate (and regrowth rate) for an area. Foremost, there is always a sustainable harvest for each TSA.

-All logs harvested in an area are sent to a local site as tree length to be graded and cut to length for maximum value potential.

-local area mills are entiTled to their set share of the logs available. Anything to be sold for export to another TSA must be processed out as cants. The resulting wood waste would either be used within that TSA or chipped for pulp or hog fuel for other areas to purchase.

-for every stem harvested, 1-2 seedlings go back to the area of origin. Costs included in original stumpage.

-Sawmills are removed from the standing timber tenure process. They buy from the central sort yard.

-Harvesting rights (on crown land) are owned by the local area as a whole, reforestation is also under that umbrella. The province sets the stumpage rate to reflect the fibre value and all silviculture needs for the area.

-No sawmill (local or out of area) can now get a log from crown land that has not gone through a primary processing of some sort. Quality grading of raw logs and cutting to length at a sort yard would be the bare minimum for this.

This could also provide a solution to the SLA as it removes the sawmills from accessing the so called “subsidized” wood directly from the province.
It would also make the area which “owns” the wood more hands-on and profitable.

The downside of my theory is that large scale mills would probably see their profit margins drop. But the local economy retains more power and profit to sustain the region themselves.

Feel free to call BS on my proposal if you will. I am sure that there may be some serious flaws to the idea.

This is just my opinion reflecting upon my 20 years in the industry, I have worked many levels of logging from selective to clear-cut, coastal to interior, highlead/heli log, and private to crown.. and witnessed how things are going throughout the province.
The future ca remain bright for forestry, but changes will be needed on way or another.

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