A report on the forest industry's harvesting of beetle-killed timber confirms that industry has been meeting government's expectations for concentrating harvesting on dead pine trees, but says the harvest of other kinds of trees is increasing more than expected in some areas of the province.
"The switch from harvesting dead pine trees to live non-pine trees means the mid-term timber supply is starting to be cut now and not five to 10 years in the future," said board chair Tim Ryan. "The issue, simply put, is that the more live trees that are harvested now, the lower the sustainable harvest level will be after the salvage program is finished. We believe the chief forester needs to respond to the rapidly changing situation with timely updates to the allowable annual cuts."
The report looks at government's records of what was harvested throughout the area affected by the mountain pine beetle epidemic. "The majority of the pine trees harvested last year were dead, but over the last four years, the total amount of pine in the harvest has been steadily decreasing and was under 60% of the harvest last year," said Ryan.
The situation in beetle-affected forests is changing quickly. The board is encouraging government to re-evaluate decisions about what should be harvested in those areas, taking into account the current dynamics of salvage harvesting.
The Forest Practices Board is B.C.'s independent watchdog for sound forest and range practices, reporting its findings and recommendations directly to the public and government. The board can investigate and report on current forestry and range issues and make recommendations for improvement to practices and legislation.
More information can be obtained at http://www.bcfpb.ca.