The provincial government is reviewing the timber supply for the northern part of Vancouver Island, which will inform how much timber can be harvested from the area over the next ten years.
Timber Supply Reviews (TSRs) are mandated by the Forest Act to occur every 10 years. However, since the North Island Timber Supply Area was created out of the Strathcona and Kingcome supply areas in 2017, this will be the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development’s first real look at the area in its current form.
“When you combine units, you end up with slightly different numbers, so with the combination, that’s why we’re doing it now,” explained Erin Moore, the timber supply forester who will be in charge of the review. “The TSRs basically review all of the legislation and all of the data to make sure that they use the best of the available data to assess what the timber supply should be.”
Timber Supply Areas (TSAs) are divided into forest districts, which are more localized. The Campbell River and North Island forest districts are within the North Island TSA.
Moore’s job includes going through the computerized data, analyzing it and preparing information for the Chief Forester, Diane Nicholls. Part of that data includes information on the environment and climate change.
The review process starts with data gathering, which is presented to the public, First Nations groups and stakeholders for comment. This review process is scheduled to end on September 28. From there, the public feedback is collected and analyzed into another document called a discussion paper, which is again presented to the public for feedback. That round of feedback along with all of the previous documents are sent forward to Nicholls who decides the annual allowable cut for the region.
“What she decides will be in place for the next 10 years unless something major changes in the area,” Moore said. “It’s not a calculation, it’s a weighted decision based on [certain] factors.”
Those factors include things like the current make up of the forest, current management practices, high level plans for the area, legal implications, socioeconomic factors and any First Nations interests.
“Certainly if there’s stuff that comes up and if the public points stuff out, anything that’s commented on will go to the chief forester and she will weigh all of that stuff in her decision,” Moore said. “At the end of the process, I’ll put together a binder that summarizes all of the data that was used, the public input, the First Nations interest, the social and economic factors. They’ll take that and sit down and decide what it’ll be.”
The annual allowable cut is divided up between licensees who have an interest in the area. These can include large forestry companies and smaller operations. From there, the AAC is further divvied up into individual licenses.
Depending on the amount of feedback and any issues that come up, the TSR process takes anywhere from 12 to 24 months. Moore has had to do presentations and meetings remotely, which has slowed things down a bit, but that has not hindered the process much. The data package is currently under review publicly, and will be open until Sept. 28. Information on submitting feedback is at the end of the package document.
“We’re in the very early stages,” Moore said. “The data package basically shows what data is going to be put forward into the analysis. The next phase will be out for review and comment as well, and that’ll show more about the harvest level and what that’ll be looking like. The analysis should be out late this year or early next year, and then the final AAC will be at some point next year.”