There were no operability lines for the Lillooet TSA when the timber supply analysis was undertaken. Instead, reduction estimates were applied (where possible) to planning cells. Planning cells are subdivisions of the TSA, typically defined by watershed boundaries. The reduction estimates were made using topographic maps, five-year development plans, and forest inventory maps. The base case excluded 32 083 ha based on inoperability.
Subsequent to the completion of the timber supply analysis, operability lines were developed for the TSA. The lines were drawn with the assistance of licensees, and include the assumption that cable systems will be used, where required, throughout the TSA. District staff consider this assumption to be reasonable, given the availability and use of cable systems in the TSA. The adjusted exclusion for inoperability was estimated by district staff to be 40 449 ha, i.e. 8366 ha more than the exclusion assumed in the base case for the initial timber harvesting land base. This is discussed further under aggregate impact.
In the submission by the Cariboo Lumber Manufacturers' Association (CLMA) it was suggested that there are more options for harvesting on steep and inaccessible slopes than assumed in the base case. The CLMA cited logging now being undertaken in the TSA using helicopters and mobile cable equipment, as well as economic cycles in the marketplace that periodically allow for high road costs when timber market prices are also high. However, Lillooet Forest District staff have informed me that nearly all of the helicopter and mobile cable logging has taken place in areas that were already assumed to be operable, although they do acknowledge that a limited potential exists to expand the assumed timber harvesting land base in the future by use of this specialized equipment. In keeping with my guiding principles, until licensees have demonstrated consistent performance in areas currently assumed to be inoperable, or until there are other factors which allow this change to be reasonably foreseeable and quantified, I will base my determination on practices now occurring in the TSA. However, if in the future, licensees are able to utilize timber in areas assumed to be outside the timber harvesting land base, then this can be factored into future AAC determinations.