Lillooet, AAC Rationale

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Silvicultural treatments

Clearcutting is the silvicultural system practised on the majority of the TSA, while 14 percent of the TSA's timber harvesting land base occurs in drier areas where selection systems are employed. The selection zone occurs in areas predominated by Douglas-fir stands that are considered ecologically well suited for this type of treatment. A small amount of clearcutting is also practised in the selection zone, primarily due to the presence of root disease. Conversely, a small amount of selection harvesting is carried out outside the selection zone, primarily to address visual or wildlife values. These amounts are approximately equal in size and are not expected to affect the base case projections.

Enhanced silvicultural treatments are applied to very few free-growing stands and none are assumed in the base case analysis. No commercial thinning is being done in the Lillooet TSA and there is limited opportunity in the near future due to adverse terrain and lack of suitably aged stands. Over the past 5 years, juvenile spacing has occurred on average on about 550 ha/year, and with funding support of Forest Renewal BC spacing is expected to increase by another 600 ha/year. In the last 2 years, 86 ha have been pruned, and increased levels of pruning are planned now that background surveys have been completed. There are no plans to fertilize stands in the TSA on an operational basis at this time.

Both spacing and pruning are highly labour intensive and therefore create important jobs in the TSA. The main purpose of these activities is to increase the value of the timber eventually harvested from these stands, but this is not expected to enhance timber volumes beyond those projected in the base case. Therefore, for the purposes of this determination, I am satisfied the base case assumptions regarding silvicultural treatments are appropriate.

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