The nature of the transition from harvesting old growth to harvesting second growth is a major consideration in determining AACs in TFLs that have an old-growth component, such as TFL 45. In the short term, the presence of older forests permits harvests that are above the long-term harvest level without jeopardizing the future timber supply. In keeping with the objectives of good forest stewardship, AACs in British Columbia have been and continue to be determined so as to ensure that current and mid-term harvest rates will be compatible with a smooth and orderly transition toward the usually (but not always) lower long-term harvest rates. Thus, timber supplies should remain sufficiently stable to ensure that there will be no inordinately adverse impacts on current or future generations. To achieve this, the AAC determined must not be so high as to cause later disruptive shortfalls in supply, nor so low as to cause undue immediate social and economic impacts.
In the timber supply analysis, one alternative harvest forecast was provided which used the base case management assumptions. This forecast projects an initial harvest level of 210 000 cubic metres per year (the current AAC, and 10 000 cubic metres less than in the base case) followed by declines of 10 percent per decade for 2 decades, and a further 2 percent after the third decade, to reach 167 000 cubic metres per year. The harvest would remain at this level for 6 decades before rising to the long-term harvest level one decade earlier than in the base case. Since this alternative is very similar to the base case, I am not provided with substantial additional information on potential harvest flow. However, the base case meets the general criteria described in the above paragraph and I accept it as a suitable reference on which to base my considerations.