Soo, Summary of Public Input

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Discussion Paper

One submission suggests the recovery of damaged timber should be given a higher priority.

Industry submissions emphasize the importance of tending existing areas of young

forests to ensure their availability for future harvest, and so the highest potential harvest levels can be met now and in the future. They note the potential for incremental silviculture treatments to increase the available volume and improve log quality in the long term. As a result of these treatments, the potential mean annual increment for the managed forests will likely be greater than predicted by the current assumed site productivity.

One submission suggests planning more tree pruning.

Industry submissions acknowledge that there is little commercial thinning occurring in the timber supply area, but suggest this will change over the next five years. This change is due in part to the requirement that 10 per cent of licensees' harvest in the Soo Timber Supply Area must be accomplished with alternative harvesting methods. While it is difficult to quantify the benefits of commercial thinning with the data currently available, it is suggested thinning may reduce the impact of age class imbalances and should be considered as a possibility to help offset short-term wood shortages. It is noted that analysis work in the Fraser Timber Supply Area indicates commercial thinning may create a short-term gain of five per cent.

Another submission suggests the transition from harvesting old growth to harvesting second growth should be considered as a challenge and an opportunity; old growth harvest should continue, but thinning programs should be implemented to offset possible shortages.

One other submission suggests that commercial thinning be considered for its potential to augment the projected short-term harvest level.

One submission expresses concern about the amount of area which will be harvested if partial cutting techniques are implemented to harvest part of the allowable annual cut.

One submission suggests there should be less political input into the allowable annual cut decision and more responsibility given to professionals in the Forest Service to manage forests.

One respondent notes the allowable annual cut will be reviewed every five years and that corrections can be made in the future. This respondent acknowledges this must be done so that the allowable annual cut decision prevents unnecessary social and economic upheaval.

Another respondent notes that an already difficult allowable annual cut decision is made more difficult by uncertainty about issues such as the Forest Practices Code, stream protection, visual impacts, Protected Areas Strategy, spotted owl and the uncertainty of forest volume estimates. The respondent expects conservatism in the analysis has left room for a higher long-term timber supply so that any reductions in harvest must be balanced against current benefits received from harvesting. The submission emphasizes that there is no right answer.

Generally respondents agree a reduction to the allowable annual cut is inevitable. Several submissions support an immediate decrease to a long-run sustainable level. Some reasons are:

One submission advocates that a reduction to 200,000 cubic metres will still allow a viable forest economy if changes are made in the local forest industry, such as more selective harvesting, less clearcutting, more value added products, local processing of local timber supply, an open market for wood, encouragement of a local wood market and encouragement of company stewardship with longer licences.

Industry and others recommend a reduction of five per cent in the allowable annual cut. Reasons given include:

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