Forest management practices
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.
Allowable annual cut adjustment
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:
allows preservation of ecosystems to support biodiversity
allows preservation of the natural environment which supports tourism and recreational opportunities and is the way of the future
maintaining a higher level does not provide benefits to local residents and prolongs the certain loss of jobs and possibly increases the net job loss in the long term
that the long-term timber supply indicated in the Forest Service analysis base case may not be sustainable
many things will offset the negative impacts: Forest Renewal Plan, reducing the pressure to cut remaining old growth forests will keep options open for the future, the Socio-Economic Analysis does not predict long-term job loss from a reduction in cut, cut reductions may be a benefit (New York Times article on Oregon). It was also suggested the allowable annual cut be further reduced in the next timber supply review to the lowest estimated long-term sustainable cut (i.e. adopt a very conservative approach until uncertainty around the long-term level is minimized)
It was emphasized in one submission that the whole timber supply area should be managed sustainably for humans, plants and animals. Specifically, this submission "does not support a reduction in cutting near Whistler in exchange for a higher rate elsewhere."
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:
the long-term reductions required to achieve sustainable forestry will be less than indicated in the present Timber Supply Review
a need for an orderly progression towards a long-term timber supply level, allowing time for communities to make adjustments