Province of BC approves new Management Plan and Annual Allowable Cut amount

Burns Lake, BC: The Burns Lake Community Forest (BLCF) received Ministry approval on September 3, 2020 for the K1A Management Plan #4, which contains a new Annual Allowable Cut (AAC) of 194,226 cubic metres (m3)/year.

The Ministry has indicated that this new AAC has been approved in part due to the innovative ideas and management aspirations presented by the BLCF, and the social elements and community-related considerations that are included in the BLCF’s tenure responsibility. The Ministry acknowledged that opportunities were provided to local First Nations to share their interests that may be impacted by the Management Plan and that their stewardship goals were incorporated. Recognition was also made that all notifications relating to the Management Plan were made public by the BLCF on social media, bulletin boards, and in the local paper.

The new AAC will remain in effect for a 10-year term or until a new management plan is requested from the Province. The new AAC is subject to the following conditions:

  • A maximum of 108,202 m3 /year is attributed to live coniferous volume from stands greater than or equal to 140 m3 /hectare (ha);
  • A maximum of 9,898 m3 /year is attributed to live coniferous volume from stands less than 140 m3 /ha;
  • A maximum of 3,175 m3 /year is attributed to deciduous

The remaining volume, 72,951 m3, will come from dead pine. BLCF General Manager, Frank Varga said, “We want to stay in the dead pine as long it has some market value. We expect the shelf life of the pine to quickly deteriorate in the next 5-7 years. Our plan is to maximize the value before it decreases. In line with our AAC request and forest legislation, we can harvest more dead pine per year as long as we do not exceed the green volume partition of the AAC. This means that in the next 5 years we will continue our efforts in dead pine harvest and leave or undercut the green wood which will help to increase our mid-term timber supply.”

BLCF is also required to demonstrate their performance through reporting and monitoring to the Ministry. “With the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) reporting expectations that we have had for the last few years, the ground work is already laid,” said Varga. “We are looking forward to collaborating with the District to define the reporting requirements.“

Geoff Recknell, the Regional Executive Director with the Ministry, the person tasked with final approval, acknowledged the K1A Management Plan #4 suggests new management directions that may require legislative amendments, and a separate approval process. Varga responded by saying, “This new Management Plan and accompanying AAC removes old restrictions that did not allow for an effective, strategic approach to the landbase. We can now invest in ecosystem restoration, access management planning and intensive silvilculture and be financially sustainable. It is all very positive. But to really meet the current and future challenges of our area-based tenure, things like old plans and static reserves must be revisited.”

Varga said “I want to thank the regional and district staff for their continued willingness to collaborate with the BLCF. They are truly finding ways to be innovative to support our goals and efforts. Our success is their success in meeting provincial mandates for community resiliency and rural economic development”

About the Burns Lake Community Forest: The BLCF is committed to its founding principles of managing the forest to the benefit of the community, the local economy and the environment. In 1998, the Burns Lake Community Forest (BLCF) Ltd. was incorporated as part of the Village of Burns Lake’s application to the Ministry of Forest for a Community Forest Pilot Project. The agreement was awarded in 2000, and gave BLCF the authority to manage the forest, which was less than a third of the size of what it is today. Burns Lake Community Forest Ltd. became the first organization in BC to be offered a Long-Term Community Forest Agreement — a 25-year renewable forest tenure that replaced the original pilot agreement. These circumstances helped ensure the community would be responsible for how forest resources surrounding Burns Lake would be used, managed and protected for the long term.