The Burns Lake Community Forest (BLCF) received approval from the ministry for the Ministry approval on K1A Management Plan #4, which contains a new Annual Allowable Cut (AAC) of 194,226 cubic metres (m3) per year, on Sept. 3.
The Ministry, while issuing the approval, indicated that this new AAC was approved partly based on 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 also 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.
In 1998, 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. In 2000, the agreement gave BLCF the authority to manage the forest, which was less than a third of the size of what it is today. It became the first organization in B.C. to be offered a Long-Term Community Forest Agreement in the form of a 25 year renewable forest tenure that replaced the original pilot agreement.
The new AAC is subject to several conditions including a maximum of 108,202 m3 per year is to be attributed to live coniferous volume from stands greater than or equal to 140 m3 per hectare (ha), a maximum of 9,898 m3 per year is to be attributed to live coniferous volume from stands less than 140 m3 /ha, and a maximum of 3,175 m3 per year is attributed to deciduous species. The remaining volume, 72,951 m3, will come from dead pine.
BLCF General Manager, Frank Varga said in a press release, “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.”
The new AAC will remain in effect for a 10-year term or until a new management plan is requested from the Province.