The province’s chief forester has elected to smooth out the annual allowable cut in the Kamloops timber supply area by dropping it more rapidly than an earlier proposed base case.

Diane Nicholls, chief forester, said the beetle epidemic in the region and salvage efforts in its wake are over, leaving far less timber availability.

The new annual allowable cut (AAC) will be set at 2.3-million cubic metres, stepping down to 2.1 million cubic metres in 2021.

Under a previous scenario, the cut was to be set at 2.5-million cubic metres for the next decade, when it would fall sharply to 1.8 million cubic metres.

Cut levels were artificially increased and mill production ramped up to deal with dead pine over the past decade.

An average of about 2.7-million cubic metres of timber was harvested between 2009 to 2013 in the Kamloops timber supply area.

The Kamloops area has a more diverse timber base than the Central Interior, which relied heavily on now-dead lodgepole pine.

Chris Ortner, a professional forester and consultant, said forest companies here will now move into Douglas fir, spruce and fir because there is no more pine to harvest.

He said the AAC should feed existing mill demand at Adams Lake, Chase and Merritt.

“They may have to scale back a shift from time to time,” he said.

Kamloops is no longer home to a lumber mill, but Tolko Enterprises Ltd. operates a plywood plant at Heffley Creek.