The amount of timber harvested in the Kamloops region will not significantly decline for at least a decade under a scenario presented to the province’s chief forester.
An analysis presented by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations shows a “base case” mid-range harvesting volume at 2.5 million cubic metres a year for the next decade. That compares to the average of about 2.7 million cubic metres harvested between 2009 to 2013 in the Kamloops timber supply area.
The pain, according to that forecast, would be felt a decade from now, when volumes would have to fall by a quarter to about 1.8 million cubic metres a year. That level would remain more or less unchanged for 60 years.
The report comes before a determination by the province’s chief forester on the amount of timber that can sustainably be harvested in this region, called the annual allowable cut.
Many parts of the Central Interior are looking at drastic declines in the amount of timber that can be harvested due to the mountain pine beetle infestation. Cut levels were artificially increased and mill production ramped up to deal with dead pine over the past decade.
Rick Sommer, manager of the Kamloops Forest District, said about 30 per cent of timber in the region is lodgepole pine.
“We still have fir, spruce, balsam, hemlock, cedar,” he said. “We’ve got a good diversity.”
Areas with less forest diversity will suffer a greater decline the annual allowable cut, along with jobs that flow from it.
The timber supply area stretches from Logan Lake in the south to Wells Gray Park in the northwest. It is between the Columbia Mountains to the east and the Cariboo Regional District to the west.
The report notes in Kamloops the forest sector contributes about nine per cent of after-tax income and as much as 30 per cent in the North Thompson.