Comments are being accepted until Sept. 23, 2015, on a discussion paper released today as part of a comprehensive timber supply review for the Merritt Timber Supply Area.

Public feedback on the discussion paper will be considered by the chief forester before setting the new allowable annual cut. The discussion paper provides the results of the timber supply analysis, including a base case harvest forecast. It also describes the geography, natural resources and current forest management practices of the Merritt Timber Supply Area.

The Merritt Timber Supply Area covers approximately 1.13 million hectares, with about 600,000 hectares available for timber harvesting.

The communities of Merritt and Princeton are the largest in the timber supply area. Smaller communities include Tulameen, Brookmere, Missezula Lake, Douglas Lake, Lower Nicola, Osprey Lake and Allison Lake. Members of the Okanagan and Nlka’pamux Nations live within the timber supply area as well as in areas immediately adjacent.

The chief forester’s allowable annual cut determination is an independent professional judgement based on information such as technical forestry reports and input from First Nations and the public.

Under the Forest Act, the chief forester must determine the maximum amount of wood that can be harvested in each of the province’s 38 timber supply areas and 34 tree farm licences at least once every 10 years. However, a new allowable annual cut may be determined earlier in response to abnormal situations, or postponed for up to five years if an allowable annual cut level is not expected to change significantly.