Forest minister highlights local pine beetle status

Forest Minister Steve Thomson says forestry will remain important

Steve Thomson

Steve Thomson

In a recent visit to 100 Mile House, Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson talked about the status of pine-beetle harvesting in the South Cariboo.

In commenting on the current activities his ministry has underway, he focused briefly on the beetle infestation.

“Some of the key issues we are addressing, obviously of significant concern to the communities in this area, [include] continuing to work with all interests in the forest sector, looking towards addressing the continuing impacts of mountain pine beetle. [We are] looking at how we can continue to address timber supply security for the timber companies and the interests that are operating on the land base.”

Thomson says there has been “lots of engagement” with the communities.

“The latest numbers out show the pine-beetle movement has slowed, but there is still a very significant amount of dead timber to work through.”

Ministry statistics on the mountain pine beetle indicate this infestation has now concluded in the 100 Mile House timber supply area (TSA).

With about 72 per cent of the mature pine in the TSA killed by the infestation, less than one-third of the area’s total pine volume has been harvested.

These estimates show approximately 18 million cubic metres of the 58 million cubic meters of pine in the 100 Mile area has now been logged, with about another 48 million cubic metres of non-pine available.

All the dead pine trees still need to be economically viable to harvest in order for that to happen, he explains.

Thomson adds forestry will be a “very significant component” in the emphasis the B.C. Liberal government currently has on its Jobs Plan and the importance of expanding the revenue-generating sectors in the province.

The ministry continues to work with communities throughout the region in looking to develop economic activity in their area, he adds.

Thomson notes that engagement with First Nations is “obviously very important” in terms of moving this forward in the regions throughout the province.

Another area where his ministry is currently “working very hard” is addressing the backlog of permits and authorizations through placing additional resources, he adds, and is making “good progress” toward getting new processes in place.