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Annual Allowable Cut

What is an Annual Allowable Cut (AAC)?

The Annual Allowable Cut, commonly referred to as the AAC, is the amount of wood permitted to be harvested in the Province within a one year period to ensure the sustainability and productivity of our forests.

AAC’s are determined for each Forest Management District in the Province. The calculation of the AAC is very comprehensive, usually taking two years to complete. With the aid of computer models, sustainable AAC levels are determined and implemented. Only an AAC that is sustainable is acceptable.

2011 - 2015 Annual Allowable Cut Figures

Factors Taken into Consideration When Calculating the AAC

Both timber and non-timber values are considered in calculating AACs. For example, the following is considered:

No-Cut Buffer Zones

In 1994, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador introduced regulations that required all visible water bodies (on a 1:50,000 mapsheet) to be given a minimum 20 meter (from waters edge) uncut buffer. However, buffer zone widths can be increased beyond the 20 meter minimum to protect special values including:

  • Spawning Areas
  • Water Quality
  • Cabin Development Areas
  • Aesthetics
  • Wildlife
  • Outfitting Camps

Examples of increased buffer zones incorporated in Newfoundland and Labrador include:

  • A 50 meter no-cut buffer around known Black Bear denning sites.
  • No forestry activity is permitted within 800 meters of a bald eagle or osprey nest during the nesting season. The buffer zone is established at 200 meters during the remainder of the year.
  • All hardwood timber located within 30 meters of a water body occupied by a beaver are not permitted to be harvested.
  • Within protected water supplies, no harvesting is permitted within 150 meters of an intake pond.

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Insect/Fire/Disease Losses

The Department reduces AAC’s to account for anticipated future imber losses resulting from damage caused by insects and disease and destruction resulting from fire.

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Logging Losses

Surveys of recently harvested areas are conducted each summer throughout the Province to determine the quantity and quality of remaining fibre. The estimates from these surveys is incorporated into the calculation of the AAC. Results from the survey determine the corresponding reduction to the AAC.

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Operational Constraints

Areas that are inaccessible (surrounded by bogs or hills), timber on steep slopes, and low volume stands are removed from the AAC calculation upfront.

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Environmental and Wildlife Considerations

The Forest Resources have also taken into consideration a number of special initiatives that address certain environmental sensitivities. These initiatives involves the relinquishing of potential commercially productive forested areas in the name of responsible environmental and wildlife management. Such initiatives include:

  • Pine Marten Habitats - Habitat specialists within our Department continue to work in consultation with industry and other forest stakeholders to ensure adequate habitat is available for the future existence of the Newfoundland Pine Marten.
  • Wildlife Corridors - As part of the evaluation process for harvesting plans, our wildlife specialists have established "no-cut corridors" in areas sensitive to many species of wildlife. This ensures wildlife have sufficient cover to move around the landscape.
  • Protected Areas - All established and proposed protected areas are removed from the AAC calculations; no cutting is permitted in these areas.

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