The Quesnel Forest District encompasses approximately 1,830,000 hectares and is the most northerly forest district in the BC Ministry of Forests' Southern Interior Region. The Quesnel Forest District, bisected by Highway 97, extends from Macalister in the south to the Cottonwood River in the north. The District extends eastward beyond Bowron Lake Provincial Park to the Fraser River Divide, and westward to the Itcha Ulgachuz Mountains. There are two Tree Farm Licences (TFL) in the District. TFL#5 is managed by Weldwood of Canada Limited and covers approximately 34,000 hectares. TFL#52 is managed by West Fraser Mills Ltd. and covers approximately 250,000 hectares. The balance of the District is included in the Quesnel Timber Supply Area (TSA) which covers approximately 1,550,000 hectares. The District also administers 65 Woodlot licences.

The Quesnel Forest District is committed to the principles of integrated resource management. The cooperation of all Crown land users is essential for integrated resource management to be a reality. This, in conjunction with a sound knowledge base, understanding the dynamics and growth characteristics of our forest types and resultant forest management techniques, helps to ensure sustained renewable resources are here for all to enjoy.

Industry Associations estimate that approximately 75% of the jobs in the Cariboo are tied, directly or indirectly, to the forest industry.  For Quesnel, the government's estimate is 45% of directly related jobs; one of the highest percentages in the province.



Forage crops cultivated in the Quesnel Forest District support a large ranching industry. Forest based grazing on Crown land is an important part of many ranching operations. At present there are 94 grazing agreements utilizing 33,335 Animal Unit Months of Crown range. This provides Crown grazing to 7,888 cattle and 167 horses. Included in this grazing area is one community pasture, located in the Hallis Lake area, developed for use through the Agriculture Rural Development Program by the Ministry of Forests, the Ministry of Agriculture and a group of local ranchers. There are also13 hay cutting licences with an annual harvest of 372 tonnes.




The Engineering Program administers 1,575 kilometers of Forest Service Roads, 106 bridges and over 5,200 kilometers of operational roads which provide access to forest lands for industry, tourists and other forest land users.




Silviculture is the practice of establishing and tending trees. Silviculture activities are geared primarily to growing valuable forest crops on forest lands. Areas harvested by either clearcut, selective logging or other methods or areas damaged and/or destroyed by fires, pests or disease are treated to ensure a suitable new forest crop is established.

Silviculture activities undertaken within the District include seed collection, site preparation for either natural regeneration or planting, planting where required, performance surveys, brush control, fertilization, thinning, pruning and pest control, to ensure a healthy valuable forest will grow to maturity within a defined time frame.

The silviculture goal is to optimize the production of wood fiber and maximize wood value from  the working forest.

CONE COLLECTION:     To supplement seed orchard production and maintain a ten year ongoing supply of seed available to nurseries for seedling production.

PRESCRIBED BURNING:     Aimed at providing a cost effective opportunity for seedling establishment and growth enhancement, vegetation control and fire hazard reduction.

MECHANICAL SITE PREPARATION:     Using mechanical techniques to attain the same objective described under "Prescribed Burning" or to help encourage the establishment of naturally regenerated trees by increasing the opportunity for seed germination.

SURVEYS:     At each step of the silviculture process, specific surveys are done to determine past performance and the success of regeneration efforts and then to determine what follow-up work is required and when.

PLANTING:     The choice of species, size of seedling, nursery growing techniques, site selection and seedling handling are major facets of silviculture and are determined by the ecological requirements of the area to be planted.

THINNING & SPACING:     As trees grow in a young forest they compete with one another for light, moisture and nutrients. At some time competition may be so strong that growth is inhibited and the silviculturist may need to thin the crop of trees to enhance growth. Thinning is also used to enhance the value of stands by concentrating the growth on the crop trees.

BRUSHING:     The practice of brushing is often necessary to reduce competition from undesireable vegetation until the trees are large enough to grow on their own.

PRUNING:     Pruning increases the value of the crop tree by maximizing the production of knot-free wood.

FERTILIZATION:     The combination of spacing and fertilization can stimulate very rapid tree growth increasing the volume and/or value of the crop trees.

Since October 1987, it has been the legal responsibility, depending on the tenures of the harvesting document, of either the Licensee or the Ministry of Forests to ensure a commercial crop is established within a specific time frame.



We are presently addressing a mountain pine beetle epidemic in the Quesnel Forest District. The majority of pest management done in the Quesnel Forest District has concentrated on controlling losses from mountain pine beetle. The spruce bark beetle, Douglas-fir bark beetle and balsam bark beetle are presently at endemic levels in the District. We are also experiencing some problems with the white pine weevil which affects spruce plantations. Root rot patches identified within the Quesnel Forest District are inspected and assessed for treatment options.

Two year cycle budworm damage is affecting spruce and sub-alpine fir in the eastern portions of the district; even years being the peak of the cycle. Forest tent caterpillars have defoliated aspen and cottonwood trees in recent years.




The three major sawmill licensees in the Quesnel Forest District are West Fraser Mills Ltd., Canadain Forest Products Ltd. and Tolko Industries Ltd.

The district is also home to several secondary manufacturers producing value-added products.  Examples include C&C Wood Products Ltd. and Pinnacle Pellet Inc.

The District currently has about 30 active non-replaceable forest licences.



A Woodlot Licence is an agreement between the Ministry of Forests and an individual or group which allows harvest of timber from specified areas of Crown land. In return the licensee agrees to manage this Crown land, plus any private land included in the agreement, to sustain the production of forest products. In the Quesnel Forest District there are 65 Woodlot Licences. Woodlot Allowable Annual Cut is 8,345 cubic meters per year for private wood and 76,662 cubic meters per year for Crown wood.


Crown land areas included in the Tree Farm Licence (TFL) tenures are not included in the Quesnel Timber Supply Area (TSA). Each TFL has its own approved Allowable Annual Cut. Woodlots are also separate from the TSA volume.

The total Allowable Annual Cut (AAC) administered within the Quesnel Forest District from Crown lands is 7,000,000 cubic meters. The local forest companies also use purchase timber logged from agricultural leases and private properties in the Quesnel area.

Forest Products manufactured in the Quesnel Forest District includes production and distribution to world markets of appreciable volumes of Dimension Lumber, Plywood, Paneling, Chips, Pulp and wood pellets.

Tree species harvested for commercial and domestic use include Lodgepole Pine (60.7%), Engelman and White Spruce (28.6%), Douglas Fir (6.1%), Subalpine Fir (Balsam)(3.7%), Western Red Cedar (0.4%), Western Hemlock (0.3%), Aspen (0.2%), Black Cottonwood (0.05%) and Paper Birch (0.02%).


The AAC in the Quesnel TSA currently includes 450,000 cubic meters which is being harvested from stands not traditionally considered merchantable as sawlogs. These stands are generally shorter with smaller diameters, and higher density than traditional sawlog stands. After harvest, these stands will be managed to produce sawlogs in future crops.



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