While it takes some stretch of the imagination to picture Chile’s native, uniquely-shaped Monkey Puzzle tree converted from tree to home, an hour spent answering Chile Model Forest Network representatives’ questions proved that the Qwii-qwiq-sap ‘Standing Tree to Standing Home’ project being piloted in Clayoquot Sound has much to offer the world.

Indigenous people in Chile are facing very similar housing issues to the First Nations bands who call rural communities in Clayoquot Sound home. And they too are looking to their forests for answers. As Ecotrust Canada’s Daniel Arbour, who also serves as Director of the Clayoquot Forest Communities Program and National Chair for the Canadian Model Forest Network, puts it, “For the past 100 years we have had a certain approach to using the forest resource… a kind of volume-based, export-driven mentality. I am trying to imagine what the next 100 years will be like. We’re looking at a new world, where timber supply and economics are changing; a world where water, biodiversity, carbon and all these other forest values will start stacking well against the fibre value alone.”

Speaking post the Canadian Model Forest Network AGM, where Qwii-qwiq-sap received a lot of interest by parties from Manitoba to Chile, the sharing of information at the AGM by the 15 Canadian Model Forest Network member sites present proved inspiring. “We were provided a lot of information on how other sites are developing partnerships with provincial governments to deliver forest/community development projects, as well as information on what the international site in Spain has done to develop their non-timber forest products sector,” reports Satnam Manhas, Ecotrust Canada’s Clayoquot Program Manager.

Other highlights from the AGM included:

  • Presentations by international model forest network site representatives from Chile, Sweden, Costa Rica, Spain, as well as a number of member sites from Africa via video conference, on what is being done in their regions;
  • Lively discussions on how the Model Forest Network can work more effectively and develop synergies with Biosphere Reserves;
  • An interesting discussion with the Forest Product Sector Council on the latest industry projections for jobs and training that is needed; and
  • A presentation on Ecotrust Canada’s fledgling Forest Traceability Pilot Project which saw an overwhelming number of the model forest network sites, both Canadian and international, clamoring to sign up to be part of the pilot over the next year.

Congratulations are also in order as the AGM saw Daniel Arbour unanimously re-elected as Chair of the Canadian Model Forest Network.

About Qwii-qwiq-sap

Pronounced quay-qwiik-suup and meaning transformation in the Nuu-chah-nulth language, the Qwii-qwiq-sap ‘Standing Tree to Standing Home’ is a transformative project that aims to close the loop between resource extraction and local construction. It is co-run by Ecotrust Canada and the five Central Region First Nations as part of the Clayoquot Forest Communities Program.