» Cheakamus Community Forest Ecotrust Canada
In 2008, the Resort Municipality of Whistler, the Squamish Nation, and the Lil'wat Nation partnered to manage a 33,018 hectare community forest.

The land sits on the traditional territories of the Lil’wat and Squamish Nations, as well as the surrounding Host Mountain Resort for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

The communities in the Sea-to-Sky corridor invited Ecotrust Canada to custom-design an ecosystem-based management (EBM) approach for their community forest. The EBM plan maintains or improves ecological integrity over time, is socially responsible, and plans for economically viable forest management. It’s about going from volume-based to value-based forestry.

The Whistler2020 sustainability strategy, the Xay Temixw Land Use Plan (Squamish), the Lil’wat Land Use Plan, and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) principles and criteria all articulate the importance of sound land management to support the long-term economic, social, and ecological viability of the communities. The Cheakamus Community Forest plans to permit timber harvesting without compromising the forest ecosystem, First Nations cultural values, or other forest values that are important for tourism and recreation.

The EBM plan identified strategies for a significant reduction in timber harvest through altered management practices. To replace this source of revenue and continue to fund the plan’s implementation, Ecotrust Canada co-authored a forest carbon offset project with the Brinkman Group.

The EBM plan also provided direction as the Cheakamus Community Forest moved toward its next goal: becoming the first coastal community forest to get FSC certification and have third-party verification of their practices. If successful, this proof-of-concept project will serve as a model for other community forests and Crown forest tenures in BC and Canada to consider alternative forest management that can still support local economies.

 

Satnam Manhas
Program Manager, Forest & Ecosystem Services
604.616.3680