NOVEMBER 12, 2004, NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C.—The Tsleil-Waututh First Nation is announcing today that the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has certified the Tsleil-Waututh's logging operations on 280 hectares of forestland in the Indian River Valley north of Vancouver. The FSC announcement is being made in conjunction with an announcement today by Forest Minister Mike De Jong regarding the Tsleil-Waututh's Forest and Range Agreement in the Indian River Valley.
“The FSC certification represents a major milestone for us,” says Leah George-Wilson, director of Treaty, Land and Resources for the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation. “We are very proud of our achievement in bringing a workable eco-forestry operation to even a small portion of coastal BC. Our staff, as well as our partners at Ecotrust Canada, have taken our dream of practicing ecosystembased management in the Indian River valley and made it a reality.”
FSC is an international nonprofit organization founded to support environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable management of the world’s forests through independent forest management certification and marketplace labelling of certified forest products. More than 45 million hectares of forestlands have been certified globally according to FSC standards.
The Tsleil-Waututh is the second First Nation in B.C. to receive the globally recognized FSC certification for socially and environmentally responsible forestry. The first was Iisaak Forest Resources in Clayoquot Sound. Currently a half dozen community forests, independent woodlots and First Nations have chosen FSC certification in B.C. These forestry operations cover 100,410 hectares.
Inlailawatash Holdings Ltd. is a wholly owned company of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation with headquarters in North Vancouver. The company owns the private forestlands in the Indian River Valley, which include western hemlock, western red cedar, Douglas fir and Sitka spruce. Most of the FSC-certified timber will be sold through the Canadian Eco-lumber Co-op (www.ecolumber.ca) in Richmond, B.C.
The Tsleil-Waututh's forestry operation met the FSC certification standards for British Columbia and took advantage of the recent FSC initiative to create more streamlined procedures for the certification of small and low-intensity managed forests (otherwise known as SLIMF). The full assessment report is available from either the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation or SmartWood, the independent certifying agency.
Traditional council members Ernie George and Richard George played a key role in developing the overall vision for resource stewardship in their traditional territory. Tsleil-Waututh staff handled the ecoforestry management plan and on-the-ground implementation for FSC certification with support from foresters and planners at Ecotrust Canada, an environmental nonprofit organization which is a leader in planning and financing FSC-certified businesses in B.C. Funding for the certification project was provided by the Squamish District of the BC Ministry of Forests, Canada's First Nation Forestry Program, Ecotrust Canada and VanCity, among others.
Information on the FSC can be found at www.fsc.org.
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