This Improved Forest Management project is situated on a 33,018 hectare crown forest tenure around Whistler, on the traditional territories of the Squamish Nation and Lil’wat Nation, a landscape enjoyed by millions of locals, British Columbians, and international visitors each year.
The project had approximately 12,500 carbon offsets available for purchase through Brinkman Climate at $25 tonne until May 31, 2015. These offsets were from the project’s first verification period (2009-2013), issued in spring 2015. They were verified to the BC Emission Offsets Regulation using the BC Forest Carbon Offset Protocol, and were certified for use under the BC Government’s Carbon Neutral Public Service regulation.
Improved Forest Management carbon offsets
All major carbon standards around the world include tools for creating forest carbon offsets. British Columbia’s Emission Offsets Regulation creates a particularly effective pathway for generating offsets through Improved Forest Management (IFM). By improving harvests and resource management, we can keep more carbon sequestered over a longer-term. Recognizing the desire to manage forests better than ‘business as usual’ the Cheakamus Community Forest (CCF) partnered with Brinkman Group and Ecotrust Canada to design an offset project in order to fund the implementation of an Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) plan — critical to allowing EBM activities to take place.
Old growth, small blocks, buffers, and habitat
The project used the following four IFM approaches through its EBM plan:
- Increased representation of old and mature forests in specific ecosystems within the tenure area over time, maintenance of a full range of stand structures, ages, species, and ecosystems
- Enhanced logging prescriptions which protect scenic vistas in the magnificent forests around Whistler with smaller cut blocks (1-5 hectares in size) and preserving older structural components of the ecosystem within harvested areas
- Increased buffers within specified high ecological value areas, such as cultural and riparian areas
- Protection of important wildlife habitat
All of this with the goal of achieving an appropriate balance between timber harvesting, tourism, cultural values, recreation, wildlife, and biodiversity.
Validation and verification
The project has been registered under the British Columbia Forest Carbon Offset Protocol (FCOP). The forest carbon emission reductions were achieved by reducing baseline harvest by 50% while remaining a source of sustainable livelihoods in the region. Without the successful sale of offsets, the CCF would not be able to afford the halving of revenue and more expensive EBM logging practices — leading to the forest tenure reverting back to the Province or going back to business as usual practices.
The Cheakamus Community Forest Society is a forest tenure partnership between the Resort Municipality of Whistler, Squamish Nation, and Lil’wat Nation.
Community Forest Agreements are long-term area-based tenures designed to encourage community involvement in the management of local forests for the benefit of the community. More and more communities are considering alternative ways to manage their adjacent forest resources to maximize economic, social, and environmental benefits to their region. The CCF is both the first carbon offset project completed on a British Columbia Forest tenure and a Community Forest tenure in Canada.
How it Works
The project reduces GHG emissions by approximately 10,000 tonnes CO2e/year through avoided and modified forestry practices laid out under the CCF Ecosystem-Based Management Plan. Actions go beyond regulatory requirements and adjacent land management practices, and could not be sustained without offset revenue. The additional funding pays for improved forest monitoring, conserving areas, smaller cut blocks, improved recreational opportunities, and implementing fire and climate mitigation strategies. Project design is further guided by the principles of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®), an independent, not for profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests.
“The carbon project plays an important role in maintaining and enhancing the recreation and tourism values in the area.”
— Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden of Whistler
“This work supports the vision of the Squamish Nation to continue to maintain our resources and cultural practices for our little ones’ future little ones.”
— Chief Ian Campbell, Squamish Nation
“This additional tool allows the Lil’wat Nation a way to balance protecting culturally important areas and serves our people today and for future generations.”
— Chief Dean Nelson, Lil’wat Nation
Whistler Going Carbon Neutral
The Resort Municipality of Whistler is offsetting its annual carbon footprint by purchasing offsets from the Cheakamus Community Forest project. The Brinkman Group and Ecotrust Canada are also buying voluntary offsets from the project. The companies’ carbon footprints have been measured through Climate Smart, a social enterprise which helps businesses measure and reduce their environmental impacts while cutting costs.
“A lot of work has gone into this initiative. The sale of carbon offsets is a creative way for our community forest to generate income and place a value on our sustainable forestry practices, which have resulted in a reduced harvest level with considerably more emphasis on tourism, cultural values, recreational interests, wildlife, and biodiversity.”
— Jeff Fisher, Chair, Cheakamus Community Forest Society
“The CCF core climate action idea is ‘Improved Forest Management.’ Carbon credits inject new funds and enable more sustainable forest management.”
— Dirk Brinkman, CEO, Brinkman Group
BRIEFING: Cheakamus Community Forest Carbon Offsets (2015)