Residents and area communities that have long fought to revive Fort Nelson’s forest sector are starting to realize the benefit of their efforts with the approval of the Fort Nelson Community Forest Agreement, in partnership with the British Columbia government.
Community forests are long-term, area-based tenures designed to encourage community involvement in the management of local forests, while expanding economic opportunities and opening doors to local job creation. They are managed by a local government, community group or First Nation for the benefit of the entire community.
The Fort Nelson Community Forest Agreement partners include the Fort Nelson First Nation and the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality. The agreement has an allowable annual cut of 217,650 cubic metres per year from 191,571 hectares of Crown land, including a BC Timber Sales volume reservation of 32,650 cubic metres annually for the part of the land base that includes BC Timber Sales’ operating area.
As part of the application, the partners demonstrated community awareness and support for the community forest, including building relationships and sharing information with neighbouring First Nations and area communities, and making application adjustments based on feedback.
The applicants also submitted a management plan for approval that includes stand-level retention targets of 8.9% for wildlife tree retention areas, ungulate winter ranges and consideration of possible future impacts to the timber-harvesting land base for boreal caribou management. Old growth retention targets will be a minimum of 37% in the Northern Boreal Mountains (6% of the agreement area) and 17% in the Boreal Plains (94% of the agreement area).
The agreement provides for maintenance and distribution of diverse forest types throughout the agreement area, including coniferous stands, mixed-wood stands and deciduous stands. Of the 217,650 annual cubic metres, partitions include a maximum conifer harvest of 118,000 cubic metres, with the remainder to come from deciduous stands to achieve and maintain the current diversity.
- Community forest agreements carry an initial term of 25 to 99 years (typically 25 years) and are replaceable every 10 years.
- In British Columbia, there are 59 community forest agreements issued, and another four under invitation, accounting for approximately two million cubic metres of timber volume.
Fort Nelson First Nation: http://www.fortnelsonfirstnation.org
Northern Rockies Regional Municipality: https://www.northernrockies.ca
BC Community Forest Association: http://bccfa.ca
BC Timber Sales: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/forestry/bc-timber-sales