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The provincial government needs to shift from corporate to community-based tenures and establish a new category-community forest tenures based on ecosystem principles-to maintain the health of BC's forests and the province's forest economy. So says the report entitled "Forests in Trust" by University of Victoria's Eco-Research Chair of Environ- mental Law and Policy.


The report presents an analysis of current forest policy and legislation and sets out 48 recommendations for change. Central to the report is the proposal for new legislation-the Community Forest Trust Act (CFTA)-which would enable an environmentally-based shift in the management of local forest land to communities. The CFTA creates an opportunity for communities the decision-making authority, to plan for long-term socio-economic objectives. Under the report's recommendations, communities would put local crown land in trust. Those who choose the new trust designation must develop a goals-oriented Charter of Principles for the lands, adopting management responsibilities according to ecosystem-based principles. The Ministry of Forests would exist in a broad advisory and technical support capacity.
The report has received support from communities, labor and Aboriginal leaders throughout BC. Karen Cooling of the Confederation of Canadian Unions in Gold River said, "What this report clearly outlines are reasoned, intelligent recommendations for forests and for people. It shows that this is not an "either/or" struggle, but an opportunity to have both."


Recommendations

The recommendations provide a framework for the practice of forestry on a sustainable basis. The recommendations are presented in three sections: general, specific, and recommendations to facilitate economic transition based on a reduced volume of timber.
In the report there is more explanation of the points than we are able to provide here; we are able to provide the headlines, so to speak. If you would like more information or a copy of the report phone the Gowgaia Institute at 559-8068 or contact:
Faculty of Law and Environmental Studies Program
· Phone 250.721.6388
· Fax 250.721.8146
· Email ecochair@uvic.ca



Level 1 - General Recommendations

Shift to Ecosystem-based Management
1. Substantially lower the Allowable Annual Cut (AAC) and eventually replace it with a cut control policy that is based on maintaining long-term ecosystem functioning.
2. Amend the Forest Practices Code (FPC) to encourage ecosystem-based forestry.
Shift to Community-based tenures
3. Shift from corporate to community-based tenures.
4. Phase out Forest Licences.
5. Phase out all other volume-based tenures.
6. Issue no new Tree Farm Licences.
7. Phase out the transfer or sale of Forest Licences and Tree Farm Licences to new corporate owners, with the provincial government assisting in the transition of the areas under such tenures to new community tenures.
8. Replace the appurtenance requirement in the Forest Act. (This is the legal obligation to supply fibre to high capacity mills.)
Community Forests
9. Establish a community forest tenure within the Forests Act.
10. Make community forests available to a range of community-based agencies.
11. Issue community forest licences for 100 years with a review process every 10 years.
Woodlot Licence Program
12. Expand the Woodlot Licence Program
13. Increase the size of individual woodlots to make ecoforestry economically feasible.
14. Extend the term of a woodlot licence to 100 years with a review process every 10 years.
15. Modify applicant criteria for woodlot licences to reflect ecosystem-based criteria.
16. Allow woodlot licencees to own small milling operations.
17. Apply residency requirement to all applicants registered with the Woodlot Licence Program and the Small Business Forest Enterprise Program.
18. Prohibit surrogate bidding.
19. Cancel Category II sales of the Small Business Forest Enterprise Program to prohibit informal trade arrangements with major corporations, so as to separate logging from milling.
20. Require companies registered with the Bid Proposal Program to meet a minimum lumber recovery rate and achieve a minimum employment rate to qualify as a value-added business.
21. Introduce Ecoforestry Sales as a category of the Small Business Forest Enterprise Program.
Aboriginal Peoples
22. Review the "land selection" model of treaty settlements so as to allow Aboriginal peoples to negotiate forestry tenures in their traditional lands.
23. Require treaty settlements to specify the use of ecosystem-based forestry practices on such lands, based on traditional ecological knowledge, participatory forms of traditional governance, and on new information.
24. Phase in Aboriginal management or co-management of traditional areas as volume-based licences are limited.

Level 2 - Recommendations for Community-Based Legislation and Management

(Note: The following recommendations are made within the context of the enactment of a Community Forest Trust Act. Those recommendations that do not depend upon enactment of such legislation should be applied, subject to the appropriate alterations, even without such legislation.)
Initiation of Trust Transfer Process
25. Establish a Community Forest Trust Act (CFTA) as the legislative framework for ecosystem-based community forest management.
26. Conditions for communities opting into a trust arrangement should include:
Policy and Practice
27. Establish and implement a comprehensive ecosystem-based planning process.
28. Establish general standards for ecosystem-based forestry.
29. For all ecosystem-based tenures, and trust areas, replace the AAC and sustained yield forest management with cut levels established under ecosystem-based management in accordance with Recommendation 1.
Community Management
30. For community tenures, and under the CFTA, devolve decision-making and management authority to a Community Management Authority (CMA). The CMA shall be a separate entity from any community tenure holder, and shall be responsible for:
31. The CMA shall be comprised of a minority of provincially-appointed and a majority of regionally-elected representatives within the trust area.
32. Within the new community tenures and for trust areas, authorize the Ministry of Forests to:
33. Establish a provincial association of CMAs to address common issues and to make collective CMA policy.
34. Establish tenure associations, such as woodlot associations, on a regional and provincial level.

Level 3 - Recommendations for Economic Transition

35. Establish a comprehensive sustainable, community economic strategy to facilitate the transition to a lower volume of timber premised on ecosystem-based community forest management.
36. Immediately establish community tenure and economic transition strategies in communities affected by corporate restructuring, abandonment and mill closures.
Revenue
37. Assess stumpage according to values established by regional log markets.
38. Establish a "differential stumpage" system for all traded and untraded timber to reflect the environmental costs of industrial forestry and the true value of timber.
Funding
39. Redirect FRBC to fund ecosystem-based communities initiatives and businesses and to assist communities opting into the CFTA.
40. Establish an Ecoforestry Transition Fund with the majority of funds coming from increases in stumpage revenues and FRBC.
41. Review policies for other sources of revenue to aid the transition to ecosystem-based management.
42. Foster the development of local lending agencies to provide financial and technical assistance for ecosystem-based community initiatives.
Strategies for community economic independence and diversification
43. Establish independently-controlled competitive log markets within each district or region.
44. Impose restrictions on the proportion of unprocessed wood leaving a community.
45. Undertake a comprehensive policy review to ensure maximization of value from all timber cut and non-timber activities.
46. Establish a retraining, placement and financial support program for displaced workers and members of communities undergoing economic transition.
47. Establish new forms of worker-cooperative ownership of tenures and production facilities with the CFTA.
48. Establish restoration programs to create employment and improve the quality and area of forest land available for ecologically-responsible management.
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