back to index
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."
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 email@example.com
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
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.)
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
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
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
22. Review the "land selection" model of treaty settlements so
as to allow Aboriginal peoples to negotiate forestry tenures in their traditional
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:
- application for preliminary (Stage Uäe) ecosystem-based planning
from a community or group of communities; and, endorsement of an approved
transfer process (Stage Two); or
- initiation of both stages by the province for an area deemed suitable
for eco-system-based community management.
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.
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
31. The CMA shall be comprised of a minority of provincially-appointed and
a majority of regionally-elected representatives within the trust area.
- working with all tenure holders, woodlot associations, landholders,
Aboriginal peoples and other sectors of the community to conduct an ecosystem-based
planning process, set ecosystem-based goals for the trust area, and to establish
a local Charter of ecosystem-based principles that would apply to all lands
within the trust area, and to all community tenures outside trust lands;
- allocating and regulating all community tenures, including community
forests, woodlots and the SBFEP;
- reallocating any existing industrial tenures which have been relinquished
with 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.
- facilitate the transformation from central to local management;
- set minimum ecoforestry standards;
- administer industrial tenures under the Forest Act and the FPC;
- assist in the voluntary relinquishment of industrial tenures within
- provide technical services and expertise to CMAs, associations and
- review the overall operation of CMAs, and advise the Minister of their
- on the recommendation of a CMA, advise the Governor-in-Council to
review and, in case of fundamental breach of trust conditions, revoke a
34. Establish tenure associations, such as woodlot associations, on a regional
and provincial level.
back to index
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
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.
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
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
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.