Interior Forest Sector Renewal Initiative

In the summer of 2019, the BC Government launched a renewal of the Province’s Interior Forest Industry, aimed at developing a competitive, sustainable future for forest companies, workers, and communities. The BC First Nations Forestry Council is working directly with the Province to ensure priorities continue to reflect the input of First Nations communities.

RE: First Nations Involvement in BC Interior Forest Sector Renewal

Dear Premier Horgan and Minister Donaldson:

We call upon the provincial government, particularly the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (MFLNRORD), to fulfill your commitment to reconciliation and the full involvement of First Nations and communities in the interior as you move forward with forest policy and legislation changes to support the renewal of the interior forest sector.

Charting a sustainable path forward that is based on the principles of UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous (UNDRIP) Peoples necessitates that the Province and First Nations collaboratively set the principles and objectives for what the renewal of the interior forest sector entails. It must be driven and respectful of First Nations as Title and Rights holders.

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First Nations as Full Partners: Recommendations to support the Revitalization of the BC Interior Forest Sector

 

The BC First Nations Forestry Council (FNFC) has released its submission to the Province laying out recommendations to support the revitalization of the BC interior forest sector with First Nations as full partners.

For too long, First Nations have been left out of decision-making regarding the use of forest lands and resources on their territories. As the original stewards, with a deep connection to the land, First Nations hold a knowledge that goes back generations.

“First Nations need to be key players in the transformation of the forest sector in BC, and involved in the identification of collaborative solutions to address the economic, social, and environmental challenges of managing forest lands and resources” tells Charlene Higgins, CEO of the FNFC.

Regional workshops held in interior BC this fall helped identify four key areas for improvement: shared governance & land use planning, tenure reform and fibre supply, revenue sharing, and increased First Nations participation in the workforce.

The report provides 30 actions the Province can take towards fulfilling their commitment of reconciliation through review of, and changes to, forest legislation, policy, and regulations with First Nations as equal partners.

“This report helps identify changes needed to support sustainable forest management, a stronger, globally competitive forest sector, resilient communities, and reconciliation with Indigenous communities,” tells Higgins.

“All British Columbians benefit from a strong forest sector, which First Nations can play an important role in revitalizing.”

Click here to download the full report.

 

Download the Full Submission

Forestry has always been a vital part of BC’s economy as a large contributor to government revenues, and a source of jobs for thousands of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in British Columbia.

The forest sector in the interior is undergoing a transition, and correction, as a result of the impacts on mid-term timber supply, caused by the mountain pine beetle epidemic (MPB) and two severe wildfire seasons (2017 and 2018). Although devastating for many communities, this provides an opportunity to revisit forest management, learn from the past, and look for ways to manage the sector differently.

Click here to download the full report.

Interior Renewal Initiative Workshops

 

The BC First Nations Forestry Council and the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development held three workshops on October 3, 8, and 9 2019 to provide updates on both the Interior Forest Sector Renewal Initiative and BC First Nations Forest Strategy.

Discussions and recommendations made by First Nations during the workshops helped provide insight used in creating the Interior Renewal Recommendations.

Become a member of the Forestry Council

 

By becoming a free member of the BC First Nations Forestry Council, you can gain access to all of our tools and resources. 

These have been developed collaboratively with industry partners, the Province, and using direct input from Indigenous communities across BC.

Visit our membership page to find out more.