Course:CONS370/Projects/Comparison between Satoyama of Japan and Coastal First Nations of British Columbia, Canada: forest use and management practices

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Country: Japan,Canada

This conservation resource was created by Course:CONS370.


Key Words: Satoyama Japan, Coastal First Nations, Management, Conservation, Communal Forestry, Traditional Knowledge

Description

Throughout this review, comparisons are made between British Columbia’s Coastal First Nations and Satoyama forest use and management practices. Following historic and current management practices and policies, similarities and differences can be drawn between the two systems and recommendations made on future directions. As the increased pressures of climate change impact the globe, sustainable land use measures will be critical for present and future generations.

Background

To better critique and compare land use and management between Coastal First Nations and Satoyama landscapes it is important to first understand the background and history of each place individually. Separated by thousands of kilometers of open Pacific Ocean, Indigenous Peoples from Japan and British Columbia each have their own unique relationship to land. The following section will define the setting and provide a brief background on these complex management and land use systems.

Biogeography

The biogeography of Japan and British Columbia defines landscapes and geographical locations referred to throughout this review.

Coastal First Nations Setting

Map of British Columbia First Nations territory.

Coastal First Nations People are distributed along the west coast of British Columbia ranging from the borders of Washington state to Alaska[1]. Their territories are found on the Haida Gwaii archipelago, across Vancouver Island and along the waters of the mainland spanning over 25,000km square of Canadian coastline. British Columbia is characterized by numerous biogeoclimatic zones (BEC zones) with varying species composition[2]. Coastal First Nations are located in the coastal western hemlock zone, coastal Douglas fir zone and mountain hemlock zones, which are some of the most unique ecosystem types found across the world[2]. Landscape dynamics vary from ocean to mountain ecosystems and everything in between. Unlike other regions in the country, coastal British Columbia rainforests receive high amounts of precipitation and surplus of nutrients from marine and terrestrial organisms making them extremely productive environments.

Satoyama Setting

Similar to many countries across the world, Eastern Asia and Japan have changed dramatically in an increasingly globalized world. Located on the islands of Japan across an area of 380,000km2 , the country spans across numerous ecosystems. These ecosystems change from ocean and coastlines, to mountainous regions, croplands and heavily trafficked urban areas. Traditional Satoyama landscapes are found in higher elevation mountainous regions, still accessible to people and capable of growing crops[3]. These areas can be found throughout Japan in woodland hillsides[4]. Satoyama forests are split into numerous geographical ranges themselves. Wood is obtained from forested areas along the hillslopes, croplands are used lower down and water systems are used throughout the regions as ponds or streams[5]. Due to the complexity of these systems, environmental impacts stretch much further than the areas classified as Satoyama and higher abundances of biodiversity are seen in these areas compared to other regions of Japan[6]. Increased urbanization throughout Japan has led to the disappearance of Satoyama forests which are seen in rural areas in the country. These critical human and nature balanced landscapes are found in rural areas close to mountain slopes and nearby villages[4].

Map of Japan


Satoyama landscapes, although few functioning left, are still seen. Located outside the second largest city of Japan, Yokohama, Satoyama landscapes are continuously at work, unlike most others which have been abandoned[5].

Defining the two Peoples

Coastal First Nations

Throughout the text, the term Coastal First Nations refer to the Indigenous Peoples whose territory occupy the lands throughout the north, central, and south coast of British Columbia[7]. Northern Coastal First Nations include the Gitanyow Nation, Gitxaala Nation, Haisla Nation, Kitselas Nation, Lax Kw’alaams Band, Metlakatla Nation, Nisg̲a’a Nation, North Coast Skeena First Nations Stewardship Society which includes the Gitxaala Nation, Gitga’at Nation, Kitsumkalum Nation, Kitselas Nation, and Haisla Nation. These nations are located in the northern most parts of the province and throughout Haida Gwaii. Central Coastal First Nations include the Kitasoo / Xai’xais Nation, Na̲nwak̲olas Council, Nuxalk Nation, and Ulkatcho Nation. Southern Coastal First Nations include the Namgis Nation, Da’naxda’xw Awaetlala Nation, Dzawada’enuxw Nation, Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw Nations, Gwawaenuk Nation, K’ómoks Nation, Kwiakah Nation, Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis Nation, Mamalilikulla First Nation, Tlowitsis Nation, We Wai Kai Nation, Wei Wai Kum Nation, Wuikinuxv Nation, and Xwémalhkwu (Homalco) Nation. Southern nations are located in the south of the province and throughout Vancouver Island[7][8].


Collectively referred to as Coastal First Nations, it is important to note there are numerous nations that exist within this overarching term and within each nation there are numerous bands[7]. Each individual band and nation is different respectively but, for the purpose of this review the use of an over simplified term of Coastal First Nations includes all members located along this long stretch of land.

Japan

Within Japan, Satoyama landscapes are managed by local Japanese community members[9]. Historically, Satoyama forests were managed by traditional Indigenous Japanese peoples and have more modernly incorporated disciples forms of science and philosophy[10]. Today, Satoyama land management is limited to a select few elderly farmers who have continued a lifestyle closer to the environment. Other land management practices in Japan are heavily regulated by governing officials and private sectors[11]

Brief History

British Columbia

Haida totem poles carved from western red cedar.

Grounded in a strong connection with the land, Indigenous Peoples residing along the Pacific Northwest have a unique relationship with coastal landscapes. Historically, Indigenous peoples would have moved seasonally along the coast with the nutrient cycling of salmon[12]. Land use was seasonal along the coast, ocean and forest where nations used resources as they became more abundantly available. Historically, Coastal First Nations have managed the land through numerous sustainable methods. These methods include harvesting from the land, for example, Western red cedar (Thuja plicata) which was used to weave baskets, clothing, hats, construct totem poles, longhouses and canoes[13]. Other management included prescribed burning, planting, hunting, gathering plants for ceremony, medicinal use and consumption[13]. During the 18th century as settlers began voyaging from overseas, Indigenous peoples were subject to colonial violence and were forced off their lands and assimilated into western tradition[14].

Recent Westernized history has implemented new efforts in conservation and land sustainability to protect land through federal and provincial parks[15]. Incorporated into a westernized government system, though attempts are being made, there is continuously a lack of Indigenous involvement in the creation of these protected areas.

Japan

Satoyama landscape in Japan.

Historically, Satoyama landscapes first originated when hunter gatherers first began the transition into a settlement lifestyle[9]. The regions that were created, Satoyama, are classified based on a complex mosaic relationship and structure between humans and the environment. Both the land and human were contributing to a long-term sustainable system that changes throughout time[10]. Outside of strictly Satoyama landscapes, forest management throughout Eastern Asia shows evidence of Indigenous land use through prescribed burns, gathering, hunting, and planting / gardening[16].


In the mid 1800s during the Edo Period, Japan was largely rural and society relied on agricultural practices for sustenance[9]. Land ownership and management was largely influenced by the Meiji Era in the 17th and 18th century and is still a contributing factor to how large pieces of land are managed today[11]. As urban areas grew overtime, Satoyama forests were abandoned as individuals moved into populated areas. In a more recent history, the Satoyama Initiative is an international partnership with the objective to promote traditional Satoyama practice, established in 2010[9].

Tenure Arrangements

According to the UNCCD, “land tenure” is defined by the relationships that either individuals or groups have over stated lands. Land tenure can define how certain lands can be inhabited, managed, the timescale of use, and by whom [17]. Land tenures can come in a variety of forms, based on existing laws (statutory land tenure), yet may also result from cultural practices that are not legislated by a government (customary land tenure)[17].

Japan

Feudal Systems and Modern Reforms

Japan’s relationship towards land ownership has changed fundamentally since the end of World War II. Rule over land management shifted hands over the various epochs of Japan’s history: Land was first documented to be under the control of court nobles, then the shogunate and samurai[18]. However, the individuals did not own the land for themselves, rather they were given rights to a portion of the agricultural product[18]. In the 1890s, Japan’s landlord system first developed, where wealthy landlords prospered and controlled the majority of agricultural land[19]. Yet, the reign of the landlord system ultimately began to decline in the wake of the rural “rice riots” due to increased prices, calling on locals to form social and political movements around labor rights[19]. In the post-war period, from 1947-1949, Japan underwent a rapid transformation: The government sold almost all of its acquired agricultural land to both tenants and owners, while prioritizing private landowners instead of tenants under the Agricultural Land Law[19].

Current Land Ownership

The makeup of Japan’s forest land ownership is primarily divided into two main sectors: 30.3% of Japan’s forested area are nationally owned and managed by the Forestry Agency, whereas 57.8% are privately owned[20]. Stemming from the post-war land reforms, individuals own most of the privately-owned land, where over 1,000,000 individuals manage less than one hectare of forest[20]. These small-scale operations have not allowed for large scale forest management operations to work efficiently[20].

Iriaichi vs. Traditional Land Ownership

Prior to Japan’s industrialization, land-owners in rural villages utilized a system of “common pool of property,” or iriaichi[21]. This system relied on the collaboration of rural farmers to co-manage properties in order to supply grass, timber, and fuel to the entire community[21]. Although the practice of iriaichi has disappeared as a result of rapid urbanization and abandonment of many rural farming landscapes, the idea of providing “mutual help” still persists with many conservation efforts by residents to address unused land[21].

British Columbia

Crown Land

British Columbia’s current forest tenure system is based on the province’s colonial ties to former British rule, where the word “tenure” is derived from the pre-existing English tenurial system of occupying and using land[22]. This system deems that more than 95% of all public land is under the jurisdiction of the Crown (83% is classified as forest land), where the B.C. government will designate who can utilize or manage an area by handing out various kinds of forest licenses, either area or volume-based[22]. The types of tenure issued by the provincial government have evolved over time, with each incorporating different regulations surrounding the rate of harvest, forest protection, silvicultural treatments, and Indigenous involvement[23]. The two most prominent forest tenure types in British Columbia include:

  • Tree Farm Licenses (TFL): Area-based, 25 year term (replaceable every 5 years), exclusive access to harvest an Annual Allowable Cut (AAC) for large-scale operations[22].
  • Forest Licenses (FL): Volume-based, rights to harvest an annual volume supply of timber, 15 year term (replaceable every 5 years)[22].

Administrative Arrangements

British Columbia

Other actors involved in management and land use decision making in B.C. include the private sector, pre existing laws, policies, and governing Acts. The private sector of forestry is important to consider because it adds an additional layer to an existing complicated land management system and affects a larger pool of stakeholders. Treaties are seen across Canada bordering Indigenous territory[24]. Throughout coastal B.C., treaties add to the complexity of land management and should be considered in policy. In recent history, the Canadian court system has tasked itself with a role of defining and distributing aboriginals rights to Indigenous Peoples across the nation[25].

  • The 1982 Constitution Act, recognizes Indigenous treaty rights but failed to clearly define the nature of rights and conflict between Indigenous Peoples and the government persisted[25].
  • 1990 Sparrow case, further strengthened Indigenous peoples recognition but allowed for government intervention[25].
  • The 1997 Haida case provided Haida people land management rights and limited outside government interference in forest management on Haida territories[25].

Policy agreements between the provincial and federal governments and First Nations groups is an ongoing process[26].

Japan

The Japanese government, since the 1970s, where environmental degradation was highly prominent in response to rapid development of mountainous regions, has made significant progress towards promoting the conservation of natural areas, farmlands, secondary forests, and urban forests[27]. In July of 1999, the Japanese government enacted a new law, the Law for Promotion on Introduction of Advanced Sustainable Farming System, in which crops and soil quality will be improved and be made sustainable through being more “harmonized” with the environment[28]. This law was passed as a result of the widespread use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, a leading cause as to the “under-management” of Satoyama landscapes[29]. In 2001, the Ministry of Environment (MOE) was created as a result of the reorganizing of cabinet ministries, and in 2002, created the National Biodiversity Strategy[27]. The strategy stressed the importance of protecting and conserving Satoyama landscapes, as well as related the loss of biodiversity to the increasing abandonment of these rural areas[27].

Stakeholders and Rightsholders

Right holders include Indigenous Peoples in Canada and stakeholders include individuals with an interest or who may be affected by a topic of concern. Stakeholders and rights holders are different due to their connection to a particular area and inherent right that comes with being an Indigenous person to a territory.

British Columbia

Rights holders in the context of land management throughout British Columbia lies with Indigenous Peoples. This includes the collective as referred to in this review as Coastal First Nations and more specifically those in the territory management is implemented in.

Stakeholders include local community members outside of the First Nations, for example individuals who are affected by forest management. This includes individuals who use forests for recreational purposes (hiking, camping, canoeing), sustenance (hunting, foraging, fishing), employment (tourism, industry, media), and personal connection [30]. Federal, provincial and local / regional government are also considered stakeholders. Forest Industries who depend on forest management to meet timber quotas, employ workers and produce timber to be used and sold. Final stakeholders include those whose well being is indirectly or directly impacted as land management spreads across a complex system through infinite connections with other components such as watersheds.

Japan

Stakeholders and rights holders are grouped together in certain circumstances throughout Eastern Asia and Japan as Indigenous Peoples and local communities[31].

Stakeholders include the Ministry of the Environment of Japan, a federal governing body in charge of environmental affairs across Japan as well as other governing bodies on regional and federal scales [32][33]. Others include local communities who depend on forest resources for sustenance, employment, personal connection, recreation, hunting, fishing, and  media. Finally, the well-being of those indirectly or directly impacted as land management spreads through complex global systems.

Management Objective: Coastal First Nations vs. Satoyama

Similarities

Ecosystem Services as a Result of Human Interaction

Japan

From as early as 250 AD, historic Japanese documents exist describing the significance of preserving the services that forests provide[3]. A document from 821 AD describes early connections the Japanese made between water quality and forest use, stating that the securitization of water lies in “the combination of rivers and trees” [3]. In fact, the term “regenerative forestry” was first documented in Japanese literature around the 1600s[3]. Although, Satoyama residents did not just understand the ecosystem services that derived from the forest, but contributed to the overall biodiversity of the forest through their resource harvest practices. Paleoecological evidence from wildfire scars and preserved pollen in sediments and show that a higher variety of trees species used to occupy forests that were once dominated by hinoki (Japanese cedar) and beech, including shade-intolerant pines, oaks, and chestnuts[3].  The increased pine species that once occupied Japan during the Late Holocene were most likely the result of human-induced timber clearings[3].

Coastal First Nations

Much of the traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) obtained by Coastal First Nations is closely tied to each Nation’s spirituality. The Huu-ay-aht First Nation, one of the 14 Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations, maintained the “Hishuk Tsawak” worldview, or “everything is one/connected”[12]. This worldview embodied the premise that “culture and biodiversity” were embedded together, where modern day forest management practices, such as clearcutting, was not only destructive towards ecological systems, but Huu-ay-aht spirituality[12]. This worldview allowed the Huu-ay-aht to see patterns of species interactions that are now understood by Western science as “nutrient cycling,” where preserving the salmon swimming upstream is critical in order to provide nitrogen inputs for coastal forests (“salmon feed the forest”)[12].

Spirituality Through Participating with the Environment

Japan

The spirituality surrounding Satoyama is closely tied to the sense of community that it brought. Satoyama initially evolved as isolated settlements, where residents had to rely on self-sufficient and sustainable practices that worked in tandem with their natural surroundings[34]. Instead of a hierarchical force driving how land was managed, rules were made among the community and were followed closely by individuals without overseeing[34]. In Suzu City, a site previously occupied by Satoyama-satoumi settlements along the Noto peninsula, cultural ties to agricultural products were evident in several rituals: The Aenokoto was celebrated in December following the harvesting of rice, in which a deity representing the rice paddies are welcomed into home and thanked, then is “released” back into the fields come February in order to bring another prosperous season [34].

Coastal First Nations

The majority of Coastal First Nations, within their oral history, discuss their spiritual relationships with their environment. The Cheam First Nation, a member of the Sto:lo people, hold beliefs over how their traditional lands should be managed from their legends: The Great Spirit and other spiritual entities mandate the Cheam to “make productive use of their environment without compromising the land’s productive capacity" [35]. Other religious practices the Cheam would undertake include the use of their local environment for meditation purposes. The Cheam First Nation’s traditional territory is alongside the Fraser River (near what is today the city of Chilliwack) where members would use riparian areas and local watersheds to sit and reflect next to in times of need[35]. Forests were also valued to be spaces to “cleanse” the spirit and body[35].

Differences

Food Production

Japan

The geography of the Japanese archipelago, prior to globalization, limited the options towards what food products could be obtained. Pre-modernization Japanese diets consisted primarily of vegetables and seafood, and due to the country’s steep topographical relief, Satoyama landscapes were designed to incorporate crops and rice paddies within the plains of valleys, leaving the forested hills for resource extraction[3]. Although most Indigenous groups were historically migratory (i.e. participated in hunting of game and gathering supplies), Satoyama were the transition of Indigenous Japanese hunter-gatherers towards making permanent agricultural settlements, continuing practices that prevented exhausting resources in one area[9]. In recent times, Japan has been able to utilize its favorable temperate/semi-tropical climate and diversify their agricultural output towards growing high-quality products[36]. Rice has become the most important agricultural product, where 1.55 million hectares were dedicated to rice production in 2012[36]. Japan has been producing foreign varieties of fruits and vegetables, as well as livestock on a small-scale.

Coastal First Nations

Coastal First Nations would obtain wildlife and other food resources in their traditional lands, as well as using native species for medicinal purposes[35]. Using oral history, as well as archaeological evidence, researchers can see how technologies and cultural practices revolved around gathering methods of food collection. The K’omoks First Nation, traditional inhabitants of the Comox Valley of northern Vancouver Island, used fish weirs, duck nets, and berry picking techniques in order to harvest resources[37]. Other sources show that marine life such as seals, octopus, herring, and cod helped feed the people[37]. The Huu-ay-aht Nation obtained food resources in a cyclical nature, occupying beaches to harvest marine products in warmer months, moving alongside rivers in the fall to follow and harvest salmon, then resting inland during the winters, existing on preserved goods[12]. Coastal First Nations also relied heavily on trade networks in order to diversify diets based on the season, with some trade networks spanning over 1000 kilometers[37]. Commodities traded between Vancouver Island and the mainland included eulachon oil, dried seaweed, berries, dried salal, shoots, and rhizomes[37].

Homogeneity vs. Opposing Cultures

Japan

Although Japan has gone under immense cultural changes since the twentieth century, it still remains one of the few countries on Earth that was not formally colonized by Western powers. In fact, for at least 200 years (from 1641 to 1854) the Tokugawa shogunate imposed the sakoku (closed nation) policy, where all contact with foreigners was restricted and Christianity (brought from Portugese traders) was banned completely[38]. Currently, Japanese citizens consider their culture very “homogenous” with a strong sense of national identity, spiritual practices, and lifestyles[39]. The Japanese Ministry of Environment’s promotion of Satoyama landscapes through the Satoyama Initiative resonates with many Japanese citizens, who have historic ties to this lifestyle[9].

Coastal First Nations

Coastal First Nations have been historically left out from forest management policies conducted by the government of British Columbia. If a Nation’s rights and title are not recognized, First Nations must comply with federal and/or provincial land management practices[25]. Although research conducted in recent decades have noted the importance of Indigenous participation and incorporating traditional ecological knowledge into current forest practices, participation alone does not equate the adoption of new systems. Many coastal First Nations have joint ventures with larger industries, in order to have a greater degree of control[25]. However, forest licenses and permits are still issued on the decision by the government of B.C., just as any consultation between First Nations and the private sector does not ultimately mean collaboration in the final decision making process[25].

Conflicts with Current Management Systems

Current forest management frameworks in British Columbia and Japan conflict with the knowledge and objectives held by Indigenous peoples as well as those found in Satoyama landscapes. The current forestry practices in British Columbia are derived from European practices of sustainable yield, which rely on rotational systems[12]. Through colonization, traditional First Nation territories have been reduced to reserves, which only represent a small portion of their lands and may be subject to further control through government and administrative law and policy. This has had severe consequences to both Indigenous peoples as well as to the environment, which has been degraded as a result of economic driven decision making and industrialization. The Huu-ay-aht First Nation, whose traditional territory is on Vancouver Island, believe that culture and biodiversity rely on each other and would move their villages seasonally according to the cycles of nature[12]. Modern forestry practices like the clear cutting of large, forested landscapes threatens this worldview, where humans acting as the main agents of change to ecosystems is impacting the integrity and wellbeing of both Indigenous peoples and the environment. Forest management in British Columbia has resulted in the spread of disease, such as mountain pine beetle, increased risk of high intensity wildfires and more, which point towards the need for new collaborative frameworks developed between First Nations and the province to increase the sustainability of practices using traditional knowledge[40].

The overexploitation of Japanese forests in the 20th century bears similarities to British Columbia, where natural stands were replaced with monocultures, making trees more susceptible to disease and reducing overall biodiversity[16] The effects of colonial and industrial powers on forestry in British Columbia relate to the rise of urbanization in Japan and the effect that it had on traditional Satoyama landscapes. Similar to the loss of Indigenous forest management systems and the exclusion of traditional knowledge in decision-making and policy, Satoyama community forest models were lost through the underutilization of forest resources. This lack of forest management, primarily due to urbanization and shifts away from rural and agricultural livelihoods has led to soil erosion, biodiversity loss and changes to forest stand structure[16]. The revitalization of Satoyama practices has been suggested as a mechanism to restore these landscapes, where considering the beneficial interactions between humans and nature could help create sustainable management practices that better account for socio-ecological factors. Since the creation of the Satoyama Initiative (2010) and Creation Fund (2011), the benefits of these forest management practices have become apparent, including the sequestration of carbon, increased landscape connectivity and increased habitat for birds and insect populations[16]. Promoting the use of traditional knowledge in forest management and policy will have positive effects on the environment, which can be applied to both British Columbia and Japan.

Relative Power Dynamics

Relative power dynamics vary on a case by case basis in both Japan and British Columbia. Similar challenges arise at the topic of change in current management practices and environmental goals of restoring traditional land management through Satoyama forests and Indigenous knowledge. Unequal power dynamics are created from colonial pasts in Canada and new economic driving forces. Asymmetrical power dynamics are also seen in Japan with failed attempts of including stakeholders in decision making processes.

Japan vs. British Columbia

Many Indigenous Peoples continue to struggle to obtain rights and authority over traditional territory in numerous countries across the world. In Canada and British Columbia specifically, there is significant conflict that arises when discussing the harvest of natural resources located on Indigenous territory. This is largely due to the misrepresentation of Indigenous Peoples and Coastal First Nations in westernized policy. Power over land is located largely to governments and private bodies. These power dynamics exist due to a dominating colonial past in forest management that was built without Indigenous collaboration[12]. Due to increased efforts of capitalization through the private sectors of forestry create further imbalance of power between British Columbians and Coastal First Nations People [12].  

Throughout Japan, recent increases in initiatives to restore Satoyama land management practice have helped reduce pre existing power dynamics that were previously unsupported [16]. The benefits of working alongside the land for a sustainable future have found their way back into the foreground and through shared efforts could be a functioning practice soon again. Before Satoyama became a more popular framework to consider in conservation, Japan has progressed on their incorporation of sustainability into policy for future development[33].

Aside from the differences between Japan and Canada, power dynamics are a continuous struggle in many issues. As more individuals educate themselves on topics, heavier influence is placed on those who are misrepresented[41].

Aims and Intentions of Community Forestry

Community forestry is the management of forest resources by a government, communities, First Nation with the goal of benefitting local people[42]. This form of management ensures that local communities have control over their landscapes, while also providing important economic, social and cultural benefits. Satoyama forests of Japan, where forests were managed according to the relationships between local people and their environment are an example of community forestry. The interconnectedness between forests, croplands and villages in these landscapes allowed for the protection of nature and human settlements, including the reduction of soil erosion, landslides, prevention of flooding and windbreaks[16] Villagers in Japan shared forest resources, for example wood collection for fuel, charcoal, and building as well as managed forests to protect certain trees and species from harvesting. Local groups took care of post harvest forest regeneration processes like the coppicing of hardwood species and utilized non-timber forest products like leaves as compost for their crops, creating strong links between forestry and agriculture [16]. Japan has started to revitalize the use of traditional ecological knowledge and practices in forestry, including the creation of the Satoyama Initiative in 2010 to encourage community forestry around the world while restoring past Satoyama systems.

Breakdown of engagement types for Indigenous communities in British Columbia related to Community Forest Agreements[43].

The Community Forest Agreement Program was launched in British Columbia in 1998, initially issuing 5-year forest licenses to communities, which was extended to 25 years in 2009 in response to complaints over the lack of opportunities for long-term planning [43]. The program was created to address logging protests, however due to the small areas covered by these licenses, commercial harvesting can still occur in forests. Community Forest (CF) licenses represent only 2% of forest tenures in British Columbia, which can create opportunities for collaboration between communities and license holders[43]. However, this is seen as an issue due to the dominance of commercial harvest licenses because CFs often can not get optimum value for their timber. Community Forest licenses may play a role in increasing the involvement of Indigenous communities in decision and policy making in British Columbia. The Xáxli’p Community Forest (XCF), located near Lillooet British Columbia was created in 2011, giving the community power over forestry operations and management within their traditional territory[40] . Frameworks like these allow communities to engage in science and share their traditional knowledge in ways that maintain the integrity and representation of Indigenous knowledge in policy. This knowledge will promote sustainable forest management and create new relationships between humans and their environment, benefiting social and ecological systems. Another example of community forestry is the Tl’azt’en First Nation, who received their first tree planting license in 1982, leading to the creation of an Indigenous operated sawmill[44]. The forests on their territory are managed to preserve ecological value while also providing the maximum benefits to community members through economic, social and cultural uses[44].

The implementation and acceptance of community forestry is a challenge seen in both Satoyama landscapes and BC Aboriginal forestry, where finding ways in which these practices can be applied to forests needs to be further developed.

Future Considerations and Recommendations

The incorporation of traditional management and knowledge into current governance frameworks will be beneficial in both Japan and British Columbia. Revitalizing Satoyama management, for example through the Satoyama Initiative will enhance our understanding of complex socio-ecological landscapes, fostering respectful and sustainable relationships between humans and nature[45]. The same can be said for British Columbia, where partnerships and collaborative frameworks between the provincial government and coastal First Nations will benefit local communities while also adopting holistic and ecosystem-based models of forest management. Changes to forestry practices and policy may have impacts on Indigenous peoples, both positive and negative so it is important to make sure that the relationships created are respectful and reciprocal especially when relating to knowledge sharing and joint decision making. The increase of community and Aboriginal forestry in British Columbia needs to be conducted in a way that ensures meaningful engagement, where knowledge is not taken advantage of [46]. Incentives to increase Satoyama practices exist in Japan, like the Satoyama Creation Fund, these models should be adopted to support Indigenous forest tenures in British Columbia which will help increase a community’s capacity to carry out forestry activity. Increasing youth involvement in these practices and decision making will also help revitalize both forms of forest management, where education may create opportunities for new generations. The management of forests in British Columbia should focus on the increasing threat of global climate change, the adoption of traditional management and knowledge can help mitigate the effects of future change while restoring previously degraded landscapes.

Authors: Hillary Clark, Arielle Garsson and Gwen Marty

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