Course:FRST370/2021/Haida Gwaii Strategic Land Use Agreement

From UBC Wiki
Theme: Community Forestry
Country: Canada
Province/Prefecture: British Columbia
City: Queen Charlotte

This conservation resource was created by Danika, Eakin, Montserrat.
It is shared under a CC-BY 4.0.

The Haida Gwaii Strategic Land Use Plan (SLUA) was the culmination of many years of conflict and debate between the Haida Gwaii First Nations and the provincial government over logging practices on the islands of the Haida Gwaii. Frustration among the Haida communities and environmental groups, toward the unfair and inadequate consultation on Haida forest management, led to intense blockades and protests, prompting the province to act by properly consulting and including the communities in their decision-making process. The result was a unique foundation for all community forests and forestry operations on the island, giving the Council of the Haida Nations a sizable influence on where and what to harvest within designated harvest regions and the concession zones that comprise them. Through this agreement, the Haida Nation was able to secure coastal land areas under permanent protection, have a greater say on the Annual Allowable Cut on the Haida Gwaii, and protect specific trees within concession zones that have cultural significance.

The SLUA is an overarching system for defining, organizing, and managing forest tenures, governed by a joint decision council (the Haida Gwaii Management Council). It was developed through various interactions between various stakeholders of many levels, mainly the Haida Nation and the provincial government as mentioned. However, the agreement involved many other groups, including Industrial logging licensees, environmental groups, and non-Indigenous residents of the islands. Today, the SLUA and its associated governance systems continue to allow the First Nations greater participation and influence in the forest tenures of Haida Gwaii. Many challenges exist and continue to persist, including: finding solutions to mitigate stakeholder conflicts, facilitating the development of trust between Indigenous and non-Indigenous players, overcoming the legacy of colonialism, etc.

Key words: Haida Gwaii, ecosystem-based management, blockade, tenure, council


Haida Gwaii on BC map

Haida and Haida Gwaii which means "Islands of the people" has been referred to as the "Galapagos of Canada.[1]" Haida Gwaii is an archipelago located in British Columbia 90 miles off of the North Coast[2] and is made up of 200 islands with approximately 3750 square miles of land.[3] Currently, there are around 2,500 Haida citizens who make up half the population of Haida Gwaii.[4] The Council of Haida Nation describes the land to be "bathed in nutrient-rich waters of the north Pacific, their climate tempered by warm offshore currents. There are extensive seabird nesting colonies, large numbers of raptors, and many salmon spawning streams of all sizes."[3] The geography of Haida Gwaii is similar to the coastal mainlands of BC or the south of Alaska known for its mountainous terrain and temperate rainforests.[5] Moreover, the land of Haida Gwaii is unique as it "partially escaped glaciation during the last Ice Age" leading to a variety of endemic species in the area[5]. These unique and nutrient rich lands provides the Haida Nation with an abundance natural resources, and the Strategic Land Use Agreement outlines the different ways Haida Gwaii can be managed.

Map of Haida Gwaii region

The Land Use Agreement planning process took place from 2002-2004 and was officially legally established on December 17, 2010.[6] According to the Government of British Columbia the Strategic Land Use Agreement "established ecosystem-based management on Haida Gwaii and balances cultural, ecological, social and economic objectives".[6] The agreement also recognized that despite both the Haida Nation and the Government of British Columbia have differing views of sovereignty and ownership, they are able to manage Haida Gwaii whilst also building a stronger environmental and economic foundation for the people and land of Haida Gwaii.[3]

Background on Haida Gwaii

According to archeologists, Haida Gwaii has been inhabited for over 10,000 years by the Haida Nation[7] and it wasn't until 1774 that there was the first recorded European contact with the Spanish explorer Juan Pèrez.[1] In 1787, Captain Dixon renamed Haida Gwaii after a ship, and was then referred to as the "Queen Charlotte Islands.[5]" From the late 1700s, Haida Gwaii was an established trading post, where Haidas traded fur.[7] However as more Europeans came in contact with Haida Gwaii, they destroyed the Indigenous population through disease, guns, and alcohol lowering the Indigenous population from around 30,000 to less than 1000.[7]

Background on Strategic Land Use Agreement

By the 20th century, there was an influx of Non-Native residence due to new employment in natural resources.[7] Currently, the forest industry is the largest source of employment for residence on Haida Gwaii, with 33% of total employment.[7] However this use of natural resources stirred up conflict between the Haidas and the BC government as unsustainable logging practices had a harmful effects to the environment.[7] Overtime there was growing concern about the preservation of the environment as well as Haida culture and in 1985 there was a Haida blockade and protest.[7] This protest resulted in the arrest of 70 Haida who were also charged with criminal contempt of court and since this incident tensions between the two parties remained high.[7]

It was not until September of 2003 that a community-based, strategic land use planning process began.[8] The process was led by the Council of the Haida Nation (which formed in 1947 and became an established government that discussed treaty negotiations and other agreements with surrounding First Nations[7]) and the Government of British Columbia.[8] This planning process was based on a previous agreement from April 2001.[8] On December 12, 2007, the Strategic Land Use Agreement was signed by all parties.[8]

History of Haida Gwaii

History of Forest Operations

Initially, Indigenous property rights to the land were not recognized because they were considered lost in the past 100 years. Subsequently, persistent statements by the Haida Gwaii Nation to defend their land title were given very little attention by the BC provincial government. This also led to forest tenure licenses issued to logging companies that gave them long-term property rights in Indigenous territory for low cost. This, along with growing international attention toward Indigenous rights recognition in the 1960s, led to the Haida Gwaii community's recognition that a more vocal and direct action-based approach was needed.[9]

Protest History

Part of what led to the Haida Gwaii Strategic Land Use Agreement, and many other similar agreements across Canada, is the long protest history of First Nations Peoples against the government and transnational forest/mining corporations who have historically disregarded Aboriginal Title and unlawfully infringed upon those rights. During the 1970's, First Nations began implementing road and railroad blockades across Canada as a means of attracting media attention to force the Crown to the table to negotiate.[10] A blockade is defined as "an attempt to interfere with the flow of people and/or commodities through the placement of an obstruction, either partial or complete" and between 1980-1995 there were 55 blockades throughout the province of British Columbia alone.[10] Of these 55, 28 (51%) were located on roads, 9 (16%) on railroads, and 16 (42%) on private logging roads and other road works, the Haida's blockade being one of them.[10]

This long, and still ongoing, fight is what radicalized Native peoples to take action. It's rooted in a deep dissatisfaction with the Province's continued dismissal of Aboriginal Title.[10] Blockades are not a joke or any other light matter: they are only implemented as a consulted final attempt to gain the recognition needed to protect the land. It takes an incredible amount of resources to sustain an effective blockade. In other words, this tactic is only be used when non-confrontational methods fail to gain any fair attention.[10] In Haida Gwaii's case, their blockade legacy resides on Lyell Island. In November 1985, the Haida placed their lives on the line to halt logging companies from passing to log their sacred trees, while the courts continued their slow deliberation for decisions that were needed immediately.[11] The members involved protested through song and drumming. Their Elders were the front line, telling their community members, "You let us speak first. You let us get arrested first."[11] 17 people ended up in cuffs and of them, 9 men and 2 women went to court.[11] What made this environmental victory so notorious is that it did in fact stop logging on Lyell island permanently. It is also one of the earlier victories, which helped set the stage for other First Nations to stand their ground and fight for their land sovereignty back.

The Haida's victory was a victory for all First Nations. It demonstrated what could be accomplished using the blockade tactic. With over 1,600 reserves spread throughout the province of British Columbia, a blockade could happen anywhere at any time and economically "shut the province down."[10] This litigates some power back into Indigenous hands when negotiating with the government. It's what has made blockades so effective. This is also what makes the protest history so vital to the foundation to the Strategic Land Use Agreement: the Haida found a way to fight back on logging and construction that maintains their values and principles. It forced the hand of the Crown to compromise and reach an agreement that accommodates all parties involved.

Soon enough, on December 12, 2007, after many more blockades fuelled by Lyell Island and the tense negotiations that followed, the Council of the Haida Nation and the provincial government reached a settlement. The Haida Gwaii Strategic Land Use Agreement was signed.[9]

Haida Vision and Cultural Features

Yah'guudang : Our Respect for all Living Things[12]
Photo of Haida Gwaii

One of the foundational pieces to the Strategic Land Use Agreement is the Haida Land Use Vision document. The Haida Council lay the groundwork for what they wish to happen for the land. It's broken into three main categories : Well-Being of the Land, Condition of the Land, and Natural Ability of the Land to Function and Provide. First, the Council describes what the land used to be like and how their ancestors managed to live off the land. The second category addresses the current health of the land. And the final section concludes with how the People wish for the land to function again. Further, within each category, the Haida Council highlights six key cultural features that are vital to the Haida's cultural survival and their current endangerment status. However it must be noted that the Haida Council deliberately excluded medicine plants from their report in order to protect some of their most sacred knowledge from being desired and harvested by pharmaceutical companies around the world.

Tsuuay (Cedar)

The Tsuuay arrived in Haida Gwaii over 6,000 years ago and has become a key cultural feature. They not only provide dens for black bear and nests for many flying animals, but they also are a primary source for the Haida to build and create their own cultural items such as canoes and masks.[12] Further, wherever a culturally modified tree or blank canoe is found in their forests, they represent the "sacred workplace of [their] ancestors".[12] Currently cedar and other culturally modified trees that support the Haida culture are at risk due to over-logging and the introduction of foreign species such as deer. Between some of the oldest trees being cut down for people who do not live here and deer eating any potential new cedar, the Haida's traditional workspaces are dwindling.

Tsiin (Salmon)

The tsiin are listed because they are the most important part of their diet. They provide a significant portion of their needed nutrients.[12] Again due to overlogging near streams and rivers with no Forest Practice Codes, the salmon are at risk due to key properties disappearing from watersheds that create the environment necessary for healthy salmon.[12] Every year the Haida Nation must be careful of how much they harvest in every stream in order to not further harm their rapidly depleting numbers. Although it feels a little too late, the Haida Gwaii People hope to quickly implement codes that will limit the amount of riparian trees logged within a certain distance of any river or stream.[12]

Taan (Black Bear)

Another important animal, the taan, provided the Haida with a great deal of information on what plants are best to use, and share in their use of cedar trees to make dens. Further, every time a black bear catches a salmon, it contributes to the economics of the land by transferring needed nutrients onto the forest floor.[12] Currently, black bears are at risk due to their dens being logged and the unethical fishing industry's practice of killing them "because they eat fish."[12]

Xiit'lit (Birds)

In order for plants and trees alike to be spread across the Haida Gwaii's archipelago, they need their xiit'lit to spread the seeds as they fly from place to place. Additionally, they provide insect control.[12] The native bird species of Haida Gwaii are under attack for a multitude of reasons. First and foremost, they are losing their homes at a rapid rate due to logging. Although logging creates open spaces for birds to fly through, eventually these trees, typically conifers, close in and block the underpass, making it inhabitable for the next 60 years.[12] Secondly, they are being attacked by introduced species such as raccoons, rats, and squirrels who not only attack the birds, but also their nests and eggs.

The Haida Gwaii saw-whet owl (Aegolius acadicus brooksi) is one example of a threatened bird species on the Haida Gwaii islands. Industrial logging and the subsequent loss of old-growth forests - their primary habitat - has posed to be a major challenge for conservation efforts. Forested lands conserved through the Strategic Land Use Agreement has been found to cover 11 of the 12 potential critical habitats identified for this species. More research is required to determine the exact suitability of these sites.[13]

Kil (Plants)

One of the biggest contributions to the depleting health of native kil is their perceived "lack of value" in Western practices. Logging companies only go into forests for timber products, and thus any other species bares the brunt of complete neglect.[12] However, plants are arguably one of the most important components to a healthy forest. The Haida are not the only ones to rely on plants ; every other living relative relies on plants in one way or another to survive. Every component of a plant can be used : from the roots to the flower to the branches or even the bark. They provide teas and pigments, food for cooking, materials for the smokehouse and clothing.[12] Ensuring the survival of non-timber products parallels ensuring the survival of the Haida Gwaii culture.

Sk'waii (Beaches)

Although this living document is focused on land protection, the places where the land and ocean meet are vital as they are key locations where the Haida go to harvest food such as razor clams, crabs, cockles, barnacles, mussels, and so much more.[12] These essential harvesting locations are endangered primarily due to pollution such as human sewage, oil spills, seepage from mining, and timber dumping sites. Such pollution destroys oxygen levels and compresses food to the bottom of the ocean, unattainable by any harvester.[12] It should be noted that this document is catered toward land protection only, "even though the land and ocean are linked together in many ways."[12]

Ideally, the Haida wish for their archipelago to become a sustainable forest economy again. This requires setting aside large portions of forests to be protected. By protecting old growth trees and other forest locations that surround rivers and streams, we're protecting all of the land features listed above and more.[12] Protecting the forests from logging would allow new trees the opportunity to grow alongside old growth trees. It would mean the nutrients from watersheds that provide the right conditions for healthy salmon would remain. It means the black bears have dens to sleep in and protect their cubs. It means the birds have places to build nests and spread the seeds of the forest throughout the land. It means ancestral medicines with proven working effects can remain a part of Haida traditions. This is what the Haida Gwaii Nation wants. This is their vision.

Objectives of the Land use agreement

A Haida Gwaii goshawk (Accipiter gentilis)

There are several objectives in relation to managing the Haida Gwaii Forests. The first objective is the preservation and management of the Haida Nation traditional forests and forest resources[6]. The targets to manage the Haida Nation's traditional forests are to "maintain traditional resources in sufficient amounts to support Food Social and Ceremonial Haida Nation use".[6] This can be done through preparing and implementing stewardship strategies for the Haida Nation's traditional resources by working with the Haida Nation to prepare this detailed strategic plan which identifies and maintains the traditional forest resources[6]. The second objective is the management of specific tree species like western yew (Taxus brevifolia), western red cedar (Thuja plicata), and yellow cedar (Cupressus nootkatensis)[6]. The way these cedars will be managed is by retaining cedar and yew within agreed the harvest units and maintaining a supply of cedar and yew for cultural/social purposes[6]. However, there are objectives to manage other types of trees like monumental cedars and culturally modified trees[6]. According to the Land Use Agreement a monumental forest can be defined as "cedar that is greater than 100cm dbh and free of limbs and knots for greater than 5 meters." while culturally modified trees are defined as "a tree that has been modified by Haida people as part of their cultural use of the forests.[6]" The objectives of the management of monumental cedars are for cultural uses whilst sustaining the stands of monumental cedar[6]. The indicator that the objectives have been met is through measuring and identifying the number of monumental cedars reserved to the Haida Nation and to confirm that several hectares of stands of Monumental cedar are protected[6]. Within the culturally modified trees, the objectives are to identify and protect culturally modified trees by measuring the number of protected culturally modified trees and reserving culturally modified trees[6]. In addition to managing and preserving trees, another objective is to manage aquatic and wildlife habitats. The aims to manage aquatic habitats consists of maintaining and restoring water quality and quantity, maintaining the natural ecological function of streams, lakes, wetlands, and estuaries, maintaining the natural ecological function of fish streams, lakes, and wetlands, retaining active fluvial units, maintaining the natural ecological function of upland streams, and retaining forested swamps[6]. Within managing wildlife habitats, there is a focus on protecting black bear (Ursus americanus) dens, marbled murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus) nesting habitats, and protecting goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) nesting sites[6]. The targets to protect the black bear dens and goshawk nesting sites are protecting 100% of these areas, whereas the targets for managing and protected the marbled murrelet is a bit more lenient at around 40%.[6] Finally the last objective is to promote healthy biodiversity. The objectives to manage biodiversity are maintaining representation of common and very common old forest ecosystems, maintaining representation of modal, rare, and very rare old forest ecosystems, identifying and protecting red-listed plant communities and identifying and protected selected blue-listed communities. According to B.C list status red-listed plant communities are defined as "any native species or ecological communities that have, or are candidates for, Extirpated, Endangered, or Threatened status in British Columbia. "whereas blue-listed species are "any native species or ecological community considered to be of Special Concern (formerly Vulnerable) in British Columbia".[14]

Tenure Arrangements

Although the Haida Gwaii Strategic Land Use Agreement is not a specific tenure arrangement in and of itself, it does lay the groundwork for any tenure license applications for the Haida’s territory. What makes the Strategic Land Use Agreement so distinct is that it gives the Haida Gwaii Council authority to issue tenure licenses jointly with the Province of British Columbia. This denotes that when a forest company goes to apply for a license, they not only have to apply through the Crown, but also need to get one through the Haida Council,  essentially giving the Haida Nation partial land sovereignty back. Currently, there is an established tenure area “on the east coast of Graham Island and Moresby Island on Haida Gwaii.”[15] Additionally, the Misty Isles Development Society holds tenure for all the Haida Gwaii communities it represents.[16] This tenure holder is similar to the Mabandla community-owned plantation. Both groups represent the larger collective of local peoples and put their best, economic interest at the forefront of their decisions. Ideally, just like the Mabandla case, the Misty Isles Development Society divides the profits equally amongst the communities and invests in any endeavour that would help improve the Western economic status of all involved.

When the provincial government and the Haida Nation entered into their agreement, the proposed annual allowable cut (AAC) was 800,000 cubic meters.[9][17] Today however the timber supply area is set at 308,000 hectares and effective September 28, 2021 the AAC has been reduced to 272,061 cubic meters.[18]

Administrative Arrangements

Joint-Decision Council

In order to ensure both parties, the Haida Gwaii Nation and the Provincial Crown, felt heard they decided on a five-member council with each party appointing two members each. The last member is appointed together.[19] Currently, Gwaliga Hart and Sean Young serve as the Haida Nation's representatives and Robert van der Zalm and Luigi Sposato represent the government. Allan Davidson is the appoint chairperson whom does not participate in any discussions, but will serve as a tie-breaker for debates that cannot reach an agreement. Each member serves for two years and can be re-elected for another two terms if they so choose.[19] In total, each representative can serve for up to a total of six years. The Council receives it's authority from KaayGuu Ga ga Kyah ts'as - Gin 'inaas 'laas 'waadluwaan gud tl'a gud giidaa (Stewardship Law), Kunst'aayah Reconciliation Protocol, and the Provincial Haida Gwaii Reconciliation Act.[19] Due to this recognized authority, the Council is to take full accountability if anything goes awry.

Cultural Features Manual

The Cultural Features Manual outlines the protocol for conducting a land-based survey to identify cultural features on areas desired for logging and development. Listed in the document are six key cultural features that are essential for the Haida Gwaii's culture to survive which are listed below .[20] It should be noted however that this is not a complete list and is intended only as a starting point. Surveyors who are properly trained and certified by the Haida Council conduct these land surveys. Although they can direct those who are not certified, it is the surveyor who takes full responsibility for any report submitted.[20] Despite being the person who's held accountable when things go awry, Cultural Feature Identification surveyors also need to know when an Archeological Impact Assessment needs to be conducted. Nonetheless, it is not the surveyors responsibility to identify when this protocol needs to be adhered to : it is the practicing forester/licensee who must implement this part of the agreement.[20] The complication with this process however is that typically the surveyor is one of the first people to enter the designated area, and thus must still be familiar with when the archeological professional needs to come.

Additionally, the surveyor has to make a decision between which of the two different intensities of surveys, labeled as level 1 and level 2. The primary difference between the two being that a level 1 survey covers at least 25% of the surveyed area, but less than 100% while a level 2 survey must visually cover 100% of the land under inspection.[20] All surveys begin as a level 1, and a level 2 survey is only require when one of the following is identified : the development area is less than 5 hectares or 25 meters below sea level ; any CMT's or monumental cedars are found ; a class 1 Traditional Forest Feature is discovered ; or a class 1 or 2 Traditional Heritage Feature is identified.[20] What is especially interesting is that because the surveyor is certified by the Haida Council, they are trusted with the decisions they make. This means that "increasing block coverage is at the discretion of the surveyor."[20] It is their responsibility to be diligent and confident that little to no cultural features are in the designated area and a level 1 survey doesn't need to become a level 2. Further, when a monumental cedar or CMT is identified, the surveyor must visually mark the cultural feature with a flag, preferably that surrounds the item entirely.[20] After the survey is complete and all data has been collected, the surveyor must submit the minimal required information to the Haida Gwaii Management Council and the provincial government. Typically, a tally sheet is used to document any identified cultural features although not required.[20]

In addition to the CMT's, monumental cedar, yew trees, and bear dens, the following are cultural features that also must be identified in a requested logging or development area on the Haida Gwaii Territory[20] :

Haida Traditional Heritage Features : If any of these features are identified, an independent Archeological Impact Assessment must be conducted before proceeding.

Class 1

  • Village/Seasonal Village
  • Identified Oral History Site
  • Burial Site
  • Inland Camp/Camp
  • Identified Spiritual Site

Class 2

  • Midden
  • Bear Trap
  • Fish Weird
  • Cave
  • Petroglyph
  • Lithic Production Site
  • Trails
  • Lookout Site
  • Fort
  • Cache
  • Canoe Run
  • Shoreline Habitation Site
  • Rock Shelter
  • Karst Features

Haida Traditional Forest Features

Class 1 : These features are incredibly culturally important to the Haida Nation and increasingly rare due to over logging. Each appearance is considered a cultural feature.

  • False Ladyslipper/Fairy-slipper
  • Black Hawthorn
  • Northern Rice Root
  • Devil’s Club
  • Highbush-Cranberry
  • Narcissus Anemone
  • One-and-a-half Flowered Reedgrass
  • Richardson’s Geranium
  • Wright’s Filmy Fern
  • Calder’s Lovage
  • Western Cowbane

Class 2 : Although these cultural features are still important to their culture, whether these species become classified as a cultural feature depends on their density and distribution.

  • Common Harebell
  • Common Juniper
  • Pacific Crabapple
  • Yellow Pound Lily
  • Stink Currant
  • Black Swamp Gooseberry
  • Trailing Black Currant
  • Cloudberry
  • Stinging Nettle
  • Indian Hellebore

Affected Stakeholders

Island Inhabitant Communities

There are approximately 5000 residents living on the Haida Gwaii islands. Around half of the population is comprised of Indigenous communities.[3]

The Haida First Nations Community

As the Indigenous peoples of Haida Gwaii have been occupying and using resources on the islands since time immemorial,[3] they are considered not only affected stakeholders but right holders as well. Currently, the Haida Nation is divided into two sub-communities located on opposite sides of Graham Island: Gaw Old Massett and HlGaagilda Skidegate. Along with the Hereditary and Aboriginal Titles over the lands, the Haida Nation holds property rights over all intellectual and cultural materials from the community.[3][4]

The Council of the Haida Nation

Although the Haida communities themselves do not have significant influence over the Haida Gwaii land management, their interests are advocated and communicated primarily through the Council of the Haida Nation, a political governance and representative entity for the Haida Nation.[21][9] It is the council's job to represent the Haida people in negotiations with the provincial government and to produce beneficial policies for the community. Subsequently, the Council played a major role in the collaborative planning processes leading up to and taking part in the development of the Haida Gwaii Strategic Land Use Plan, progressing as far as to becoming a co-chair/co-manager of the negotiations.[9]

Non-Indigenous Residents

The Haida Gwaii islands are also home to around 2,500 non-indigenous residents living in small municipalities. As many of these communities rely on forestry as a primary source of jobs and their economy, they would also qualify as affected stakeholders. Several communities, including Port Clements and Masset in 2004, acknowledged and agreed in community protocol agreements that the Haida Nation can better manage the old-growth forests than the province. [9] Many non-Indigenous residents have participated in forest logging blockades and protests alongside Indigenous members.

Small Timber Companies/Branches Operating on the Haida Gwaii

Small-scale logging and wood products companies operate on the Haida forests, providing local municipalities their primary source of economic surplus. Due to their small size, these companies have been shown to be easily impacted by disruptions and disputes between environmental NGOs and logging industries.[22] This has been recognized as a major concern by local non-Indigenous municipalities, including Port Clements where a timber sale blockade led to sizable worker layoffs within the community. [22][23]

Several timber companies operate local mills on the Haida Gwaii forests. For example, Teal Jones, although it is the largest solid wood products company in the province, operates a shingle mill near Masset that provides local people with income. Teal Jones employs around 100 people on the Haida Gwaii with full-time forestry jobs.[24]

Logging in Haida Gwaii

Interested Outside Stakeholders

Provincial Government

The provincial government wishes to form a viable agreement with the Haida nation to benefit both the community and the province’s logging industry. Historically, the provincial government has issued permits to industries for commercial timber harvesting without much consideration or resistance due to Indigenous land titles not being recognized at that time.[9] This has changed significantly in the recent decades with the international recognition of Indigenous rights and the 2004 landmark Supreme Court ruling recognizing the need for the province to consult the Haida Nation.[9][17] Resulting power shifts in Indigenous land management has led to both new achievements and new challenges for the province. The current provincial government does recognize the Indigenous title of the Haida Gwaii community. However, because forestry and wood production are a major economic driver in the province, the government also advocates for the continuation of softwood lumber harvesting.

Industrial Logging Licensees

Major forest concession licensees want to ensure that the agreement still provides enough land/tree resources to harvest and produce revenue gains. Industrial logging firms has seen the Haida Gwaii forests as a viable source for timber to supply and fuel the province’s economy. This has, unfortunately, placed them at odds with the Haida communities who sought to protect the forests and manage them sustainably. The Strategic Land Use Plan, which arose from the conflicts between the two parties, was developed to allow the Haida nation more control over where and how much timber can be harvested. However, these industrial firms, including Teal Jones, has initially seen this as a loss of jobs and opportunities to benefit the economy.[24]

Environmental Activists and NGOs

Environmental groups and NGOs want to ensure that the maximum amount of old growth trees are protected in the Haida Gwaii - low importance, high influence. In the events that led up to the Strategic Land Use Plan, environmental activist groups and the Haida communities collaborated heavily to push for old growth forest protection from industrial logging.[9] Therefore, this stakeholder group has had considerable influence behind the movement.


Overall, the aims and intentions of the Strategic Land Use Agreement was to implement several ecosystem-based management objectives and maintain healthy relationships between both parties as well as any forest tenure holders. Specifically ecosystem-based management is applied in areas of land that have been significantly altered or on land that has unbalanced socio-economic, environmental, or cultural conditions.[6] Both parties are to implement these aims through shared decision-making processes as well as receive sufficient information on these aims to make informed decisions.[6] Parties will also work together to make sure forest tenure holders abide by the ecosystem-based management objectives[6].

Relative Successes and Failures

To study the outcomes of collaborative land use decision making, 11 outcome criterions were created.[7] Out of the 11 outcome criterion, 7 out of the 11 outcome criteria received 50% or higher levels of agreement from participants[7]. Below is a summary of the findings from Astofooroff's study on collaborative decision making in Haida Gwaii.

Successes of Collaborative Planning:

1) Superior to Other Methods

A majority of participants believed that this method of decision making is superior to other methods.[7] 67% of the participants felt like this planning model was the best way to develop a land use management plan.[7]

2) Creative and Innovative

A majority of participants indicated that this process was creative and innovative and used innovative and creative ideas for action and decision making.[7]

3) Knowledge, Understanding and Skill.

Many participants also indicated that participants improved their knowledge and understanding of important issues regarding Haida Gwaii, and have developed their skills in negotiation, data analysis, and decision making.[7] In fact, 100% of the participants believed that they have developed a good understanding of the interests of other participants and many gained.[7]

4) Relationships and Social Capital

Participants also were able to establish new relationships and improve their levels of trust, respect, and understanding of one another, with 92% of participants agreeing that they now have better working relationships with others.[7]

5) Information

Information is defined as data, information, and analyses that were conducted during the decision-making process are accurate.[7] 85% of participants acknowledged that information acquired through their participation was useful.[7] In addition, 69% of participants agreed that they have used the information they learned through the decision making process for purposes unrelated to the decision-making processes of Haida Gwaii.[7]

6) Understanding and Support

There was an 85% level of agreement from participants from the statement "I believe that consensus based processes are an effective way of making land and resource use decision." while 92% agreed that the government should involve the public in land and resource use decision making.[7] Finally most participants agreed that they would be involved with a similar type of land-use management plan.[7]

7) Affects of First Nations on Outcomes

85% of the participants surveyed felt that First Nations participation made a significant different in the outcome of the decision-making processes.[7]

Failures of Collaborative Planning:

Although some aspect of collaborative planning were successful, there were notable weaknesses reported by participants.


Agreement was defined as "where participants perceive the process as having a successful outcome, where the final agreement meets the needs of all stakeholders.[7] Only one third of the participants found that the plan created met their needs, concerns, and values.[7]

Conflict Reduced

Overall previous conflict between stakeholders was not reduced. Only 33% of the participants agreed with the statement that "conflict over the land use has decreased".[7]

Second Order Effects

Second order effects is defined as a decision that promotes a change in participants actions and encourages participants to work together.[7] Only 38% of the participants noticed a change in behavior as a result of the collaborative decision processes.[7]

Public Interest

Finally, public interest (where the final agreements is viewed to serve common good and public interest) was not met, with only 38% agreeing that this decision process served the common good.[7]

Discussion of Management of Conflict

Unfortunately we were not able to discuss with the Haida Gwaii management council to discuss any conflicts in the community and how they are being managed. Additionally, there is not much research that includes the Haida perspective or narrative. As the Haida nation is a major stakeholder in the Strategic Land Use Agreement, and their perspective is valuable, we recommend that future research puts Haida voices at the forefront. However, as previously mentioned, there are still some weaknesses in collaborative management such as weaknesses in reducing conflict, successful outcome of agreements, public interest, and second-order effects. In Astofooroff’s study, some recommendations to improve these conflicts are to have more involvement with the government. By being included in the government, many participants may feel that the agreement would be more successful if higher-level government officials listened to their concerns.[7]

Trust is also a crucial element in reaching agreements (and sustaining SLUA), especially between the Haida Gwaii nation and the provincial government.[17] Specifically, Hotte et al. (2018) found that Haida peoples value interpersonal connections between stakeholders and each other and feel more secure and/or confident when working with government individuals whom they had prior connections and experiences with.[17] However, the Haida community still bears the legacy of colonialism and the ill-treatment of Indigenous Peoples by both provincial and federal governments. This will continue to affect how members of the Indigenous community perceive Government actions and proposals.[17]


Power Analysis

One criticism within collaborative planning is the different levels of power and a power imbalance.[7] For example, some successful industries have the power and influence to exert political pressure as well as use economic interest to persuade the government of a certain decision.[7] In Astofooroff's study, power imbalances are often noticeable when trying to get all the stakeholders engaged[7]. Usually, industries and the government often have representatives that get paid to participate, whereas other members of the public may have to take time out of their schedule or volunteer their time and resources.[7] In a study evaluating Haida Gwaii Land and resource management, a few participants noted that there was a power imbalance between the Haidas and the British Columbia Government.[7] Many participants also noted that when Haidas were present there was an increase in political tension and as a result the decisions became less scientifically focused.[7]


The following are some recommendations we have for future negotiations and some key gaps in our own knowledge that may or may not affect the case study :

  • There should be more sufficient time in the negotiating process, although we recognize some of these matters are time sensitive and do not have the luxury of long negotiations.
  • Well-trained facilitators should be implemented to facilitate agreements and discussions so Indigenous Peoples are heard and represented correctly. Frequently issues arise from locals being unable to express their thoughts and opinions to the government. In this particular case study, it is extremely important that everyone of Haida Nation is heard because this directly affects their ancestral lands.
  • As of right now, we've been unable to interview anyone from the Haida Gwaii Council to create the most well-rounded and informed analysis. We are still hoping to ask questions surrounding the following topics at a later date :
    • overall public participation
    • accountability/chain of command
    • current satisfaction with the agreement
    • updates on future land and water goals


  1. 1.0 1.1 Kennedy, Dorothy; Bouchard, Randy (October 24, 2010). "Haida". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved November 24, 2021. Unknown parameter |first name 3= ignored (help); |first3= missing |last3= (help)
  2. Takei, Masa (November 24, 2021). "Haida Gwaii". National Geographic. Retrieved November 24, 2021.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Haida Nation. "Haida Gwaii". Haida Nation. Retrieved November 17, 2021.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Haida Nation". Coast Funds. Retrieved November 27, 2021.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Townsend, Justine. On Haida Terms: Self-Determination and Land use Planning on Haida Gwaii, York University (Canada), Ann Arbor, 2009. ProQuest,
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 6.12 6.13 6.14 6.15 6.16 6.17 "Haida Gwaii Strategic Land Use Agreement". Government of British Columbia. Retrieved November 28, 2021.
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 7.12 7.13 7.14 7.15 7.16 7.17 7.18 7.19 7.20 7.21 7.22 7.23 7.24 7.25 7.26 7.27 7.28 7.29 7.30 7.31 7.32 7.33 7.34 7.35 Astofooroff, N. (2008). Evaluating Collaborative Planning A Case Study of the Haida Gwaii Land and Resource Management Plan (thesis). Simon Fraser University.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 “Haida Gwaii Land Use Objectives Order Consolidated Version 1 For Communication Only.” Government of British Columbia, 25 Nov. 2010.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 9.8 Takeda, Louise; Røpke, Inge. "Power and contestation in collaborative ecosystem-based management: The case of Haida Gwaii". Ecological Economics. 70: 178–188 – via Elsevier Science Direct. line feed character in |title= at position 80 (help)
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 Blomley, N., & Nicholas Blomley. (09/22/1996). "Shut the province down": First nations blockades in british colombia, 1984-1995 University of British Columbia Press.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Keepers of the Fire. [15:48 - 30:35] (1994). National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved from
  12. 12.00 12.01 12.02 12.03 12.04 12.05 12.06 12.07 12.08 12.09 12.10 12.11 12.12 12.13 12.14 12.15 Haida Gwaii., Haida Land Use Vision (2004). Council of the Haida Nation. Retrieved October 28, 2021, from
  13. Parks Canada Agency (2014). "Northern Saw-whet Owl, brooksi subspecies (Aegolius acadicus brooksi): recovery strategy". Government of Canada.
  14. "B.C List Status". Government of British Columbia. Retrieved November 29, 2021.
  15. "Haida Nation and B.C.sign forest tenure agreement". BC Government News. 03/26/2014. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  16. "Haida Gwaii Community Forestry". Haida Gwaii Community Forestry.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 Hotte, Ngaio; Wyatt, Stephen; Kozak, Robert. "Influences on trust during collaborative forest governance: a case study from Haida Gwaii". Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 4: 361–374.
  18. "Haida Gwaii Timber Supply Area". British Columbia.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 "Frequently Asked Questions". Haida Gwaii Management Council. |first= missing |last= (help)
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 20.5 20.6 20.7 20.8 Haida Gwaii., Cultural Feature Identification Standards Manual (2019). Council of Haida Nation. Retrieved October 28, 2021, from
  21. "Council of the Haida Nation". Haida Nation.
  22. 22.0 22.1 Thomas, Urs. "Re: Forestry and the Future of Port Clements [Letter]" (PDF).
  23. Hudson, Andrew (March 31, 2018). "Port Clements is running out of time: mayor". Haida Gwaii Observer. Retrieved November 28, 2021.
  24. 24.0 24.1 "Haida Gwaii - Strategic Land Use Agreement - Harvesting & Economic Impacts". Canada Newswire (via Proquest). September 7, 2007. Retrieved November 2, 2021. line feed character in |title= at position 45 (help)