Course:FRST370/Projects/How the Slocan Integral Forestry Co-operative in British Columbia built integrated forest solutions

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The Slocan Valley

In the Slocan Valley of British Columbia, Canada a co-operative is formed in 2003 to allow the community to take back control of their local forest through the application for a Community Forest License. The core of Slocan Integrated Forestry Co-operative (SIFCo) is formed by four member groups: the Village of Slocan, Elliot/Anderson/Christian/Trozzo Watershed Association (EACT), Red Mountain Residents’ Association (RMRA), and the Winlaw Watershed Committee (WWC). Community meetings were held and support was provided by local businesses, government agencies, organizations and individuals who provided letters of endorsement for the co-operative. The collapse of the forest industry that started in the 1990's led many resource dependant towns to take advantage of the new opportunities created in 2003 by the introduction of the Community Forest Licenses to continue to participate in the industry that their livelihoods had become dependant on.

Slocan Integrated Forestry Co-operative, SIFCo

Location: Central Slocan Valley, West Kootenay region of southeastern British Columbia, Canada

The Slocan CFA is located within the Arrow Timber Supply Area, on the east side of the Slocan Valley. The CFA area is discontinuous, and is composed of three separate blocks of land located over an area running from south of Winlaw to south of Silverton.  

Community Forest Unit Area in Hectares

Pedro 10,456, Ringrose 1,407, Red Mountain 3,989 Total:15,852

History of British Columbia Forest Policy and Practice

Tenure System

Crown land was tenured to large forest companies under provincial jurisdiction for many decades from the 1940s. These companies used industrialized extraction methods under a command and control model to make corporate profit and provided provincial revenue through the stumpage taxes they were required to pay. These extraction tenures ended up as long-term deals for the forestry companies as they had renewable leases. At this time the community involvement was minimal and was only included in the forest operations as the provision of labour. In this period Indigenous involvement was minimal or non-existent in the operations of the corporations. The outcome of these practices led to degradation of the natural environment in the province while creating instabilities in the economy. Social conflict began to break out when the system started to break down and the resource dependant communities were feeling the negative consequences. (Bullock et al, 2017).

Forest Economy

1990-2014 was a period of rapid decline in the British-Columbia Forest Industry when 56% of the coastal sawmills were closed. The percentage of provincial GDP created by forest revenue fell from 4.5% in 1997 down to 3.3% in 2016 and people who were directly employed in forestry fell from 85,000 down to 59,900 during this period (Williams, B., 2018).

History of Community Forestry in BC

Communities throughout BC who had been left without the profit that had been extracted from the forests needed alternative solutions to access jobs as they had been left unemployed. Regional migration away from forest-based towns reduced the municipal services to these towns because of the declining tax base. The need for change was obvious and solutions to create a sustainable future were cultivated from the links that had been created between communities, governments, industry and forests in the collaborative projects that formed the beginning of community forestry in B.C (Bullock et al, 2017). The Province passes Bill 28 in 2003 that allows for the re-allocation of forest tenures to Community Forest Licenses. As of 2018, 58 distinct Community Forest Agreement (CFA) holders have received forest tenure licenses in BC. The variety of community-based organizations that are operating the 58 CFA’s include: limited partnerships, societies, co-ops, First Nations and local governments (BCFFA, 2018).

Timeline for Tenure Arrangements of SIFC0

2003 RMRA (Red Mountain Residents’ Association) and EACT (Elliot/Anderson/Christian/Trozzo Watershed Association) initiate a partnership with the Village of Slocan to apply for a Community Forest License (SIFCo, 2018).

2003-2006  the core of Slocan Integrated Forestry Co-operative (SIFCo) is formed by four member groups: the Village of Slocan, EACT, RMRA, and the Winlaw Watershed Committee (WWC) and information is shared with the Ministry to gain support and ensure that their community would stand out from the other villages who had submitted letters of interest. Support was shown in 2004 during community meetings and letters of endorsement were produced by local businesses, government agencies, organizations and individuals (SIFCo, 2018).

2005 proposal submitted that included an overview of the Community Forestry, the proposed organizational structure, business and management strategies, maps, and copies of all our letters of support from the community. An invitation was sent in response from the Ministry to apply for the CFA in the Slocan Valley (SIFCo, 2018).

2006 more community meetings were held and support increases. A second invitation to apply was received at this time that allowed a doubling of the landbase for the CFA. Negotioations were finalised regarding the size of the landbase with BCTS and Canfor/ Springer Creek Forest Products (SIFCo, 2018).

2007 the phase #1 application, that included the Springer Creek Forest Products portion of the land was sent to MOF and later that year phase #2 (the BCTS portion) was submitted. Both of these phases of application were accepted in principle on that same year (SIFCo, 2018).

2007 the Final Management Plan was submitted (SIFCo, 2018).

2008 a Probationary Community Forest Agreement (PCFA) was awarded (SIFCo, 2018).

2008 a Forest Stewardship Plan was submitted (SIFCo, 2018).

2009 Forest Stewardship Plan was approved (SIFCo, 2018).

2011 25-year Community Forest Agreement (CFA) signed with the Province of British-Columbia (SIFCo, 2018).

2018 the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) grants SIFCo One million dollars to continue their Strategic Wildfire Protection Plan. (“Grant for SIFCo’s Wildfire Protection Plan”, 2018).

General Policy for Community Forest Agreements in B.C.

Jurisdiction

The Community Forest License holder has exclusive rights within the designated area of the license.

Resource rights

The resource rights can be applied for by a First Nation, municipality, regional district or society and may be awarded by the province through a competitive process or a direct award for operations on private or reserve land. The Annual Allowable Cut will be specified for the area included in the Community Forest License. The rights may also include right to harvest, manage, and charge fees for botanical forest products and other products. May be competitively or directly awarded.

Duration

The duration of Community Forest Licenses that are granted range from 25 - 99 years and are replaceable every 10 years.

Major responsibilities of License Holders

The responsibilities of the Community Forest License Holders include the strategic and operational planning of the area including the preparation of a management plan and the stewardship plan that is specific to the unique forest of the bioregion. Inventories of the License are required to be maintained and reforestation must be completed. Stumpage payments are due and are calculated based on the timber volumes, species and grades that have been harvested and reported (British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, 2012).

SIFCo Administrative Arrangements

Organizational Model

SIFCo is a co-operative that consists of the four founding member groups as well as individual memberships.

 a. Foundational Member groups:

  •  RMRA (Red Mountain Residents’ Association)
  • EACT (Elliot/Anderson/Christian/Trozzo Watershed Association)
  •  Village of Slocan
  • Winlaw Watershed Committee (WWC)

b. Individual Membership requirements:

  •  $30 membership fee
  •  19 years old
  • Principle residence or a registered landholder in the specified local catchment area of Slocan Valley for a minimum of six months prior to the date of your application for membership in the Co-operative.  

Management Structure

a. Management Team

  • Manager & Founding Director: Stephan Martineu,
  • Supervisor: Tom Bradley
  • President: Lisa Farr
  • Erik Leslie
  • Communications and Marketing Assistant: Rachael Bone          

b. Board of Directors

c. Field Crew

d. Individual Members

Co-operative Profit Sharing

Any surplus funds of the Co-operative will be put back into the local area that will amount to at least 30% and to a maximum of 70% of the realised profit. This money will go toward ecosystem restoration, ecosystem studies, water distribution works and fire prevention works within the Slocan Valley. Community infrastructure, projects and economic diversification in the Slocan Valley will also be enhanced when profit is realised by at least 30% to a maximum of 70% of SIFCo profits (SIFCo, 2018).

Affected Stakeholders

1.SIFCo

Objectives

The mission statement of The Slocan Integral Forestry Cooperative (SIFCo) states their commitment to run a community forest that is a fiscally responsible business that promotes both the health of the community and the ecosystem. The Slocan community forest declares they will meet this mission by:  "developing a balanced land use policy that maintains a healthy, functioning ecosystem,  optimizing local economic benefits through forest management that maintains opportunities for diverse forest uses,   prioritizing local employment for all aspects of its operations,  ensuring inclusive and transparent public involvement,  developing partnerships and collaboration with local organizations and businesses, and  retaining profits within the community for ecological restoration, community infrastructure, and local social programs" (SIFCo, 2018).

Relative Power

The Community Forest License holder has exclusive resource rights within the designated area and terms of the license. These rights are time limited for the duration of the license that has been signed in 2011 for a designated period of 25 years.

                  2.Sinixt Nation

The Sinixt Nation whose traditional, ancestral and un-ceded territory are located in the Kootenays, have an unresolved land claim that was filed against the Federal and Provincial Crown under BC Supreme Court File No. 14324 in 2008. They have a history that is common to many Indigenous people of BC during the arrival of European settlers that brought new diseases that decimated their populations.The resulting industrial activities of the newcomers further dispossessed the Sinixt people by displacing them from their traditional territory.

Brief History of Sinixt Nation

1857-1861 International boundary line was surveyed between Canada and the United States dividing the Sinixt traditional territory. The people on the Canadian side moved to join their relatives in the Colville reservation in Washington State (Sinixt Nation, 2016).

1956 Canada declares Sinixt extinct and leaves no recognition for the surviving people within the Indian Act (Sinixt Nation, 2016).

1987 Ministry of Highways uncover skeletal remains and pit house depressions during construction of a new road at Vallican in the Slocan Valley. The village and burial grounds were studied and artifacts were sent to museums by no Sinixt descandents were contacted. Sinixt elder Eva Orr got involved and since 1989 a protest camp has been located in Vallican to protect the graves. The Sinixt people want Canada to revoke their extinct status and re-instate the Arrow Lakes Indian Reserve (Wonders, K., 2008).

2006 The Sinixt Nation Society is incorporated under BC laws. The society is created to help Sinixt carry out the legal and financial activities of the Sinixt Nation (Sinixt Nation, 2016).

2008 Sinixt Nation files a land claim to Sinixt territory against Federal and Provincial Crown under BC  Supreme Court File No. 14324 (Sinixt Nation, 2016).

2011 Blockade by Sinixt Nation on Perry Ridge Forest Service Rd. as Crown failed in their duty to   consult the Nation before they issued the timber sale license to Kaslo Sunshine Logging. The Sinixt case for unrecognized rights and land claims as a First Nation is still before court as they seek to lift their “extinct” status (Schafer, Timothy, 2010). Relative Power

The Sinixt Nation continue to pursue their unrecognized rights and land claims in the courts in an effort to regain their unceded traditional and ancestral territory.

Interested Stakeholders

1.    Environmental Groups

An example of an important environmental group in the area is Slocan River Streamkeepers who perform water quality monitoring in the region. This group produced the Slocan River and Area Water Quality Monitoring Report 2005-2012 (Shaw, V., 2013) which included data collected from Winlaw creek, within the SIFCo CF watershed. This creek was monitored since 2006 with data collected in 2006 and in 2010 before the program was suspended. The assessment found that the water quality of Winlaw Creek to be generally similar to the reference condition used in the study. The stream temperature analysis of the streams within the area showed a range of thermal conditions across the region and highlighted Winlaw Creek as having unique temperature values. The report recommends increased monitoring to include year-round measurements to provide more analysis to understand this difference in Winlaw Creek temperatures to the other creeks in the area.

2.     Recreation users

Recreation opportunities abound in the Slocan Valley and include; hiking, camping, mountain biking, boating, skiing, snowshoeing etc, (Slocan Valley Economic Development Commission (2018).

3.      Businesses

The many businesses in the Slocan Valley include; accommodation, food and restaurants, entertainment, outdoor adventure, health, art, agriculture, service industries and trades and many more (Slocan Valley Economic Development Commission (2018).

4.      Residents

The Slocan Valley community is structured by the 3 municipalities that make up the north region that include: New Denver, Silverton and the Village of Slocan as well as approximately eighteen other unincorporated communities that make up the Regional District of Central Kootenay (Slocan Valley Economic Development Commission (2018).


Discussion

Goals of SIFCo

 The goals that have been stated by the Slocan Integrated Forestry Co-operative are to achieve resilience at a bioregional scale through the practice of Integral Forestry to promote human benefits that have been achieved while working within the limits of the ecosystem to maintain it’s status as a fully functional ecosystem. Their Management Plans include 5 detailed treatment types to manage fuel build-up between the wildland and urban interface to provide landscape level wildfire protection planning. Invasive plant control is also a specified goal of their management plan.

Indicators of Success

A report produced in 2018  from the British Columbia Community Forest Association highlights the success of  the Slocan Integral Forestry Co-operative Community Forest in their proactive wildfire management. This report looks at a multitude of indicators of success that are held within the 58 distinct Community Forest Agreement (CFA) holders (British Columbia Community Forest Association, 2018).

Challenges to Community Forestry In BC

Some of the goals that were created by the government to include First Nations communities in the co-management of Community Forestry were to improve the environmental health of the managed forests and continue to make sustainability a part of the management plans. The legitimate involvement of First Nations was to provide employment with “living wage” provisions that would promote positive economic growth for resource communities that need it. The need to improve on issues of equity for Indigenous people is the foundation for all of the additional goals of Community Forestry to promote effective co-management. (Williams, B., 2018).

Some challenges to the implementation of effective local participation to Community Forestry in BC is that the effort to sustain meaningful engagement takes a lot of time to function properly and this process is not facilitated effectively by the government. The clash of values with conventional forestry practices requires more effort in education in the alternative methods that are being utilised or recommended.  The economic security to the Community Forest Organizations is lacking and the burden of accountability for these start-ups may be cumbersome to effective longevity. The lack of opportunities available for the diversification of forest products and NTFP restricts the scope of potential for the CF’s (Furness, E. et al, 2015).

Recommendations

Policy changes are needed to provide more effective support from government agencies to assist in promoting successful businesses models that create a diversity of forestry jobs. The objectives of Community Forestry that include environmental stewardship and Indigenous engagement don’t represent a business as usual model and shouldn’t be expected to perform within the same standards that have been set for large companies that have based their operations on intensive extraction methods (Furness, E. et al, 2015). Only 47% of the provincial CFA’s are effectively including or are run exclusively by First Nations. More effort should be made to prioritise Indigenous engagement in the remaining 54% of Community Forest License Holders in order to meet the goals of sustainable social and ecological management set out by the province (British Columbia Community Forest Association 2018).


References

British Columbia Community Forest Association (2018) Community Forest Indicators 2018, Measuring The Benefits of Community Forestry. doi: bccfa/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/BCCFA-Indicators-2018-Sept-12-web.pdf

Furness, E., Harshaw, H., Nelson, H. (2015) Community Forestry in British Columbia: Policy Progression and Public Participation, Forest Policy and Economics, 58, 85-91. doi:org.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/10.1016/j.forpol.2014.12.005.

Main, L. (2006, September 27). Slocan Valley Community Forest Update. The Valley Voice, p. 1, Volume 15, Number 19. Retrieved from http://www.valleyvoice.ca/_pdf/060927.pdf

Million Dollar Grant for SIFCo’s Wildfire Protection Plan. (2018, May 3). The Valley Voice, p. 8. Retrieved from http://www.valleyvoice.ca/_PDF_2016/ValleyVoice180503web.pdf

Schafer, Timothy (2010, Nov. 15). Sinixt Nation logging protest camp down, but group still seeks aboriginal rights: Sinixt Nation logging protest camp comes down.  The Nelson Daily. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/login?url=https://search-proquest com.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/docview/800221334?accountid=14656

Shaw, V. (2013) Slocan River and Area Water Quality Monitoring Report 2005–2013. A Columbia Basin Water Quality Monitoring Project. Retrieved from http://cbwq.ca/wp-content/uploads/fileaway-uploads/files-reports/project-reports/slocan-river-streamkeepers/2005-2013-Slocan-Riverand-Area-Water-Quality-Report-Slocan-River-Streamkeepers.pdf

Sinixt Nation (2016). Keeping the Lakes Way. Retrieved from http://sinixtnation.org/

Slocan Integral Community Forest Co-operative (2018). Healthy Forests - Healthy Communities. Retrieved from https://www.sifco.ca/.

Slocan Valley Economic Development Commission (2018). Slocan Valley Directory. Retrieved from https://slocanvalley.com/valley-directory/

Vernon,C. (2007) A Political Ecology of British Columbia's Community Forests, Capitalism Nature Socialism. 18:4, 54-74, doi: 10.1080/10455750701705088

Williams, B. (2018). Restoring Forestry in BC, The Story of the Industry’s Decline and the Case for Regional Management. doi: https://www.policyalternatives.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/publications/BC%20Office/2018/01/CCPA-BC_RestoringForestry_web.pdf

Wonders, K. (2008). First Nations Land Rights and Environmentalism in British Columbia. Retrieved from http://www.firstnations.de/invasion/sinixt-vallican.htm



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