Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, Canada, has seen numerous changes in terms of forest management over the last three centuries (Kennedy et al. 2018, pg. 1). This case study investigates the implementation of First Nations values in the context of industrial forestry through the creation of Haida owned Taan Forest Products Ltd. on Haida Gwaii. The purpose of the study is to highlight the main socio-political changes that have recently occurred on Haida Gwaii and to analyze the current power dynamics associated with the implementation of collaborative forest management through the creation of the Haida Gwaii Management Council. Forest management on Haida Gwaii is very complex due to the vast number of stakeholders and land use agreements. The recommendations of the study include more collaboration between stakeholders, determination of the area required for the proposed community forest as well as the implementation of a third party to oversee the Haida Gwaii Management Council.
The location for this case study is on Haida Gwaii, an archipelago of islands located off the coast of northwestern British Columbia, Canada. It is the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Haida people. Haida oral history and archaeological records laying claim to Haida Gwaii date back more than 10,000 years (Takeda, et. al., 2010, pg. 180). The Haida have a history of engaging in traditional forms of forestry, but more recent industrial forestry has led to protests and demonstrations by both environmental and indigenous groups. The stand at Athlii Gwaii in 1985 in protest to logging of old growth forest led to the creation of Gwaii Haanas and a movement towards formal recognition of Haida rights and title by the federal and provincial governments (Salomons, 2018). The Supreme Court decision in the Haida vs. British Columbia (Ministry of Forests) case in 2004 established the need for the provincial government to consult with First Nations and that the duty to consult was commensurate on the strength of land claim. Since 2004, control of forest resources has changed dramatically. In 2012 the timber harvest land base was reduced by 23% with a 48% reduction in the annual allowable cut (Haida Gwaii Management Council, 2013, pg. 12). Tenure owned by large forest corporations with economic ties to other parts of the province shifted to the Haida owned and operated Taan Forest Ltd.
The protests and court decisions have accompanied a transition to a more collaborative planning process on Haida Gwaii. In 2003, the Council of the Haida Nation and the Province of British Columbia conducted a community-based strategic-level land use planning process. This process was guided by the Haida Land Use Vision which was based on the Haida principle of Yah’guudang (respect) (Tlall Management Plan, 2011, pg. 5). This culminated in the signing of a Strategic Land Use Agreement in 2007 which protected significant areas and outlined forest management objectives for cultural, aquatic, biodiversity and wildlife values on Haida Gwaii (Haida Gwaii Management Council, 2017, pg.1) In 2009, the Kunst’aa Guu-Kunstaayah Reconciliation Protocol was signed between the province of British Columbia and the Haida Nation. In signing the agreement both parties agreed to share joint decision-making power and resource revenue (Kunst’aa Guu-Kunstaayah Reconciliation Protocol, 2009). The protocol resulted in the formation the Haida Gwaii Management Council; a joint decision making body composed of both Haida and provincial government members.
The forests on Haida Gwaii support the local economy through providing timber to the forest industry as well as non-timber products to the local and indigenous communities. The islands are very remote which contribute to a high cost of living and doing business (Haida Gwaii Management Council, 2013, pg. 6). It is also faced with a declining young and working age population combined with a relatively unskilled workforce (Haida Gwaii Management Council, 2013, pg. 11). As a result there is increasing pressure to find off-island contractors and consultants to meet skilled labour shortages (Haida Gwaii Management Council, 2013, pg. 11). Forestry on Haida Gwaii is faced with high operating costs due to barging logs and managing waste and residue from industrial operations (Haida Gwaii Management Council, 2013, pg. 14). Despite this, Haida Gwaii has a number of advantages in its forestry sector due to a high quality wood supply, a well-known brand (strengthened by the implementation of the Haida Gwaii Land Use Plan and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification), a world class tourism destination, attractive communities, good services and affordable housing (Haida Gwaii Management Council, 2013, pg. 8). In addition it has a number of potential opportunities to commercialize non-timber forest products including mushrooms, venison, salal, conifer oils, plants and berries (Haida Gwaii Management Council, 2013, pg. 27).
There are various different types of forest tenure encompassing the area of Haida Gwaii, each of which present diverse views of management on the landscape. Tenures are obligated by law to adhere to the regulations stated in the Haida Gwaii Land Use Objectives Order (Haida Gwaii Management Council, 2019, pg. 1). The two main tenure types on Haida Gwaii are area-based and volume-based licenses (Council of the Haida Nation, 2016, pg. 1). Private land on Haida Gwaii includes approximately 10,000+ hectares of forest owned by Island Timberlands and managed on behalf of the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCIMC) under the Private Managed Forest Lands Act (Council of the Haida Nation, 2016, pg. 2), and therefore, is not regulated by the Haida Gwaii Land Use Objectives Orders. Private landowners also calculate their own annual allowable cut (AAC). BCIMC is an asset management company that manages public pension funds (Council of the Haida Nation, 2016, pg. 2). The current AAC for this private land is 90,000m3/year and has remained the same since 2012.
Of the area-based tenures in Haida Gwaii, there are four existing woodlot licenses that together account for less than 1% of the AAC. These tenures are long-term (20 year) replaceable area-based licenses located outside of Tree Farm License (TFL) area (Council of the Haida Nation, 2016, pg. 2). Community Forest Agreements are another type of long-term (25 year) replaceable area-based tenure (Council of the Haida Nation, 2016, pg. 1). The Province of BC allocated a volume of 80,000m3/year for a Community Forest in 2013, but the area has not yet been designated (Council of the Haida Nation, 2016, pg. 1).
A Tree Farm Licence is a long-term (25 year) area-based renewable tenure that grants exclusive rights to harvest timber with increased management responsibilities compared to other tenure types (Province of BC, 2019, pg. 1). These responsibilities include reforestation, forest inventory, operational planning, 5-year management planning, recreation, cultural heritage, and infrastructure (roads, bridges, etc.). Currently there are two TFLs on Haida Gwaii, TFL 60 and TFL 58 (Council of the Haida Nation, 2016, pg. 1). TFL 58 makes up approximately 8% of the AAC and is operated by Teal Jones Group. TFL 60 contributes to 37% of the AAC (340,000m3/yr) and is operated by Taan Forest Products (Council of the Haida Nation, 2016, pg. 1).
The three types of volume-based tenure in Haida Gwaii are Forest Licence (FL), Forest Licence to Cut (FLTC), and Timber Sale Licenses (TSL). TSLs are short term, non-replaceable, volume-based, and are included in the timber supply area (TSA) (Council of the Haida Nation, 2016, pg. 2). TSLs are typically harvest blocks put up to auction by British Columbia Timber Sales (BCTS), and thus provide timber harvest opportunities to local companies such as O’Brien and Fuerst Logging on Haida Gwaii (Council of the Haida Nation, 2016, pg. 2). Issues have arisen in the media pertaining to TSLs on Haida Gwaii because some local residents do not believe the provincial government should have the right to designate these forests for timber harvesting (Vancouver Sun, 2012, pg. 1). Local companies are often caught in the crossfire as they have the legal rights to harvest the block, however social pressures are being placed on them to conserve that area of forest.
Forest Licenses (FL) are renewable volume-based, long-term (20 years) tenures. Forest Licenses do not have legally defined areas, instead they have a set amount of volume to harvest within the Timber Supply Area (Council of the Haida Nation, 2016, pg. 2). Currently, three forest licenses exist on Haida Gwaii, the largest is held by Husby Forest Products and Dawson Harbour Logging Co. Ltd and the two companies’ together account for over 10 times the size of the other FL held by Teal Jones Group (Council of the Haida Nation, 2016, pg. 2). Forest Licenses are responsible for all phases of logging, from planning to reforestation. In comparison, the Forest License to Cut (FLTC) are non-replaceable short-term licenses that are also volume-based. Only one major FLTC exists in Haida Gwaii, and is managed by Taan Forest Products (Council of the Haida Nation, 2016). The agreement arose from the Islands Spirit Rising in 2005 (Takeda, 2015), and resulted in the decision for Haida Nation to manage 120,000m3 per year. This tenure is extremely unique as it is managed as area-based, and may be transferred into a First Nation’s Woodland License (FNWL).
Taan Forest Products is a subsidiary of the Haida Enterprise Corporation (HAICO), therefore their mandate has been to manage and harvest timber in a sustainable manner that incorporates the values of the Xaayda Haida citizens. These values include protection of cedar, salmon, black bear, plants, birds, and beaches (Taan Forest, 2019). Taan Forest manages 340,000m3 annually under TFL 60 and 120,000m3 annually under their Forest License to Cut (A87661), making them the largest Forest Management certificate holder under the Forest Stewardship Council in coastal British Columbia (Council of Haida Nation, 2016, pg. 9). Taan Forest has 17 employees of their own, 12 of which live on Haida Gwaii, and they contract 30 local companies which generate 117 full time local jobs (Council of Haida Nation, 2016, pg. 9). Prior to the implementation of the Haida Gwaii Land Use Objectives Order and Taan Forest Products Ltd. the allowable harvest limit was widely acknowledged as unsustainable (Taan Forest, 2019). The AAC has been greatly reduced since 2010, and Taan Forest continues to manage the delicate balance of economy and conservation in Haida Gwaii forests (Taan Forest, 2019).
Land-use management directives that guide the operations of Taan Forest Ltd. are administered through the Haida Gwaii Management Council (HGMC). The HGMC is composed of two Haida members and two provincial government members. It has the power to determine the Annual Allowable Cut (AAC) as well as to amend the Land Use Objectives Order (LUOO) (Haida Gwaii Management Council, 2018, pg. 3). Legal directives that allow the Management council to set the AAC are through the Haida Stewardship Law (Council of the Haida Nation) and the Haida Gwaii Reconciliation Act (Province of British Columbia) (Council of the Haida Nation, 2016, pg. 10). Determining the AAC includes determining what areas are logged as well as other values including cultural values (Council of the Haida Nation, 2016, pg.10). The Haida Stewardship Law (CHN) and the Land Act (Province of British Columbia) give the management council the ability to amend the LUOO (Council of Haida, 2016, pg. 11). In the 2017-2018 fiscal year the HGMC was equally funded by the Haida Nation and the Province of British Columbia (Haida Gwaii Management Council, 2018, pg. 3). The HGMC can also serve as an advocacy group. In 2018, the HGMC met with the provincial Chief Forester to advocate for a formal, legal partition for cedar on Haida Gwaii (Haida Gwaii Management Council, 2018, pg. 1).
Taan Forest Ltd’s operations are guided by the Haida Nation’s Land Use Order, the RainForest Alliance, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and the Reconciliation Protocol. It is owned by the Council of the Haida Nation (CHN) through its parent company, the Haida Enterprise Corporation (Council of the Haida Nation, 2016, pg. 9). However, the CHN is not involved in the day to day operations of Taan Forest Ltd (Council of the Haida Nation, 2016, pg. 9). The Haida Gwaii Land Use Objectives Order provides legal objectives for forest based values (HGMC, 2017, pg. 1). The RainForest Alliance is an international organization which helped to create the Forest Stewardship Council to certify forests as sustainably managed. The FSC is a third party forest certification body with standards set by Environmental, Economic and Social (including Aboriginal) chambers (Council of the Haida Nation, 2016, pg. 9). The FSC is supported by First Nations and environmental groups worldwide, and includes independent audits and annual reviews of forest lands being managed to ensure environmental and social sustainability of forest products for customers (Council of the Haida Nation, 2016, pg. 9). In addition, the Reconciliation Protocol Agreement ensures local communities benefit economically from the natural resources on Haida Gwaii.
The Haida People
The Council of the Haida Nation (CHN) represents the values and interests of the Haida people. The Haida have a long term interest in the future of the forests and people on Haida Gwaii. Haida culture is connected to the land with the principle of Yah’guudang (respect) guiding forest management. An example of how these values are being implemented by the CHN include advocating for the retention of a portion of the fire origin cedar stands to become monumental cedar trees for the future (Haida Gwaii Management Council, 2013, pg. 17). It is difficult to understand the relative power of the Council of the Haida Nation to other stakeholders on Haida Gwaii. However, since half of the HGMC is composed of Haida, Haida values and interests are able to have a significant influence over the decision for the AAC and setting cultural and ecological objectives. In addition, recent resolutions from the House of Assembly may provide some indication of their power in the context of the forest industry. In 2015, the Haida House of Assembly passed a resolution stopping all logging on private lands around Yakoun Lake (Council of The Haida Nation, 2016, pg. 5). This resulted in the licensee Island Timberlands agreeing to stop all operations in the area (Council of The Haida Nation, 2016, pg. 5). Long-term management of the area is being negotiated between the council, Island Timberlands and the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCIMC) which represents BC Pension Funds. From this it might be concluded that the decisions of the Haida Nation hold power within the context of the forest industry.
Taan Forest Ltd
Taan Forest Ltd. is owned and operated by the Haida Nation. It has no operations outside of Haida Gwaii and no long term commitments to any off island mills (Haida Gwaii Management Council, 2013, pg. 6). Its mandate is to ensure Haida values are honoured, and sustainably managed with cultural and natural habitats protected (Taan Forest, 2019). It is held to account by its local community through its shareholders - the Haida people. In addition, its local power is evident through the social license provided by its shareholders as well as being the largest tenure holder on Haida Gwaii. However, the AAC and legal objectives for Haida Gwaii are determined by the Haida Gwaii Management Council with only half of the council composed of Haida representatives. Moreover, in addition to adhering to Haida law, Taan Forest Ltd. must also adhere to provincial law which is created by the Province of British Columbia.
Other Tenure Holders
Other tenure holders include BCTS, Teal Jones, and Husby Forest Products. Decisions made by the Provincial government and the Haida Nation through the Haida Management Council influence the operations of these stakeholders. Amendments made to the Land Use Order Objectives to further protect Haida values can have significant economic impacts on these licensees and their future in the forest industry.
Teal Jones & Other Local Businesses
The Teal Jones Group can trace their companies involvement in the British Columbia Forest Industry to the 1860s (Teal Jones, 2019). The company prides themselves as being the largest privately held forest products company operating on the West Coast of Canada (Teal Jones, 2019). Teal Jones is certified through The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Group Sustainable Forest Management System (SFM) (CSASFM, 2019) for meeting a strict set of biological, environmental and social criteria set forth by the independent 3rd party. They are also the only major company that controls their own logging, milling and finishing over a variety of tree species (Teal Jones, 2019) and they work alongside more than 1000 employees.
Over the past few years, Teal-Jones has seen drastic changes in terms of timber supply in Haida Gwaii. In 2004, the government took back 20 percent of the major licensees cut, which resulted in a fibre shortage for the company’s mills. The reduced timber has also resulted in layoffs and decreased job positions (Maria Church, 2017, pg. 1). The lack of fibre supply affects more than just Teal-Jones, but creates economic uncertainty for all small businesses operating in Haida Gwaii. Local businesses and sawmills have an interest in retaining local manufacturing and employment, which includes addressing the issue of a lack of long-term availability of high quality logs (Haida Gwaii Management Council, 2013, pg. 26). In addition, private local businesses rely on a stable wood supply to provide secure job positions for their workers. These stakeholders do not hold much power to persuade decisions, and therefore rely on the support of the local community to continue their operations throughout Haida Gwaii.
Private Landowners (Island Timberlands, British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCIMC))
The Private Landowners on Haida Gwaii are also governed by the Haida Gwaii Management Council (Council of The Haida Nation, 2016, pg. 5). This is evident in the example discussed earlier involving Yakoun Lake, where the Haida House of Assembly was able to stop all logging on private lands around the lake (Council of The Haida Nation, 2016, pg. 5). This is very interesting as private land tends to be treated differently in other parts of British Columbia, however, Haida Gwaii has incredibly strong Indigenous ancestral claims to the land that is emphasized in their power of authority.
Husby Forest Products and Dawson Harbour Logging Co. Ltd
In 2009, the Haida Nation and the Province of BC started the process of reconciliation by agreeing to manage forests cooperatively (Haida Nation, 2017, pg. 7). In 2012 it was decided to drop the Annual Allowable Cut (AAC) from 1,780,092m3 to 929,000m3 per year. The AAC is determined by the Haida Gwaii Management Council, consisting of a chair and two Haida and two provincial representatives (Haida Nation, 2017, pg. 7), and therefore licensees do not have any input in the decision. In a report by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations records showed that Husby was targeting red cedar (65% of its cut), and as of October they had logged seven years’ worth of allocated cedar within a four-year period (Haida Nation, 2017, pg. 7).
President of the Haida Nation wrote a letter to the Minister of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations Honourable Steve Thomson on November 14, 2016 that demonstrated Husby’s rate of cut was unsustainable for that area even in the short term (Haida Nation, 2017, pg. 9). When Husby failed to reduce their cedar harvest, the Haida Nation responded by refusing to approve Husby’s cutting permits. On May 19, 2016 provincial legislation passed a bill to change the “soft partition” to a legally binding partition that would grant the Chief Forester the power to ensure sustainable harvest rates and to not over-harvest cedar (Haida Nation, 2017, pg. 9). However, this ceiling on cedar harvest is technically not legally binding. BCTS has also exceeded their set ceiling between 2013 and 2015.
British Columbia Timber Sales
British Columbia Timber Sales (BCTS) manages approximately 20 percent of the province’s AAC, generating economic revenue for the people of BC through an auction system (Province of BC website, 2019). BCTS directly supports close to 8,000 jobs across BC, and operates in 33 communities (Province of BC website, 2019). The purpose of the auction system is to determine the market value of timber harvested on crown land in BC, and provide harvest opportunities to small local businesses (Province of BC website, 2019). In terms of logging in Haida Gwaii, there appears to be a disconnect between government and the Haida Management Council, resulting in tension between the parties. On one hand, the Haida Management Council does not agree with some of the areas that the provincial government has decided to develop and auction to local businesses. However; without stable timber supply extensive layoffs are inevitable.
The Mayor of the Village of Port Clements wrote a letter on behalf of the residents of Port Clements in regards to the conflict between BCTS and the Council of the Haida Nation (CHN) (Urs Thomas, 2017, pg. 1). In this letter Mayor Thomas discussed the issue surrounding an unstable timber supply, and a very obvious lack of collaboration between the province and Haida Nation. He also voiced the need for a Community Forest Agreement that could potentially provide another means of local employment and benefit to the community. In the end, it becomes apparent that the ultimate decision comes down to the province and the Council of the Haida Nation, which emphasizes the problem with having two opposing bodies attempt to agree on terms.
In 2018, the BC Supreme Court granted Husby Forest Products permission to continue harvesting 50 hectares of old-growth forest on Haida Gwaii, rejecting an injunction filed by the archipelago’s First Nation to immediately halt logging in contested areas (The Star Vancouver, 2018, pg. 1). Justice Weatherill considered harms to both the Haida Nation if logging were to continue, and harms to Husby Forest Products should the work be stopped. The Haida Nation alleged that Husby had over-logged its allowed limit on Haida Gwaii, which the company admits because the limit is not legally enforceable until an order is signed by BC’s Minister of Forests (The Star Vancouver, 2018, pg. 1). The Haida Nation protested that this area was the last economically available area to harvest cedar and warned of long-term impacts to availability of cedar. Meanwhile, to halt logging would have significant impacts on Husby’s finances as field survey work and road building had already been commenced. The Council of the Haida Nation had apparently known for years of Husby’s intention to log the area, and Husby had all necessary legal permits to log the area (The Star Vancouver, 2018, pg. 1). It should also be noted that the Haida Nation planned to file another lawsuit to determine if the logging permits for this area should have been granted at all; however, Husby has no intention to stop logging which means all of the trees would be gone by the time the case is heard in court.
This lawsuit emphasizes where the power lies when it comes to compliance of legal frameworks. Husby operated within their tenure rights, however, the Haida Nation did not agree with the permitting in the first place. It quickly becomes apparent that although there has been significant changes in forest management on Haida Gwaii, many conflicts remain unresolved. This is mainly due to particular policy issues, where you have two big decision makers, The Haida Management Council and the provincial government, with two very different bias yet both are responsible for making decisions collaboratively. The BC Supreme Court appears to have the most power over the public lands on Haida Gwaii, however, The Haida Management Council does have the power to bring forth issues using the judicial system.
The Federal government does not appear to have major authoritative power in our particular case study. Due to unsettled land claims of the Indigenous peoples, there continues to be numerous stakeholders sharing the forest on Haida Gwaii. However, this may change in the future as the Tsilhqot’in Court Case of 2014 has challenged Aboriginal title to the land through the granting of land claim to the Tsilhqot’in people (UBC Faculty of Law, 2014, pg. 1). Due to unsettled land claims of the Indigenous peoples, there continues to be numerous stakeholders sharing the forest on Haida Gwaii. Many people believe that the Tsilhqot’in Nation Land Claim Decision has opened the door for granting land claims elsewhere in British Columbia.
The purpose of this case study was to assess the Implementation of First Nations values in the context of industrial forestry by the Haida on Haida Gwaii through Taan Forest Ltd. The company is committed to Haida cultural and spiritual values. This includes adhering to the principle of Yuh’guudang which is to treat everything with respect. Taan Forest Ltd. operates within a unique forestry context with the Haida Gwaii Management Council (HGMC) dictating its AAC and legal requirements for cultural and ecological values. Its control of an area based tenure rather than volume based offers some stability ensuring that the same landbase can be sustainably managed without outside intervention. In addition, the reduced AAC gives Taan Forest Ltd. more ability to manage for ecological objectives. Ecological objectives are guided by adherence to FSC requirements and the Land Use Order Objectives. However, there are still significant challenges created by economic drivers and geographical context that limit Taan Forest Ltd. mandate.
Cedar trees which have significant cultural and social values to the Haida people on Haida Gwaii have historically been over harvested. Some of the traditional uses of cedar by the Haida include poles, canoes, and buildings (Haida Gwaii Management Council, 2013, pg. 16). The management of cedar on the island has led to over harvesting and has resulted in less old-growth cedar that is of lower volume and lower grade than in years past (Haida Gwaii Management Council, 2013, pg. 15). In addition, because of high-value and low logging costs fire-origin second-growth which contain significant proportions of cedar poles have been disproportionately targeted for harvesting by both BCTS and Taan Forest Ltd. (Haida Gwaii Management Council, 2013, pg. 17). However, monitoring by the CHN and the Province found that Taan Forest Ltd. (TFL60) harvested well below the maximum amount of cedar suggested for harvesting by the Chief Forester in response to declining cedar on Haida Gwaii (Council of Haida, 2016, pg. 18). Only one of the other licensees located on Haida Gwaii did not exceed suggested harvesting threshold for cedar, and this was Teal-Jones in TFL58 (Council of Haida, 2016, pg. 18). Balancing the tradeoff between economic and ecological values creates challenges for Taan Forest Ltd within the context of industrial forestry.
Taan Forestry Ltd. operates in a challenging economic climate and has a social mandate to create well-paying jobs to the Haida people while protecting Haida values. Due to its remote location it focuses on specialty products to capitalize on its unique brand and high end-wood materials (Coast Funds, 2016). Taan supports local manufacturing through making high quality logs more available to local sawmills (Haida Gwaii Management Council, 2013, pg. 26). In addition, it is involved in joint ventures with the Skidegate Band Council, the Old Massett Village Council and Abfam Enterprises to create value added local manufacturing of cedar products (Haida Gwaii Management Council, 2013, pg. 26). The logo for its products is the Haida black bear which contributes pride to the Haida culture (Coast Funds, 2016). To protect important cultural features Taan trains all of its foresters to identify cultural features in the Land Use Order and works closely with the Haida Nation’s Heritage and Natural Resource Department staff (Coast Funds, 2016). To address shortfalls in skilled labourers it works with the Council of the Haida Nation to provide local training (Coast Funds, 2016). Moreover, operations are kept running despite market changes to support stability in the local communities.
Taan Forestry FSC Certification is significant in the context of industrial forestry. FSC auditing provides an indication of how well the company is complying with its ecological, economic and social obligations to its shareholders (the Haida), the community, and the forest from a non-stakeholder perspective. The company is assessed based on principles including Indigenous peoples rights including ownership, use and management of land, territories and resources affected by management activities (FSC, 2015, pg. 12). The company’s engagement with its community, its economic viability, adherence to environmental values, as well as adopting a precautionary approach to conservation values are also assessed (FSC, 2015, pg. 13-18). Monitoring of the implementation of the values of the LUOO are also conducted by the Haida Nation. The CHN runs the Cultural Feature Identification (CFI) program which trains, certifies and audits surveyors to survey each new development area (Council of Haida Nation, 2016, pg. 11). The CHN Heritage and Natural Resource Department audits all forest development areas and can suspend surveyor’s certification if not up to CHN standards. (Council of Haida Nation, 2016, pg. 11).
There are inherent challenges in the collaborative planning process with differing power dynamics within the affected stakeholder groups. Moreover, identifying key players and considering the needs of both affected and interested stakeholders can become very challenging. In developing a forest strategy for Haida Gwaii, the HGMC identified the challenge of not having a single “voice” for the collective interest of Haida Gwaii (Haida Gwaii Management Council, 2013, pg. 4). This case study is not able to capture the voices of the Haida people that extend beyond those represented by the Council of the Haida. However, during the auditing process by the FSC, engagement with local communities and Indigenous peoples is required in order to become FSC certified. This may provide some indication of the nature of relationship between Taan Forest Ltd, the Council of the Haida and the Haida people. In addition to influencing the Haida Gwaii Management Council and Taan Forest Ltd., engagement with the Haida is also important for other stakeholders. For example the Teal Jones Group is certified under the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) Chain of Custody certification program. The PEFC is a third party certification program that also complies with all the International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions including ILO 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples as well as the UN Declaration on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights (PEFC, website, 2019). Involvement in these certification programs help to provide social license to these companies while devolving decision making power through collaboration with affected stakeholders.
Part of the success of the Haida can be attributed to a shared vision. The Haida Nation benefits from having a cohesive voice through the Council of the Haida Nation. While it is likely that the council does not represent all the views of the Haida people it is evident that it is effective in providing leadership relative to other political and economic powers. Significant decision making power resides with both the Haida and the Province through the Haida Gwaii Management Council. Haida values apply to all licensees through the Haida Gwaii Land Use Order. Through the Haida Gwaii Management Council the BC Provincial government and the Haida control what types of decisions can be made at the operational planning level for Taan Forest Ltd. They are still restricted by the requirements of the Tree Farm Licence Tenure as well as an AAC determined at least in part by the provincial government. It should be noted that TFL60 held by Taan Forest Ltd. makes up 340,000m3/yr, and all of this volume was redistributed following the Island Uprising in 2005 from other tenure holders within Haida Gwaii.
In terms of forest management, Taan Forest Ltd. has become a great example of ensuring sustainable forest stewardship on Haida Gwaii, while meeting the goals and values of the Haida people. It is important to understand the implications of a reduced AAC and redistribution of tenure on other companies working in the area. Harvesting of timber on Haida Gwaii has been ongoing for 100 years, yet communities still do not share in the benefits of the revenue generated from the extraction of resources. In a news article from BC Local News (2017, pg. 1) a local highlights the lack of sidewalks currently in Port Clements, and very little development such as recreation centers. Locally, the people have not benefited from logging in the past. With smaller timber supply coming out of the forests, this has been difficult to keep local sawmills running, leading to a major loss of jobs. Taan Forest and Husby are doing all they can to reduce milling costs to keep logs local, but it is extremely hard to compete both in the domestic and international market due to economy of scale.
Some recommendations for the future include sharing experience between stakeholders, determining an area for the community forest, and the creation of a third party to oversee discussion within the Haida Gwaii Management Council. There is a need to consider the implications of lowering timber harvest for other companies operating in the area. Although they are only interested stakeholders, many of these small-businesses have built a livelihood in Haida Gwaii over generations have established connections to the land. For this reason there should be an alternate way to integrate Taan Forest Ltd. with other companies in the area to have more skilled, experienced workers in the profession, collaborating together. Determining an area for the community forest agreement could address community needs. A community forest could generate some jobs and revenue for the local communities. However, the amount of timber harvested in a community forest is not enough to ensure there will not be any mill shutdowns in the near future. A community forest is a great opportunity to create community involvement in forest management, while providing real benefits to its citizens. It is also difficult to make long-term decisions about the land-base with two opposing voices within the Haida Gwaii Management Council (BC government and the Haida people) and no third party, objective group to mediate discussions. Therefore, another recommendation would be to implement a third party group to contribute an unbiased professional opinion to monitor this power dynamic.
Taan Forest Ltd. is an example of how Haida values on Haida Gwaii can be implemented within the context of industrial forestry. However, it is important that all licensees and tenure holders work together to make this vision a shared reality. More collaboration between licensees could mean more ability to address the challenges that Taan Forestry Ltd. has within the context of industrial forestry on Haida Gwaii. We have found this case study to be extremely interesting in terms of the implementation of Indigenous values in modern day forestry with the creation of Taan Forest. The BC Government, alongside the Haida Management Council, continues to work towards a strong future where sustainable forest harvesting occurs, and the locals benefit from their resources. Collaborative forest management on Haida Gwaii has come a long way in a short period of time, and will continue to evolve as timber shortages become the new normal and emphasis is being placed on manufacturers to create value added products locally. The context of our study emphasizes the complexity of industrial forestry by Indigenous groups on crown land in British Columbia, Canada.
This conservation resource was created by Waurner Adema and Nicole Stamer as part of the CONS370 course.
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