Haida Nation and Communities Collaborate for Community Forest

The Haida Nation is supporting the socioeconomic well-being of its citizens and protecting important ecosystems on Haida Gwaii through their nation-owned forestry company, Taan Forest and aims to secure tenure of a community forest in 2019. Photo courtesy Taan Forest.

The Council of the Haida Nation (CHN) and communities on Haida Gwaii have worked collaboratively for many years to manage a community forest based on shared principles of stewardship and community benefits and aim to have the forest’s tenure allocated in the coming year.

In 2013, the Province allocated 80,000 cubic metres for a community forest that had to be harvested in partnership with BC Timber Sales (BCTS). CHN leadership and Haida Gwaii communities have not accepted the offer, stating that it does not maximize local control, jobs, sustainable management, access to timber for local sawmills, and revenues that the public wants to see invested in Haida Gwaii.

A crew from Taan Forest undertakes a riparian restoration initiative on Haida Gwaii. Photo courtesy Taan Forest.

CHN and Haida Gwaii community leadership intend to jointly meet with Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development to advise that the proposed 80,000 cubic metre tenure should be offered to the Council of the Haida Nation. A legal partnership between civic and Haida communities will manage the community forest for the benefit of all Haida Gwaii residents.

The Nation’s forestry company, Taan Forest, is a prime example of how benefits from forestry can and should be returned to local communities.

About half Taan’s staff are Haida, which Taan actively recruits and trains. This is part of Taan’s ‘island-driven’ model to hiring. “Haida Gwaii is such a close-knit community, that our focus is really on training locals — both Haida members and non-Haida members,” says Taan Manager, Richard Jones in a 2016 story from Coast Funds. “When we keep employment local, everybody here benefits.”

Haida Gwaii is such a close-knit community, that our focus is really on training locals.

CHN is keen that the community forest volume be allocated in 2019. “We want the community forest to ensure all communities of Haida Gwaii benefit from investment through sustainable forest management,” says Ginn wadluu un uula isdaa ayaagang Trevor Russ, Vice President of CHN.

The Nation issued a media release at the end of April 2019 stating its intention that the tenure would be issued in 2019. Read the full release here.

Learn about how the Nation is protecting  Haida values through sustainable forestry in the Taan Forest story published in 2016.