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Creating new value from forests

Innovation, Indigenous partnerships fostering sustainability

August 19, 2023  By Domenico Iannidinardo

Photo: Annex Business Media.

Innovation and partnerships are vital for the future of forestry. At Mosaic Forest Management, so much of what we do in our operations across Coastal B.C. is driven by innovation and partnerships. 

Last year, we launched the innovative BigCoast Forest Climate Initiative – the largest of its kind in Canada. We deferred timber harvesting for at least 25 years on nearly 40,000 hectares of private land – an area over three times the size of Vancouver set aside. These lands contribute to the broader regional ecosystem, home to bears, elk, salmon, orca, and more.

Some people may ask how can a forest company be in the business of not cutting down trees? Simple: it’s about seeing the other values that can be harvested from the forest. The increased carbon storage and avoidance of 20 million tonnes of GHG emissions through the deferral are independently verified and packaged and then sold to global markets as carbon credits. These credits are certified by the Verified Carbon Standard, the world’s most widely used and rigorous voluntary carbon program. 

The deferral is for a minimum quarter century, and we’re only at the beginning. Learning as we move forward is critical, which is why part of the proceeds from BigCoast Forest are going to local partners, the Pacific Salmon Foundation and the Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCA) Innovation Program. This investment will support scientific and First Nations cultural research on and around the project lands and helps the initiative evolve and grow.


Eli Enns, the knowledge co-leader of the IPCA Innovation Program and an expert in Indigenous-led conservation, told me about the opportunity that will come from BigCoast Forest related to how original ecosystems can guide climate adaptation and build more resilient communities. The goal is to work with the environment, now and into the future, thanks to retaining old forests as an intact, diverse ecosystem. It’s an approach that has the potential to stretch beyond carbon credits. Eli told me about a unique approach to housing. The T’Sou’ke Nation on Vancouver Island, with funding from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, has already spent a couple of years looking at what housing would look like in an IPCA context. One idea is an eco-village associated with the BigCoast Forest protected areas to support sustainable livelihood programs, and jobs created by restoring ecosystems.

The importance of learning from the land was something Chief Gordon Planes of the T’Sou-ke Nation, another IPCA member, explained to me recently. He suggested thinking about the forest by thinking about a cedar tree and what will happen in 25 years. Those trees are important because of the teachings members of his First Nation will hand down. Young children today will know that if they need to build a canoe in the future, the opportunity will be there. He said the next 25 years of the project will be about looking at the health of the old forests and their diversity, then comparing that to the health of second and third growth. Those comparisons will help the IPCA Innovation Program and Mosaic understand more about how water quality, air quality, and wildlife function together in the territory.

The project may be new and innovative, but Mosaic’s commitment to sustainability and partnerships remains steadfast over the decades. More than 20 years ago, we were Canada’s first forestry company to be certified under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), and earlier this year received the SFI Leadership in Conservation Award for working to mitigate climate change and advancing SFI’s climate smart forestry objective. We were the first forest company globally to achieve certification of its land base by the Carbon Trust, and B.C.’s first forestry company to achieve Progressive Aboriginal Relations certification from the Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business.

We’re not going to stop. And the next few years and the next 25 will be exciting times for what BigCoast Forest and the partnerships with the IPCA Innovation Program and the Pacific Salmon Foundation can deliver for a more sustainable future.

Domenico Iannidinardo leads forestry operations, forest and watershed health, government and public affairs, climate and carbon credit sales, Indigenous investments and partnerships for Mosaic as senior VP, forest and climate, and chief forester. 

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