Lheidli T’enneh awarded largest First Nations Woodland Licence to date
July 15, 2022 By BC Gov News
The Lheidli T’enneh First Nation will see greater forest stewardship benefits and exclusive harvesting rights to timber resources on the Nation’s territories through a First Nations Woodland Licence (FNWL) in a new forest tenure opportunity agreement, the largest such offer in British Columbia to date.
FNWL requires a management plan that can incorporate a First Nations’ asserted land- and resource-management interests, including protection of traditional-use practices and harvest and management of non-timber forest products.
The forest tenure opportunity agreement was negotiated at a government-to-government negotiation table established by the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation and the B.C. government in 2021. The table reflects shared commitments by both governments to work together respectfully and co-operatively in the spirit of ongoing reconciliation.
“The province has heard loud and clear that First Nations across B.C. want to play a larger role in the forest sector and in sustainable forest management. That’s why we are engaging in government-to-government dialogue that considers the inherent rights, diversity of interests and values of Indigenous communities,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests.
“[This] agreement is real progress toward meaningful reconciliation and meeting our commitment to create new opportunities for Indigenous Peoples by doubling the amount of replaceable forest tenure held by First Nations.”
The Lheidli T’enneh First Nation will have exclusive timber harvesting rights to an estimated 217,312 hectares within the Nation’s territories east of Prince George, on both the north and south sides of the Highway 16 corridor, which is known as FNWL N2E. Lheidli T’enneh First Nation’s management plan for the FNWL supports decision-making authority over planning, development, harvesting and cultural use of the timber resources and values within the area.
“This new forest tenure opportunity agreement with the government of B.C. provides greater economic and forest stewardship benefits to our Nation,” said Chief Dolleen Logan, Lheidli T’enneh First Nation. “Our new First Nations Woodland Licence will allow us to achieve greater economic certainty and the ability to act on our forest stewardship priorities, including supporting increased moose populations, which is a traditional food source for our members. We will continue to work with our local forest industry to achieve these objectives and we thank the B.C. government for believing in our vision and our ability to manage our forest resources.”
Increasing Indigenous involvement in decision-making leads to greater stability in the forest sector. It strengthens Indigenous communities and provides significant contributions to B.C.’s economy and sustainable forest-management objectives.
The existing FNWL N2E was originally awarded on Dec. 15, 2015, and is held by Lheidli T’enneh First Nation’s Tano T’enneh General Partner Corporation. The new agreement will expand N2E from a gross area of 11,000 hectares, which supports an allowable annual cut (AAC) of 25,000 cubic metres, to a new gross land base of approximately 217,312 hectares, supporting a new combined AAC of as much as 380,573 cubic metres. This will be the largest FNWL (by AAC) in the Province.
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