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New Indigenous-led planning process launched for TFL 44 on Vancouver Island


February 24, 2022
By C̕awak ʔqin Forestry

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Photo courtesy C̕awak ʔqin Forestry.

A new Indigenous-led approach to resource planning has launched on Vancouver Island that will be co-ordinated by C̕awak ʔqin Forestry Limited Partnership, formerly named TFL 44 LP.

C̕awak ʔqin Forestry will work with nations on whose traditional territories Tree Farm Licence (TFL) 44 is located to develop an Integrated Resource Management Plan (IRMP) for forest and ecosystem management. The TFL 44 IRMP will consider the present and future needs of the nations and ecosystems while bringing together the teachings of the nations’ ancestors, the wisdom of the nations’ elders and the input of the nations’ citizens and members.

The TFL 44 IRMP will use the latest data, science and technology to create a common vision and direction for government-to-government land and resource management decisions. The plan will inform provincially-legislated processes such as forest landscape plans, old-growth management and on-the-ground operational planning to ensure long-lasting socio-economic, environmental and cultural benefits across the area.

This new model of Indigenous-led decision making will cover all values, including fisheries, culture and climate change, and incorporate the research and advice of leading experts in forestry, fisheries and integrated resource management. The TFL 44 IRMP will complement, not replace, other IRMP processes underway in the region, and plan development will be supported in part by the BC Resource Stewardship Working Team – a group of leading members of B.C.’s scientific, professional and academic communities.

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“The TFL 44-wide IRMP is long overdue and is being done in a good way – with full respect for the decision-making role of nations on TFL 44,” said Robert J. Dennis Sr., Chief Councillor of Huu-ay-aht First Nations. “It is time for everyone, including expert panels in Victoria and old growth protestors, to show respect for the sovereignty of our nations and to respect our ability to unify and lead all members of society into a brighter future. Governments strike the balance needed in final decisions, not third parties. The land is our culture, and it is our stewardship decisions that count.”

“Forest companies have an important role to play in supporting and upholding Indigenous government forest and resource analysis and decision making,” said Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin, Derek Peters, director C̕awak ʔqin Forestry. “I am very pleased to see C̕awak ʔqin Forestry take a leadership role in showing British Columbians how important resource management planning work can be led by First Nations in a manner that respects Indigenous sovereignty.”

“For far too long, outsiders have decided what is best for our forests, fisheries, lands and waters. That time is over,” said Chief Jeff Jones, Pacheedaht First Nation. “We welcome the respect C̕awak ʔqin Forestry is showing our nation and look forward to guiding and participating in the TFL 44-wide IRMP as a government.”

“We are extremely pleased to be asked by the original stewards of the lands to participate in this important work,” said Dr. John Innes, UBC professor and forest renewal BC chair in forest management. “Drawing on leading experts from across the province, it is our goal to support Indigenous-led processes through expertise that supports integrated outcomes based on traditional knowledge and forestry, ecosystem and social sciences. Such approaches leverage new technologies and methodologies in which to measure and manage the important values inherent in B.C.’s forests while respecting the depth of knowledge held by Indigenous land managers.”

C̕awak ʔqin Forestry Limited Partnership (C̕awak ʔqin Forestry) operates TFL 44 and is a limited partnership between Huumiis Ventures Limited Partnership (wholly owned by Huu-ay-aht First Nations) and Western Forest Products Inc. TFL 44 covers roughly 137,000 hectares of land on west central Vancouver Island in the vicinity of Alberni Inlet and Great Central Lake.