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Giant Trees Still Falling Amid Delays in Financing Old Growth in BC Indigenous Peoples

British Columbia asked Indigenous Peoples if they wanted to cut their native forests off logging and give them time to make long-term plans for conservation and sustainable development. Proponents say they have not yet funded the process.

Meanwhile, some of the largest and oldest trees are being felled.

A few years before the BC government last November began the process of deferring logging in old-growth forests that are at risk of permanent loss of biodiversity, Ahousaht First Nation announced a land-use policy for its Vancouver Island territory. I had a vision.

Tyson Atreo, the genetic leader of the nation whose territories straddle the Crawwat Sound, a globally recognized biosphere reserve, said Ahsat decided how to balance environmental and economic performance. He said it was based on careful analysis.

Ahousaht completed most of the work without raising large public funds, he said. Instead, the state secures grants and support from organizations including Nature United, a charity for which Atreo serves as the Natural Climate Solutions Program Director.

“This is a long, hard job that is part of nation-building,” Atreo said.

“You have to have a vision, you need resources to have a vision, and you need to partner with crown governments, maybe corporations, and[support non-governmental organizations]to execute the vision. ) and have a vision for the future of the economy,” he said.

The neighboring Hesqite and Traochite countries were working on similar plans in the fall of 2020. At this time, the BC government issued an order to postpone logging on his 170,000-plus hectares of old-growth forest around Clawquat Sound. We will work with countries to establish permanently protected areas.

Ahousaht favored the postponement because the country “believes very strongly in preserving the old growth system…not only for the potential economic benefits of conservation, but also for ecological and cultural benefits.” Also,” Atleo added.

A year ago, British Columbia announced that an expert panel had mapped 2.6 million hectares of primary forest identified as “rare, endangered and irreplaceable”.

At the same time, the state asked 204 indigenous peoples to decide whether they support deferring logging in these areas for the first two years. and community resilience. ”

However, significant funding has yet to be announced to support the complex process of countries considering how to sustain old growth while developing alternative income streams and economic opportunities in line with stewardship goals. not.

Conservation comes with economic costs, says Atreo. This is especially true in communities dependent on forestry income. It needs to be combined with some kind of compensation or support for sustainable economic diversification, he said.

“Charities have stepped up offering stewardship funds in the case of (Cleioquot Sound) due to the high biodiversity in the area, but this is a model we should publicly consider. ‘ he said.

“Governments may not have a long-term vision, which to me means there is room for each country to step up and define what that vision is,” he added. rice field.

The Ministry of Forestry received responses from 75 indigenous peoples in support of the postponement across the 1.05 million hectares of endangered forest in the latest public information on deferred areas provided about eight months ago, and 60 of them received responses. Indigenous peoples demanded more time and expressed no support for the 7 plan.

Responding to requests for total square footage secured in the first year of the deferment process, the ministry said it was working towards updating it in the near future.

The area remains open to potential logging and applications for new logging permits, unless indigenous peoples express support for deferment on their territory.

About 9,300 hectares (23 times the size of Vancouver’s Stanley Park) on which the postponement was proposed were cleared last year, the ministry said.

The deferred area contains some of the largest and most ecologically important old-growth forests left in B.C., according to 2020, when the first before-and-after images of ancient trees caught the world’s attention. Photographer TJ Watt said:

Watt’s photo, taken from the Caycas Basin in southwest Vancouver Island, shows a giant tree and a stump after logging. Some were recorded months before they were identified as part of the postponement process.

About 15,000 hectares of the proposed deferment area had already been cleared in the year before last November’s announcement, the forestry ministry said.

In another area of ​​Keikyus, the logs were recorded months after the postponement process began, Watt said. Watt uses GPS to geotag photos and uses publicly available data and satellite imagery to determine the location and condition of the severed blocks.

State published mapping shows deforested blocks overlapping proposed old growth deferred areas in Caiquis and other areas throughout BC

The Caycuse Basin is on the territory of the Ditidaht First Nation.

Brian Tate, DitiDart’s chief councilor, reached out by phone and said he had a full schedule and could not comment on the clearing of old growth on the country’s territory.

Forestry company Teal-Jones, which holds the rights to the logging blocks in the Caycuse basin, said in a statement that it is not logging in the postponed areas.

By asking British Columbia to choose between generating forest income for Indigenous Peoples and suspending logging without compensation or support for sustainable economic and ecological development, Watt said he wanted to support Indigenous peoples. said he felt he was being put in an unfair position.

Watt, a National Geographic explorer and funded by the Royal Canadian Geographic Society, said conservation funding was a key factor in enabling the large-scale conservation of primary forest in the Great Bear Rainforest. says.

That could mean developing ecotourism or sustainable fisheries, or expanding indigenous guardian programs to support a range of land-based jobs.

“You can’t do this for free,” says Watt.

“‘We have robbed you for over a century. Now we are asking you to protect these forests, because this is an ecological emergency. It’s possible,” said Watt, who works with the Ancient Forest Alliance, a B.C.-based advocacy group.

The Department of Forestry said in an email that BC is currently working to establish a new conservation financing mechanism to support the protection of permanent old-age plants.

The BC government began sharing forest revenues with indigenous peoples in the early 2000s. The ministry said its share with eligible countries more than doubled his share last spring and is expected to increase by an estimated $63 million this year.

In response to a series of questions, the ministry said the increase would “more than offset” the short-term earnings impact resulting from the postponement of old growth.

The state said it had not received direct requests for compensation from indigenous peoples as a condition to support the temporary postponement.

BC has provided just under $12.7 million over three years to assist indigenous peoples through the deferral process.

At the time, Grand Chief Steward Philip of the Coalition of British Columbia Indian Chiefs said the funding was “entirely insufficient to do the work”.

The state’s 2022 budget has allocated $185 million over three years to support the forest industry, its workers, and indigenous peoples through postponement.

Watt pointed out that the federal government’s budget earlier this year established BC’s Old Growth Nature Fund, with up to $55.1 million over three years.

This funding will be available in 2022-2023, subject to conditions. The BC government must meet federal investment to establish the fund.

B.C.’s Department of Land, Water and Resources Management did not respond to questions about whether the province has plans to meet the Ottawa pledge.

Dallas Smith, a member of the Tlowitsis Nation on the east coast of Vancouver Island who helped negotiate the Great Bear Rainforest Conservation Agreement, said the lack of funding was a gap in the postponement process and BC has yet to communicate a clear plan to help the First. said no. Countries with long-term plans.

“Even if a country wanted more protection,[the state]didn’t have the capacity to sit down and deal with all those countries and actually do the planning process,” Smith said.

Brenna Owen, Canadian Press

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Giant Trees Still Falling Amid Delays in Financing Old Growth in BC Indigenous Peoples

Source link Giant Trees Still Falling Amid Delays in Financing Old Growth in BC Indigenous Peoples

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