Cheakamus Community Forest and B.C. sign carbon offset agreement
April 28, 2015
WHISTLER – The Cheakamus Community Forest near Whistler and the Province of British Columbia have signed an Atmospheric Benefits Sharing Agreement that enables the creation and sale of carbon offsets generated through improved forest management.
Community Forest Agreements are long-term, area-based tenures designed to encourage community involvement in the management of local forests for the benefit of the community. The Resort Municipality of Whistler, Squamish Nation and Lil’wat Nation are partners in the Cheakamus Community Forest and jointly manage it under the Cheakamus Community Forest Society, an independent not-for-profit organization.
The Cheakamus Community Forest implemented an Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) Plan, which includes techniques such as extended harvest rotations, reduced harvest volumes, expanded reserves, protection of old growth forests, and protection of important wildlife habitat with the goal of achieving an appropriate balance between timber harvesting, tourism, cultural values, recreation, wildlife and biodiversity.
Under the EBM plan and a new management plan, the approximately 33,000-hectare community forest allowable annual cut was set at 21,000 cubic metres per year instead of the 41,170 cubic metres per year that could have been harvested if the forest was managed under standard forest management practices.
Carbon emissions reductions were quantified with the B.C. Forest Carbon Offset Protocol, and verified to the B.C. emission offsets regulation. The Brinkman Group and Ecotrust Canada have managed the development of offsets from the project – critical to generating revenue that allows for the project activities to take place.
The Resort Municipality of Whistler plans to offset its annual carbon footprint by purchasing carbon offsets from the Cheakamus Community Forest project. In addition, offsets are being offered for sale to organizations in the Sea to Sky corridor and beyond. Discussions with a long-term buyer for the majority of offsets are well underway.
Jeff Fisher, chair, Cheakamus Community Forest –
“A lot of work has gone into this initiative. The sale of carbon offsets is a creative way for our community forest to generate income and place a value on our sustainable forestry practices which have resulted in a reduced harvest level, with considerable more emphasis on tourism, cultural values, recreational interests, wildlife and biodiversity.”
Jordan Sturdy, MLA, West Vancouver-Sea to Sky –
“This unique arrangement is in keeping with the values of the Sea-to-Sky. By enabling the creation and sale of carbon offsets, the Province is supporting the community forest in effectively contributing to the balance of tourism and forestry interests in the region.”
Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations –
“This innovative model works well for the Whistler corridor and shows how forestry and tourism can successfully co-exist.”
- Since 2004, government has signed over 50 community forest agreements with a total allowable annual cut of 1.3 million cubic metres of timber a year.
- Since 2011, government has signed five atmospheric benefits agreements for Crown forests.
- The Cheakamus Community Forest atmospheric benefit-sharing agreement is the first to be signed with a B.C. Community Forest.
Cheakamus Community Forest: www.cheakamuscommunityforest.com
Protocol for the Creation of Forest Carbon offsets in British Columbia: http://ow.ly/LmUTF
B.C. emission offsets regulation: http://ow.ly/LmUV4
Ministry of Forests, Lands and
Natural Resource Operations
Chair of the Board of Directors
Cheakamus Community Forest