The Haida Gwaii Management Council (HGMC) is in the midst of a Timber Supply Review (TSR) in preparation for determining the Allowable Annual Cut (AAC) on Haida Gwaii later this year.
The Timber Supply Review examines the likely impact of current forest practices on an area’s timber supply, economy, environment, and social conditions. This information is then used to help determine the Allowable Annual Cut, which limits how much wood can be logged each year.
In 2012, under the authority of the KaayGuu Ga ga Kyah ts’as – Gin ‘inaas ‘laas ‘waadluwaan gud tl’a gud giidaa Haida Stewardship Law, and the provincial Haida Gwaii Reconciliation Act and Forest Act, the HGMC determined its first AAC for the Timber Harvesting Land Base (THLB) of Haida Gwaii. Up until 2012, the province’s Chief Forester had determined the AAC for the Islands, wherein a separate AAC determination was made for each Timber Supply Area (TSA) and Tree Farm Licence (TFL).
Chief Forester Diane Nicholls is employed by the Province of British Columbia.
As Chief Forester, she is responsible for determining the AACs for all Timber Supply
Areas (TSA)and Tree Farm Licences (TFL) across the province. On Haida Gwaii, the
Chief Forester is responsible for applying the HGMC’s AAC determination to TSA 25
and TFL 50 and 60. Nicholls joined the BC government in 2006 and has held the
position of Chief Forester since 2014.
Taking into account a commitment made in the 2007 Strategic Land Use Agreement (SLUA) to an AAC of no less than 800,000 cubic metres, the HGMC’s 2012 AAC determination reduced the amount of forest that could be logged on Haida Gwaii by 47.6 percent, from 1,772,616 cubic metres to 929,000 cubic metres.
The Haida Gwaii Reconciliation Act requires that the AAC be re-evaluated every 10 years, however, a review is beginning early for a number of reasons. Top among these are concerns about the current harvesting levels and species selection practices, particularly in regards to old ts’uu and sGaahlan Red and Yellow cedar. In addition, newly available Vegetation Resource Inventory (VRI) is being incorporated into the TSR to provide more accurate information about the composition of Haida Gwaii’s forests.
To work on the technical aspects of the review the HGMC has formed a Joint Technical Working Group comprised of members representing the Council of the Haida Nation and the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. This working group is responsible for reviewing and analyzing the vegetation data and presenting its findings to the HGMC. These findings will provide the HGMC with more accurate data on which to base the new AAC determination.
There have long been concerns about the level of harvest of old ts’uu and sGaahlan on Haida Gwaii. In 1993, recognizing that old ts’uu and sGaahlan was being depleted due to logging, the House of Assembly passed a resolution to develop policies to set aside stands of old ts’uu and sGaahlan from harvesting. Eight years later, the House of Assembly passed another resolution to develop a 1000-year plan for Haida Gwaii to ensure the long-term supply of ts’uu and sGaahlan for Haida cultural needs. The Strategic Land Use Agreement, signed by the CHN and province, includes a commitment to protect ts’uu and sGaahlan for current and future cultural use. This commitment has also been reflected in the Land Use Objectives Order (LUOO) by including provisions for Cedar Stewardship Areas (CSA), as well as protection for monumental ts’uu and sGaahlan and ensuring that ts’uu and sGaahlan stands are regenerated. CSAs are areas formally protected from commercial logging, where Haida can access ts’uu and sGaahlan for cultural purposes.
But, despite these initiatives, there continues to be a concern about ensuring that the commercial harvest level of ts’uu and sGaahlan in the THLB is not out of proportion to its contribution to the timber inventory. In 2012, recognizing that ts’uu and sGaahlan was being over harvested, the HGMC requested that the Chief Forester implement a partition. A partition limits what portion of the AAC can come from a specific type of timber. At that time, the Chief Forester chose to identify a ‘target’ for ts’uu and sGaahlan rather than a more formal partition. The target was set at 39 percent of the annual cut and companies were asked to stay within that limit. While this target was achieved in TFL 60 and 58, licensees operating in TSA 25 exceeded the target.
After an analysis of recent logging across Haida Gwaii determined the level of ts’uu and sGaahlan being cut in TSA 25 was above the 2012 target, and following a request by the HGMC, the Chief Forester made a decision in October 2017 to establish a partition for ts’uu and sGaahlan in TSA 25 and indicated that a ts’uu and sGaahlan management strategy should be developed for the TSA. •