BC First Nations to Play Vital Role in Forest Industry’s Success

British Columbia’s economy depends on an energetic and sustainable forestry sector. The BC forestry industry employs more than 43,000 people and makes up 29% of the province’s total commodity export value. Overall, the sector generates over $13 billion (CAD) in GDP annually. The importance of the BC forestry industry is crucial for the long-term sustainability and livelihood of many residents.

The BC forestry sector relies on the right balance of economic and environmental longevity. As the province starts to move away from traditional governance to one of reconciliation, BC First Nations will play a key role in the forest industry’s future.

All lands in BC fall within the traditional or territorial boundaries of one or more First Nations. According to BC’s Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations, of the approximately 48 million cubic meters of harvestable timber within the Crown forest tenure systems, First Nations, and communities, about 27 million is held by five companies, creating challenges for others to expand or acquire guaranteed long-term forest management tenure needed to warrant investment in equipment.

Potential legislation will allow the BC government to take some tenure back and redistribute it to First Nations and smaller companies. This is partly the result of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, passed into law in November 2019. It states that forests must be managed in a way that protects and enhances Indigenous people’s ability to exercise their rights and uphold cultural values. It also promises to significantly improve forestry revenue-sharing.

FEA compiles the Wood Markets News from various 3rd party sources to provide readers with the latest news impacting forest product markets. Opinions or views expressed in these articles do not necessarily represent those of FEA.