British Columbia Unveils New Timber Strategy that Will Boost Indigenous Engagement in Forestry

The British Columbia provincial government is promising to boost Indigenous engagement in forestry as it sets out on the largest series of policy updates for the sector since the early 2000’s. According to the strategy plan unveiled on Tuesday (6-1-21). there would be a near doubling in the amount of replaceable forest tenure held by Indigenous nations from the current levels of 10%. B.C. Premier John Horgan said during a media briefing, “It’s absolutely vital we do not repeat the colonial activities of the past and dictate to First Nations what they do in their territories.” Speaking at the same media briefing, John French, chief of the Takla First Nation, said that the plan would ensure Indigenous peoples in B.C. would remain active decision-makers in the management of forests. “It is an important step in ensuring that we First Nations people take a rightful place as partners in the forestry sector,” he said. A specific timeline for deploying the province’s plan has not been set, however, updates are expected throughout the summer and fall. The province’s plan is based on three guiding principles: increased sector participation, enhanced stewardship and sustainability, and an enhanced social contract to give government more control over management of the sector.

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