British Columbia: Expanding tribal logging rights is for industry’s dream of one giant clearcut

Two years ago it was disclosed by Greenpeace that in the Congo sacks of sugar, grain and hand tools were all that it took for timber companies to purchase and destroy the forest lands owned by unique tribes. Too often this is the type of exploitation that our global civilization is built upon. And keeping this tradition alive in British Columbia is a new Roundtable Report of 29 recommendations by the timber industry and political leaders.

They wrote it exclusively to profit for themselves. Citizen’s rights to clean water and the importance of protecting ecosystem services has no relevance in this report. Nor for that matter is their any relevancy placed on the genuine engagement of the citizenry they were elected to serve. Most of all in the past 8 years industry and government have worked together to entirely dismantle nearly every administrative and regulative process that protected forests from misuse and abuse. So understand that the true intent of these 29 Recommendations is to further deepen this already enormous wounding against future generations.

Below is information about the Roundtable report

Further below is frontlines commentary

–Editor, Forest Policy Research

“All British Columbians benefit from a strong forest sector,” said
Forests and Range Minister Pat Bell. “And this report reminds us of
the tremendous forest-based opportunities that lie ahead. Bell says
the participants insisted on use of the word “we” as it will take
involvement of all involved in the industry to make it work
“Roundtable members are clear that no one entity can solve the
problems facing the forest sector, or position the industry for future
success. While it’s certain that government will continue to play a
leadership role and the report will help shape forest policy, the
recommendations are directed at all those involved in the forest
industry. We all need to act together to achieve the benefits a
vibrant forest industry can offer.”

Get full text; support writer, producer of the words:

And symbolically placed at the very end of the list are the Key
Reccomendations that tribes and media have latched onto:

25) We should create more long term, area-based forest tenures that
are of an economically viable size,and create legislation for a First
Nations forest tenure.

26) Revenue-sharing with First Nations should be proportional to the
value of timber harvested in their respective territories instead of
being calculated on a per capita basis.

27) We should encourage business and First Nations to become full
partners in forestry businesses, in particular in emerging areas of
opportunity including biofuels, bioenergy, carbon and reforestation.

28) We should strive to build capacity among First Nation governments,
First Nation forest corporations and First Nation forestry
institutions to achieve full participation in forest activities.

29) We should collaborate with First Nations to involve First Nations
youth in forest employment opportunities.

Frontlines analysis via Bcenvirowatch:

The irony is that despite these roundtable recommendations, there is
really not much that can be done to reverse the massive downturn due
to the global recession. There is a year’s supply of newly built
homes in the U.S. and a year’s supply of lumber sitting in U.S. lumber
yards, so it is no wonder mills are shut down and will stay shut for
years yet. Providing more timber to First Nations and giving companies
more control will do nothing until there is a demand for lumber.

I just heard yesterday that the local Adams Lake Band was awarded timber
years ago, but has yet to log it. Perhaps the best example of the
absurdity of this report is what has (and hasn’t) happened to the
Weyerhaeuser TFL just north of Kamloops. No one wants it and nothing
is happening there other than the plantations that were once the pride
of the company are now dead because of the Mtn. pine beetle that had
an easier time because these young forests were thinned and in some
cases, pruned for supposed faster growth.

And what do forest companies do when they actually own the land (as on Vancouver Island) – instead of managing the land intensively as this report intends they will do on public land, they plan to sell it off for condos and
subdivisions. The roundtable had no environmental members and only a few of us provided presentations, which no doubt were ignored. There are a few recommendations that make sense such as expanded the community forests, although even this plan is problematic, because often communities are asked to log in watersheds that should be protected. Hopefully, this corporate friendly and environmentally unfriendly plan will become an election issue this spring. The full report and all the recommendations can be found at:

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More info...March 10th, 2009 at 3:09 pm

VICTORIA — The British Columbia government is prepared to almost double the volume of timber-cutting rights for aboriginal communities as part of a plan to remake the province’s beleaguered forest sector.

The plan emerged from a $1-million report on the future of the forest industry, released in Victoria Monday.

Pat Bell, Minister of Forests, said the changes would make aboriginal governments “full partners” in the sector by giving them control, over time, of almost 20 per cent of the annual allowable cut in B.C.

Unlike the majority of contracts that currently grant harvesting rights to native bands, the new tenures will be large and long-term, he promised.

DeaneMarch 14th, 2009 at 4:27 pm

Carrier Sekani Tribal Council chief David Luggi says they are evaluating the proposal, which is outlined in a six-page discussion paper. He said he likes the concept of legislating aboriginal rights but it needs further scrutiny.

“I think it’s fair to ask for some time to review and evaluate and come up with a conclusion if the present proposal is going to work. If not, let’s go back to the table and see if we can rework it,” said Luggi.

The discussion paper calls for the province to enact legislation that includes recognition that aboriginal rights and title exist in B.C. throughout the territory of each indigenous nation without proving their claim. That has far-reaching implications as virtually all land in B.C. is claimed as traditional territory by First Nations.

The legislation is also meant to set out mechanisms for shared decision-making over land and resources, and revenue sharing. The six-page paper also calls for rebuilding indigenous nations — reducing the number of groups the Act deals with to about two dozen from more than 200 — and the creation of an Indigenous Nations Commission.

Luggi said, as an example, he has a concern over what revenue sharing will mean.
Project-by-project revenue sharing opportunities already exist, but he wants to know whether the the legislation will enable First Nations to share in a percentage of gaming revenues, for example.

Luggi also has questions around whether recommendations in the B.C. government’s roundtable on forestry — which called for long-term, area-based First Nations forest rights — will be included in the aboriginal rights legislation.

Luggi does not believe the tribal council and other First Nations will be able to conclude their evaluation before the provincial legislative session ends. The chance of that is “remote,” he said.

In a newsletter to its members, the CILA noted that B.C.’s resource sectors are increasingly apprehensive about how far the provincial government will go in acknowledging First Nations’ title and their right to share in land and resource management and revenue.

CILA general manager Roy Nagel said the legislation could have significant impacts on all resource industries and sectors, their suppliers and their employees in terms of access to the land base. It also could have the potential for increased costs, loss of productivity and loss of income and livelihood.

The province’s revenues — that fund social programs including health care and education — could also be impacted, Nagel told his members. “On something as far-reaching as making new laws to redefine the relationship with First Nations, there should be opportunities for all British Columbians, particularly resource-sector stakeholders, to participate in the process,” Nagel said.

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