What is Ecosystem Based Management?

In 2009, the Cheakamus Community Forest became one of the first projects of its kind in B.C. to employ an Ecosystem Based Management (EBM) plan. The plan was custom designed for the Cheakamus Community Forest (CCF) in consultation with Ecotrust Canada. A fundamental goal of the CCF is to maintain and protect ecological integrity and manage the land in accordance with the best current thinking for EBM, while achieving the harvest target, currently set at 20,000 m3 per year.

The outcome is a plan that meets the CCF’s land management goals and is congruent with both the Squamish and Lil’wat First Nations cultural values.

Adopting the new and innovative management system was done for two reasons: one, the CCF wanted to do something progressive that better reflects community values; and two, it is a commitment on the way toward achieving Forest Stewardship Council certification. Essentially, EBM acknowledges environments holistically, examining ecological systems in terms of geography, flora and fauna, economics and culture. It also incorporates the cultural values of both First Nations communities and Whistler. By using this integrated approach, Ecotrust Canada was able to develop a plan for the CCF that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.

The priorities of the three partners, the Resort Municipality of Whistler, the Lil’wat and Squamish First Nations, are addressed within a plan that addresses the CCF’s long-term goals for the forest. In 2010, the CCF contracted with Richmond Plywood to carry out forestry operations. This worker-owned company adheres to the Ecosystem Based Management plan in all its activities in the Cheakamus Community Forest.

Simply put, EBM is a system of checks and balances designed to ensure that forestry can become a sustainable 21st century industry.

Ecotrust Canada and the CCF continue to develop the EBM plan. The Province created the Whistler Landscape Unit in 2011 which is now the basis for land use planning in the area, including for the CCF.

EBM Plan FINAL March 2013

Ecosystem Based Management – What makes it a success?

Ecosystem-based management has long been cited as a solution to the combination of human activities on land, along the coasts, and in the ocean that are affecting marine ecosystems. What are the characteristics that make up a successful ecosystem-based management effort? An Ohio researcher recently set out to discover the answer to that question. Read the entire article at http://www.csc.noaa.gov/magazine/2011/06/article2.html

The top 10 characteristics of successful ecosystem-based management:

  • Public engagement
  • Strong leadership
  • Communication among stakeholders
  • Incentives for collaboration
  • Cross-boundary facilitators
  • Clear, measurable goals
  • Science-based decisions
  • Legislative mandates sometimes needed
  • Adaptive management
  • Sustainable funding

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