Ecosystem-Based Management Plan
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 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 21,000 m3 per year.
The outcome is a plan that meets the CCF’s land management goals and aligns with the Squamish and Lil’wat First Nations’ cultural values as well as the RMOW Official Community Plan.
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 laid the foundation for implementing the carbon program. Essentially, EBM treats 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.Ecosystem Based Management Plan
Ecosystem Based Management (EBM)
- In 2015, through an integrated management planning process including participation from AWARE, WORCA, commercial and public recreation groups, 3,841 ha of the largest contiguous parcels of forest were voluntarily protected with set objectives for its Conservation or Recreation priority. – View Harvesting Plans
- A further 9,865 ha of Old Forest has been legally protected as Old Growth Management Areas [OGMA] through government orders in the CCF. On a percentage basis, this is almost double the amount of old growth protected as compared to other management units in the Sea to Sky Natural Resource District.
- Within the CCF a total of 13,706 ha or 46% of the forested land is now considered protected across all forested ecosystems.
- Only 24% of the entire 33,018 ha CCF land base is available for practicing sustainable forestry.
- Approximately 78% of the forests within the 94,000 ha Whistler Landscape Unit (sub regional planning area that includes parts of Garibaldi Park and Callaghan Lake Park, as well as all of the CCF) are primary old growth and mature forests (63% and 15% respectively). The CCF is the only forest harvesting tenure holder within this area.
- The BC Government agreed to the reduction in annual harvest within the CCF so that the principles of Ecosystem Based Management could be applied to the forest. The portion of the forest that is not being harvested is used to generate carbon credits.
- Clear cutting is not used as a harvest method in the CCF. Rather the CCF harvests using its Ecosystem Based Management principles which allow sustainable harvesting at a small scale with openings ranging from 0.5 – 5 hectares in size, and 5-30% of the trees retained within each opening. For comparison, the area cleared for the Rainbow Subdivision is approximately 40 hectares. To date over 100 openings have been harvested since 2009 averaging about 2.0 ha in size.