Ecosystem-based Management Plan
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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 (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 manager within this area.
- The BC Government has 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 less than 2.0 ha in size.
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