The Cheakamus Community Forest (CCF) in beautiful Sea-to-Sky country is enjoyed by millions of locals, British Columbians and international visitors each year. Originally logged under tenure to the major logging companies, in 2009, harvest rights on these crown lands were handed over to the community via a Community Forest Agreement. The 32,000 ha community forest is a partnership between the Resort Municipality of Whistler, the Lil’wat First Nation and Squamish First Nation.
Recognizing the desire to manage forest better than “business as usual”, the CCF partnered with Brinkman and Ecotrust Canada to design an offset project that allows the community forest to implement Ecosystem-Based Management plan, reducing annual harvest by 50%, while remaining a source of sustainable livelihoods in the region. Without the successful sale of offsets, the CCF would not be able to afford the halving of revenue and more expensive EBM logging practices – leading to the forest tenure reverting back to the Province.
Improved Forest Management Carbon Offsets
All major carbon standards around the world include tools for building forest carbon offsets. British Columbia’s Emission Offsets Regulation creates a particularly effective pathway for generating offsets through Improved Forest Management (IFM). By improving the way that harvest and resource management happen on the landscape, we can keep extra carbon sequestered for the long term.
The Cheakamus project implemented IFM within the license based on the following four key management goals, described in its Ecosystem Based Management plan:
· Increased representation of old and mature forests within the tenure area, maintenance of a full range of stand structures and ages, species, and ecosystems.
· Enhanced logging prescriptions which preserve older structural components within logged blocks;
· Maintenance of older forests within specified high ecological value areas, such as riparian areas;
· Enhancement of habitat for red and blue listed species.
Brinkman and Ecotrust worked together to develop the offset documentation needed to turn these actions into offsets, achieving Validation of the Project Plan August 2014, and Verification of the first offsets in 2015. Brinkman Climate is working with governments, NGOs and the private sector to find great buyers for these locally-grown, socially and environmentally beneficial, BC-standard offsets. By placing a value on the carbon stored in trees rather than released as CO2, the Cheakamus Community Forest Offset Project protects key environmental attributes while maintaining a sustainable harvest in the forest around Whistler, BC.