Ben Mantel’s photo ‘Spawning Salmon’ was the Wild Salmon category winner for the 2019 SkeenaWild Film & Photo Festival. Recently the regional conservation non-profit released it’s “Opportunities for Sustainable Forestry in Northwest British Columbia” report as a component of a larger Responsible Development Initiative (RDI) within the region. (SkeenaWild Photo)

Indigenous-led land use, reducing annual cut amounts among recommendations from conservation group

SkeenaWild’s report looks at how northwest B.C. can sustainably develop its forestry sector

Supporting Indigenous-led land use planning initiatives and reducing B.C.’s Annual Allowable Cut levels to more sustainable figures are just two recommendations coming out of a recent report prepared by a regional conservation non-profit.

Recently SkeenaWild released it’s “Opportunities for Sustainable Forestry in Northwest British Columbia” report as a component of a larger Responsible Development Initiative (RDI) within the region.

The report looks at the current status of the northwestern B.C. forestry sector and many unique challenges facing the industry’s business model, including overharvesting of high-value timber and a need to plan for future impacts of climate change within the region.

It also provides nineteen suggestions aimed towards ensuring the long-term sustainability of the region’s resources.

READ MORE: Salmon face serious issues with climate change

This includes systemic changes such as integrating salmon habitat assessments into the decision-making process for the forestry industry, creating additional old growth management areas within the region and supporting Indigenous-led land use planning initiatives.

It also includes preventative measures such as a reduction in slash burning, planting more trees and a number of initiatives aimed at preventing wildfire.

The non-profit said the report is meant to encourage dialogue and bridge the gap between those who support industrial development and those who have concerns about the potential social, environmental and lifestyle impacts of large-scale development within the region.

“With well-researched information, planning, engaged communities, and a long view, resource development decisions which reflect community values are well within reach,” the Feb. 26 press release reads.

SkeenaWild said they are hopeful the report and subsequent ones released as part of the RDI will encourage useful conversations between northwest BC residents about economic development in their communities.

For an online video summarizing the report or to read it in full, you can head to http://skeenawild.org/issues/forestry/.

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