An Overview Of Our Solution
- Population Impacted
- Continent: North America
201-2666 Queensway Street
At least 1100 hectares over the next 5 years.
Local resources the community depends on, and for what purpose
Local threats to resources
Level of sensitivity
Level of adaptive capacity
The economy of British Columbia is highly dependent on its natural resources. COAC?s program was designed, not to reduce the dependence on the ecosystem per se, but to make better, more sustainable use of these resources and increase the communities capacity to adapt to the changes and challenges brought by a changing climate. The Forestry Carbon project of COAC captures the additional funds provided by private sector organizations who want to offset their carbon footprint. These ?Carbon? funds make the reforestation and improved forestry management practices economically feasible, where in the absence of these funds, these lands were historically left untreated, which means that trees would slowly die and deteriorate, enhancing the risk of forest fires, decreasing the quality of land, and becoming net emitters of Carbon Dioxide. Now, through COAC?s Forestry Carbon project, lands which were net emitters become carbon sinks, wood that was left to rot in the dying forest becomes economically feasible to utilize, and both the communities that rely on these resources and the environment benefit from our program. Our program will provide ?Diversified or alternative livelihoods? by creating hundreds of jobs through our planting and silviculture efforts. Even more, by making economically feasible the access to wood that otherwise would have been left to rot in the forest, we are creating further opportunities in new alternative markets that are being generated for wood products. A market that is being thoroughly researched by COAC and its partners is the utilization of the dead pine beetle wood for the generation of bioenergy (pellets and other products). COAC will improve the management of hazard risks by increasing the health of our forests. Trough replanting more diversified species, we will be generating healthier, more resilient forests which will do better in the face of a changing climate and epidemics such as the pine beetle. At the same time, by reducing the risk of new pine beetle epidemics we will be reducing the number of dead trees in the future, therefore decreasing the risk of Wildfires in BC?s forests.
Economic Indicators used to measure benefit
- Measurements of currently affected land. - Models and measurements of increased biomass due to the planting and improved forestry management practices established in the project lands.
Community/Social Indicators used to measure benefit
- The only cost we are aware of is the economic investment of private sector companies which want to invest in our Forestry Carbon program.
- Increased biomass supply. - Generation of revenue from previously unutilized biomass. - Generation and sell of Carbon Offsets.
Ecological Indicators used to measure benefit
- Hectares of forests replanted. (At least 1100 over the next 5 years as part of the pilot project of the program). - Carbon Dioxide sequestered from the atmosphere and Carbon Offsets generated.
What were/are the challenges your community faced in implementing this solution?
Skepticism about Carbon offsets and the Carbon economy as a real solution to address climate change. Lack of understanding across the communities of the central interior of British Columbia about the connection between climate change and the devastating damage done by the mountain pine beetle epidemic. The area were COAC is located in (Prince George and the central interior of BC) has strong cultural barriers around wanting to take action against climate change by reducing individuals? own footprint. This cultural barrier derives from a lack in understanding of how climate change works as well as a mindset and culture that sees the land as a source of natural resources more than as an environment with its own intrinsic value. COAC has to slowly break through this mindset and help in the progression of a substantial paradigm shift. The biggest risk to this solution?s continued success is partial reliance on a healthy and growing carbon market. The carbon market has been showing a growing tendency, especially the voluntary carbon market. But with more jurisdiction establishing mandatory GHG regulations (e.g. Cap-and-Trade in China, California, and Quebec; Carbon Tax in British Columbia) the mandatory/regulated Carbon market has the potential of increasing significantly in the upcoming years. This will generate a higher demand for Carbon Offsets and a large number of investors in COACs Forestry Carbon project.
Describe the community-based process used to develop the solution including tools and processes used
The Ministry of Forestry of British Columbia has developed many socio-economic, ecological and threat/vulnerability assessments. These assessments showed how millions of hectares of forest land have been affected by Mountain Pine Beetle, and how this increases the risk for forest fires and reduces the supply of timber in the province, affecting thousands of families which rely on these resource for their sustenance. COAC?s recognizes that First Nations communities (the aboriginal people of British Columbia) are amongst the groups who have been impacted the most by the aforementioned hazards. Their livelihoods are highly related to the health of the lands and forests that have been their homes for thousands of years. It is because of this that COAC has decided to employ First Nations for their silviculture efforts whenever it?s possible. In order to provide a comprehensive solution to our current forestry issues, COAC is bringing together all its expertise in community and collaboration approaches to land and natural resources management. COAC has partnered with the Province of British Columbia to do re-planting and improved forestry management on public (crown) lands; it has partnered with Trees Canada, in order to collaborate, share resources, and mutually learn, with an organization with over 20 years of experience planting trees with the aid of private funds; and at last, we are partnering with organizations from the private sector, who are striving to be more socially and ecologically responsible and offset their own carbon footprint and increase the quality of our forests through COAC?s forestry carbon project. Our first investor was ?Revolution Films?, which agreed on planting a tree for each person who watched their Climate Change oriented movie ?Revolution? in Canada during Earth Day 2013. With Revolution Films we planted 10,300 trees. Also, COAC through its mother organization (the Central Interior Logging Association) is leading the charge by chairing the Northern Bioenergy Partnership. Through this partnership, COAC is looking for alternative uses for the pine beetle affected wood currently standing in our forests. Climate Change is a problem that won?t be resolved easily. Many scientists believe that this will be humanities biggest challenge throughout the 21st century. So as long as this problem persists, COAC will keep on working on replanting and managing BC?s and Canadian forests in order to regenerate them and make them healthier.
Climate hazard of concern
How does your solution reduce the exposure of and buffer/protect the ecosystem affected?
Eighty percent of the pine beetle stands in the central interior of British Columbia have been affected by Mountain Pine Beetle, and between 15,000 to 330,000 hectares are affected by Forest Fires every year (over the last ten years). The risk of Forest Fires have been increasing in the province, not only because of the hotter and drier summers, but because of the increase in the amount of dead wood standing in our forests, which catches fire more easily than live stands. Logging the dead wood and replanting these forests with a more bio diverse selection of trees that is appropriate to each bioregion will help reduce the risks that climate change has progressively increased over the last 50 years.
How has your solution increased the capacity of the ecosystem to adapt to potential climate changes?
Through our project we will be planting approximately 2000 trees per hectare. But we will be doing this knowing that after 20-25 years we will be thinning this number to about 1100 trees per hectare. We will be doing this to allow the stronger trees to grow without competition. This management practice is not common, since, as we mentioned before, trees are only managed for 15 to 20 years after being planted. We will be selecting for growth the trees that naturally are doing better and that are naturally adapting better to a changing climate. This way our forests will be more adequate for the climate of the future.
How does your solution reduce the exposure of and buffer/protect the communities affected?
By replacing dead tree stands with healthy trees, COAC will be reducing the risk of forest fires in the region. Forest Fires not only destroy the forests and wildlife habitat, but can also be a threat to towns and cities in its path, and the smoke generated by big forest fires can become a health risk for the population of nearby communities.
How does your solution reduce the sensitivity of the communities affected?
As previously mentioned, the communities of the central interior of the province are highly reliant on the forests for their economic sustenance. Even more, the forests are part of the identity of the province and are valued for much more that their economic value. Our program provides many job opportunities by dealing with forest land that otherwise would have been left dying, unproductive, and being a net carbon emitter. There are jobs to be created in different stages, including: logging, hauling, planting, silviculture, carbon offset generation and sell of carbon offsets, as well as promotion of a green economy and the bioenergy sector of BC.
How has your solution increased the capacity of local communities to adapt to potential climate changes?
Our program will generate both stronger, more resilient ecosystems as well as a more diversified sustainable economy on which our communities will be able to rely for decades to come.
Can this solution be replicated elsewhere?
Our project is the first of its kind in Canada as it is the first forestry carbon project that utilizes private funds to plant trees on public land. The project could be replicated in other countries to the extent that there are public lands available for planting.