North Island Community Forest

Consulting forester Ione Brown has been living in Port Hardy since 1999, and has been involved in the North Island Community Forest since the beginning as one of its founding board members. In 2010, the Minister of Forests offered a small forest tenure to the three North Island communities: the village of Port Alice, the town of Port McNeill, and the district of Port Hardy. The resulting Community Forest Limited Partnership (NICFLP) split nearly 2,400 hectares of forests into three separate areas, to be shared amongst the three communities. The forest features a combination of old-growth and regenerated forests, and contains a wide range of indigenous tree species such as Western Red Cedar, Amabilis Fir, Western Hemlock, Douglas Fir, Sitka Spruce, and Red Alder among others.

Local Forests, Local Benefits

“Forest tenures like the North Island Community Forest come with many local benefits,” says Brown.  “It gives communities a chance to participate in the management of Crown land, effectively becoming land stewards tasked with the management of local forest resources in a sustainable way. Local municipalities are the main stakeholders, and they alone decide how the revenues generated from the forest are distributed.”

She also highlights the importance of the community forest for the local economy. “Another long-reaching goal of the agreement is to create employment opportunities at a local level. Engineering infrastructure, harvesting, processing, and forest restoration are just some of the many local employment opportunities available.”

Brown is optimistic about the future of the North Island forestry sector. “I think the forestry industry has improved vastly over the last 25 years that I’ve been involved,” says Brown. “I think the practices are to the point where we have a sustainable forest sector and I think the industry will be here for a very long time.”