Context & Purpose
During the summer of 2017, wildfire burned over 1.2 million hectares of land in British Columbia only, making it one of the most destructive wildfire season of the province history. As the Chilcotin Plateau is recovering from the largest wildfire ever recorded in BC (over 500,000 ha), communities and government officials are reassessing their approach to wildfire management and found inspiration in environmental management and stewardship programs implemented abroad.
In Australia, the creation of Aboriginal fire management programs (which use of early season traditional fire management to mitigate destructive late season fires) has produced positive results. Participants are able to generate income by managing their land-base (reducing carbon emissions and selling carbon credits to the government). In addition, conservation outcomes were observed as well as reductions in lifestyle diseases among Aboriginal participant (think diabetes, obesity and heart disease).
Could these fire management programs be applied to Canada and could GVS facilitate the implementation of a similar project on Tsilhqot'in Territory? That's the question Russell Myers Ross (elected Chief of the Yunesit'in Government) asked us during a workshop at UBC in 2014. Since that day, we have been in collaborating to make this great idea a reality.
The purpose of this project is to explore the application of traditional fire management to the Tsilhqot’in title lands and Dasiqox Tribal Park area, in central British Columbia, and to design and test a fire management carbon framework.
The Tsilhqot’in Nation has a history of managing their landscape with fire. With the first declaration of Aboriginal title, and asserted claims to the Dasiqox Tribal Park area, the Tsilhqot’in want to actively manage these areas for fire, which devastated much of the broader region in 2017. Generating revenue to prevent carbon emissions from devastating late season fires, estimated at many thousands of tonnes, could provide important income to Tsilhqot’in members and support conservation and restoration efforts on their lands.
For more information, please find attached a project 2-pager:
Revitalizing Traditional Fire Management in Tsilhqot'in Territory
PHASE 1: Evaluating the community's needs (November 2017)
In November 2017, workshops were conducted to measure support for this proposal and to identify decisive community actors among the Yunesit'in and Xeni Gwet'in Nations who can lead this project. Objectives and key milestones were developed with the stakeholders and set in motion the writing of a formal proposal.
PHASE 2: Build local understanding of Fire Management programs (March 2018)
This project will first engage Tsilhqot’in community in a series of workshops to build understanding of these fire management programs, and will include presentations from Australian practitioners who have developed and implemented these programs (February- May 2018)
PHASE 3: Develop a recognised carbon credit framework (September 2018)
The next phase is to develop a recognized carbon methodology, to measure carbon emissions and make carbon credits available for sale under the Vancouver Carbon Standard.
Phase 4: Design, Implement and evaluate a pilot study (April 2019)
With the guidance of both local knowledge keepers and worldwide renowned experts, GVS will facilitate the design of a pilot study. Key factors of the pilot study will involve the choice the fire management technic and tools, the type of terrain and areas, as well as governance and liability issues.
Phase 5: Implement Traditional Wildfire Management Program at commercial scales (september 2019)
If successful, the program would be designed and implemented at commercial scales on the territory, and the results would be evaluated.
PHASE 6: DOCUMENT THE PROJECT AND share with the broader public (DECEMBER 2019)
Finally, the results of the project will be shared with local stakeholders during information sessions and will be made available on GVS online platform.