On Monday, June 17, UBC Forestry, 3GreenTree Consulting and the Coastal Douglas Fir Conservation Partnership presented some exciting new possibilities to the North Cowichan Forest Advisory Committee.
The presentation highlighted new ways to manage and maximize the value of our community forest using carbon credit offsets and scenario planning.
3Greentree Consulting showed how we could generate substantial revenue through carbon credits if we removed some sections of the Municipal Forest from the operable logging inventory.
3Greentree Consulting has many years of experience in carbon credit offsets working with local governments, First Nations and even corporate logging companies.
Examples of areas that could be excluded and would likely never be logged anyway are the three world class mountain bike trail parks on Tzouhalem, Maple and Prevost mountains and the hillside above Crofton Lake (to ensure the protection of the watershed and our drinking water).
Other sections that could be excluded are visually, culturally and ecologically sensitive areas.
This is where the citizens of North Cowichan could be engaged – to decide what should be protected and what could still be logged.
Some have expressed doubts about the value of carbon credits in reducing carbon.
A positive example brought up in the meeting was a seaplane company buying carbon credits to cover the period before they convert to electric engines. These credits could be used to offset the loss of logging revenue for North Cowichan.
The consultants also stressed that it is not a question of “log or not to log”, it is much more nuanced. The highest and best use of the community forest might be a combination of protected lands generating ongoing carbon credit revenue and harvesting zones generating logging revenue.
The consultants also offered access to sophisticated scenario modeling software and expertise so we could see what the forest would look like in 10, 20 or 30 years.
I hope that the mayor and council will give serious consideration to these new possibilities.