Seeing Cowichan Forests Beyond Trees

Seeing Cowichan Forests Beyond Trees

Phase 1 report now available

John Scull was instrumental in the development of this initiative. It has been lovingly dedicated to John’s memory and his commitment to conservation and restoration in our region. Photo courtesy of Linda Hill.

In March 2020, the Cowichan Community Land Trust (CCLT) launched the first phase of a new initiative: Seeing Cowichan Forests Beyond Trees. Funding for the initial phase was obtained from the Vancouver Foundation’s System Change grant program. The objectives of phase one were to:

  • Research forest conservation mechanisms and strategies already in place within the region, 
  • Assess and evaluate opportunities and barriers to forest conservation,
  • Gather input from the community regarding forest conservation awareness and concerns, and 
  • Enhance understanding about how the CCLT could support more forest conservation and reforestation on private land in the Cowichan Valley. 

We were pleased to commission Registered Professional Forester and ecosystem-based management specialist Heather Pritchard to research and produce a report proposing recommendations to aid the CCLT board in determining options for further action. This report is now complete and, having been received and approved by the board we are excited to share it with the community.

Key recommendations in the report include:

  • Expanding and promoting the capacity to hold conservation covenants within privately owned forest land,
  • Educating the community and land-owners about the value and benefits of conservation covenants on forest ecosystems,
  • Building awareness and community capacity to adopt voluntary best practices for tending forest ecosystems in the Cowichan region,
  • Pursuing research opportunities related to the extent of old and mature forests in the region as well as the potential applicability of carbon offset initiatives,
  • Working collaboratively with community partners to build non-governmental organization capacity to drive change,
  • Proactively engaging with local and provincial governments to promote and support related initiatives, and
  • Expanding First Nations engagement.

The complete report can be accessed through this link: Seeing Cowichan Forests Beyond Trees phase 1 report

‘Seeing Cowichan Forests Beyond Trees’ was conceived in part by founding CCLT director John Scull, who was involved in the initiative right up until his very unfortunate passing this past summer. We are deeply saddened by his departure and have dedicated the ‘Seeing Cowichan Forests Beyond Trees’ initiative to John as a heart-felt commemoration of his amazing contributions to the Cowichan community.

The Forest Conservation Committee of the CCLT board is currently planning the next phase of the initiative, developing actions informed by the recommendations in this report.