More than one million hectares of the Lac Seul Forest now meets the world’s highest standards in sustainable forest management practices.
The Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. (SFI) announced Sept. 11 that Obishikokaang Resources Corporation, the Lac Seul Nation-based managers of the northwestern Ontario forest management unit, has met all the requirements of the certification process under the SFI 2015-2019 Forest Management Standard.
Obishikokaang Resources Corporation is the second SFI certificate holder in Ontario.
The corporation has managed the forest for the 800-member First Nation band, located southwest of Sioux Lookout, since 2012.
SFI is a not-for-profit organization that provides chain of custody assurances that forests are being managed in a sustainable way through an independently audited certification process.
Forest management plans must meet or exceed acceptable standards and practices in promoting biodiversity and in the protection of water quality, wildlife habitat, and species at risk.
“Lac Seul and the surrounding forest have always provided for the economic and cultural well-being of the people of Obishikokaang,” said Lac Seul Chief Clifford Bull in a statement released through SFI.
“Certifying to SFI is part of our commitment to the kind of sustainable business practices that are designed to protect the environment and support economic growth. Band members are working as part of the management teams, supervising harvesting and playing an important role in forest regeneration.”
The SFI process also respects Indigenous peoples' rights and traditional knowledge in protecting spiritual, historical and cultural sites, and using non-timber forest products.
"Certifying a forest to SFI is an important way for Indigenous communities to assure their markets and the general public that the forestry they practice is sustainable,” said SFI board member David Walkem.
More than 3.1 million hectares managed by 28 Indigenous and tribal councils in North America are certified to SFI.