Community Forests bring the benefit of local jobs – Featuring the Khowutzun Community Forest

Every year, the BC Community Forest Association conducts a survey of member community forests. The resulting data is analyzed and released as the Indicators Report, and details 18 different areas –economic, social, cultural, and environmental — where community forests benefit their Indigenous and rural communities and the province. This is the first in a set of stories highlighting individual community forests and the benefits they bring to their local communities.

The first indicator is that of local employment. All of BCCFA’s member forests bring jobs to the communities they serve, but many of our members go above and beyond in providing opportunities for employment in their community. Our responding member forests created 0.44 person years per 1,000 m3 of harvested timber in 2018, nearly 80% greater than the industry average in forestry, logging and support services.

One example of this benefit of local employment comes from the Khowutzun Community Forest on southern Vancouver Island. The forest is managed by Khowutzun Forest Services (KFS). KFS offers employment and training opportunities for young people of the Cowichan Nation. The largest First Nation in BC, a high percentage of Cowichan Tribes population is under 30 years of age. KFS has 12 fire crews, each a crew of five. In the reporting year, KFS employed 45 people through their contract firefighting crews as well as employing local people for work on their own tenure.

Read more about the benefits of community forests in the 2019 Indicators Report.