Syilx Territory has historically been maintained by fire events. Since colonizaiton, active fire suppression tactics have led to vegetation ingrowth and extreme fuel loading throughout Syilx Territory. Combined with climate change, fire suppression has led to longer, more intense, and more destructive wildfire seasons and a less resilient forest ecosystem. A less resilient forest ecosystem degrades cultural, ecological and social values, increases threats to communities and infrastructure, and provides fewer natural resources, including timber supply.
This project is the product of hard-earned relationships between Okanagan Nation Alliance, Penticton Indian Band, local industry (Gorman’s), the BC Provincial Government and Forest Enhancement of BC (FESBC). It has successfully married timber harvesting in the THLB with cultural-ecological restoration at a landscape level, and has provided a template to model and improve on as the forestry sector, Indigenous rights and reconciliation and ecosystem stewardship continue to innovate.
- To reduce wildfire risk, increase forest stand values, protect ecological values and enhance cultural resource values.
- Reduce fire hazard to ‘low to moderate’.
- Reduce stem density to <100 stems/ha.
Goals for this project include:
- Contribute to a landscape level fuel break protecting Summerland and Peachland and surrounding rural development from wildfire risk.
- Restore forest ecosystem functions associated with a complex stand structure and low intensity stand maintaining fire regime.
- Enhance wildlife habitat, particularly mule deer winter range, where fire suppression and forest ingrowth has led to sub-par understory shrub growth, limiting food sources such as red stem ceanothus and willow for ungulate species.
- Cultural resources include food plant species, mule deer and a variety of sensitive medicinal and spiritual resources. The project will enhance these values by restoring the reciprocal relationship between the people and the landscape- resources flourish when they are taken care of.