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General News · 21st November 2021
Maureen Williams
If you’ve got a building project going on, or are planning one for the future, it’s important to consider where your wood is coming from and how it impacts the ecological and social footprint of your project. While the BC government is now saying forestry in the province is moving towards policies guided by ecosystem-based management, we are fortunate to already have access to local wood harvested using these principles.

There are many advantages to using wood from our own Community Forest, including:
• Supporting sustainable forestry practices. The wood from our Community Forest comes from trees harvested using a conservative rate of cut and careful selection methods that take into account the effects of each tree on the forest ecosystem and endeavor to leave a forest that will grow and mature into the future. This is the basis of Ecosystem Based Management (EBM). By supporting our unique and innovative operational methods of selective harvesting, you can help demonstrate the importance of conscientious forestry practices to others.
• Avoiding unsustainable forestry practices. Community Forest wood has a short journey, from forest to mill to job site, while conventional wood from a lumber yard is often sourced from much farther away—in fact, it may well have left as a raw log from a tree plantation in BC, traveled to China for processing, returned to a big box hardware store in Campbell River, and finally travelled on the Tachek to get to your home. That’s pretty unsustainable! What’s more, it is increasingly clear that conventional clear-cut tree harvesting and the development of single-age monoculture tree plantations is inherently unsustainable.
• Supporting partnership with Klahoose First Nation. The Community Forest tenure is held in a partnership between Klahoose First Nation and the Cortes Community Forest Coop. Choosing to use Community Forest wood supports this endeavor and opens opportunities for stronger relationship, deeper understanding and growth.
• Supporting our local economy. Thriving forestry and value-added wood industry sectors benefit the whole community by helping Islanders make a good living and strengthening the local economy.
• Building your connection to Cortes forests. The Community Forest is committed to community consultation. Throughout the years, we have offered opportunities to attend information sessions and tour old and newer harvest sites to see how they are doing and discuss what is planned. If you have a project with particular timber requirements, you and/or your contractor can visit a future Community Forest harvest site with our Forest Manager and pick out the exact tree(s) you’ll need. You can see exactly where your wood will come from and learn how its loss will be managed to support forest regeneration. This can deepen our appreciation for wood and its forest origins, and build thoughtfulness around wood use.
• Getting higher quality wood for a better price. In many cases, the Community Forest wood products you get from Cortes millers is of better quality than what is available through big box hardware stores and lumber yards. For example, high-quality hemlock framing and finish lumber and Douglas fir beams are some of the special wood products that come from Community Forest trees. Not only does the Community Forest provide local mills with access to quality wood that is becoming increasingly unavailable from other sources, the cost to local millers—and their customers—is often lower.

If you have an upcoming wood-based project, you can contact any of Cortes Island’s local millers directly to ask about the availability of wood to serve your needs. (don't know any? contact CCFC,

If you have a contractor doing a project for you, ask them to please use Community Forest wood.

If you are a contractor, tell your clients about the advantages of using Community Forest wood!

Thank you for caring about the future of forests.