STH Biomass LP (STH) and Stuwix Resources Ltd (Stuwix) have signed a Forest Management Agreement of cooperation that both companies describe as “historic.” The Forest Management Agreement allows Stuwix to help STH manage their forest licences and build capacity within their communities.

Stuwix operates within parts of Nlaka’pamux and Silyx territories in the Merritt Timber Supply Area (TSA)  and STH Biomass is located within the northern part of the St’at’imc Territory in the Lillooet TSA.  Stuwix is a partnership of six Nlaka’pamux and  two Sylix communities and has been in operation since 2005.  This marks the first time these Nations have come together to address challenges in the local forest industry.

The agreement was signed Apr. 20 at T’it’q’et.

Stuwix has committed to honouring the Halaw’ Forestry Agreement signed by the six STH communities. The Halaw’ principles provide for a focus on community consultation in all phases of forest management to ensure community values are incorporated into the sustainable management of the forests, water, wildlife, and the environment in general, as well as for the protection of cultural and heritage values.

“Community consultation is our number one focus, before any harvesting can begin,” said STH Chair Mike Leach. “Training will also be a focus of the two companies.”

According to a joint news release, Stuwix brings a successful history of incorporating Aboriginal values and capacity development within its own eight communities and is committed to assisting the capacity development of the STH community members in all aspects of forest management.

“This agreement has been in the making for some time,” said Mike Leach and Stuwix Resources president David Walkem. “Working in cooperation with each other and other forest industry companies operating within the St’at’imc Territory, STH Biomass and Stuwix Resources hope to model how First Nations can, through mutual respect and understanding, successfully contribute to the sustainable management of the forests and land, while respecting Aboriginal values and creating a sustainable economy for all.”