British Columbia

Haida to sell forest preservation as carbon offset

B.C.'s Haida First Nation hopes to set aside one quarter of its forested land mass to attract millions of dollars in the growing carbon trading market.

B.C.'s Haida First Nation plans to make the most out of the fight against climate change by setting aside one quarter its forested land mass in the hope of attracting millions of dollars in the growing carbon trading market.

Haida council president Giindajin Haawasti Guujaaw says corporations involved in industries that produce large amounts of carbon dioxide are willing to pay to offset their carbon footprint, which they can do by preserving forest lands.         

Plants absorb carbon dioxide, and long-lived conifer trees like those in the B.C. temperate rainforests are said to absorb more of the greenhouse gas than any other form of vegetation.

Guujaaw said the plan would not only be lucrative but will help ensure the forest lands are preserved.

"I think right now we're all looking for solutions on how to save this dear old world of ours," he said.

"There's a value in the forest remaining standing."

Corporations buying these offsets would not be buying the land, but paying a hefty fee to preserve the trees for a set period of time.

Haida Gwaii, formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands, lies off B.C.'s north coast and has a land area of about 10,000 square kilometres.

Guujaaw said a complex formula would determine what the 2,500 sq. km of forest lands are worth as carbon offsets and that any money earned will pay to manage the protected areas.

The Haida will also share some of the anticipated millions of dollars in profits with the B.C. government, he said.