Rooted in Resilience: Growing Hope Through Reforestation

Tree Canada

Tree Canada is thrilled to announce an exciting and innovative reforestation project in British Columbia. This collaboration with the sməlqmix (Lower Similkameen Indian Band), Corvidae Environmental Consulting (CEC) and Cariboo Carbon Solutions Ltd. (CCS) through our National Greening Program marks a significant step forward in environmental restoration and community resilience.

In 2023, the Crater Mountain wildfire burned over 5,000 hectares of Similkameen Community Forest land. Thousands of hectares within the Ashnola River watershed were also burned, making this reforestation effort of critical environmental and ecological importance to the region. The sməlqmix have identified the principles of fire resilience, food sovereignty, economic self-sufficiency, and biodiversity as the driving factors for restoration, as their primary responsibility for title assertion on unceded sməlqmix lands.

There is a pressing need for reforestation across the region in the coming years. CCS, CEC, and the sməlqmix have identified 259.2 hectares as high-priority reforestation areas, selected due to the severity of the fire damage. These areas, predominantly dominated by Douglas-fir, face significant challenges in natural regeneration over the next 5 to 10 years.

Initial tree planting, shrubs, and traditional plant restoration will occur during the Spring of 2024. The process begins with seed collection focusing on native species such as trembling aspen, whitebark pine, huckleberry, and lodgepole pine. Future plantings will consist of additional species such as Douglas-fir, yellow pine, Englemann spruce, yellow and red cedar, and more. CCS’s, CEC’s, and sməlqmix TEK expertise and commitment ensure that each sapling planted is a step towards a rejuvenated landscape and a brighter future.

The project is made possible through the generous contributions of individual donors, further bolstered by the federal government’s 2 Billion Trees program and sməlqmix peoples contributions.

Together, we’re not only rebuilding a forest; we’re revitalizing communities. This project serves as a testament to what can be achieved when sməlqmix and diverse stakeholders come together with a common goal. This collaboration between the sməlqmix government, CCS, Tree Canada, Corvidae, and provincial and federal representatives serves as a model for respectful relationship-building and reconciliation.

Tiinesha Begaye, Archaeologist for the sməlqmix (Lower Similkameen Indian Band) Natural Resources Department, holds bundles of Huckleberry plants (Vaccinium Membranaceum) in each hand for a ceremonial planting, fall 2023.

Image courtesy of Mike Madill, Forester for Cariboo Carbon Solutions


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