As a summer program intern with a community economic development group in south eastern BC, you are assisting in the development of a management plan for non-timber forest products (NTFPs) on crown land. The key goal for the plan is to establish a basis for the development of NTFPs that is environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable. A steering committee has been established for the project consisting of First Nations representatives, other local land managers, and community economic development advisors.
One of the most important NTFPs in the area is the black huckleberry (Vaccinium membranaceum), widely considered to be the most delicious of the huckleberries and blueberries. The extensive commercial harvesting of the berry -- mainly for US buyers -- speaks to the high commercial potential for this NTFP. At the same time, there are a number of issues that must be addressed if the black huckleberry is to be developed in a manner compatible with the goals of the project.
Commercial harvesting activities have created considerable concern for the local First Nation. The black huckleberry plays an important role in First Nations culture as a feast food, and the Elders have expressed concern about commercial harvesters clearing out many of the best patches, depriving local people (and wildlife) of an important source of sustenance as well as infringing on traditional cultural practices. In an area of high unemployment, current commercial harvesting has provided little in the way of positive benefits for local people who want to capture more value from these resources.
Although berries are still relatively abundant, long-term supply is another key concern for the various stakeholders. Traditional management included burning berry patches to reduce competition and shading from trees and other shrubs. Fire suppression -- a cornerstone of land management in the province for more than 50 years -- has greatly reduced the size and productivity of berry patches. Without fire, favoured berry patches have become overgrown, and bushes are producing fewer and fewer berries.
The local community is supportive of sustainable huckleberry development if the various concerns can be addressed.
Your challenge is to present the steering committee with a suitable management strategy (or strategies) that has the
potential to address local concerns. Of the four management strategies you have to choose from, which would you choose
to present to the steering committee as the best choice for the project?
Choose a management strategy below by clicking on the link.
- Resource Protection and Natural Harvesting
- Resource Enhancement and Restoration
- Landscaping and Land Reclamation Use
- Intensive Horticultural Production