Huu-ay-aht First Nations announces preliminary decision on Old Growth Deferrals

December 1, 2021

By: The Working Forest Staff







Anacla –  Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin (Head Hereditary Chief Derek Peters) and Elected Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis Sr. announce Huu-ay-aht First Nations has confirmed 33 percent of old growth remain in their Ḥahuułi (Traditional Territory) and TFL 44. The total productive forested area within the Ḥahuułi and TFL 44 is 153,773 hectares (ha), of which 51,240 ha, or 33 percent, is old forest (greater than 250 years old). Based on a review of maps provided by the provincial government to the Nation, Huu-ay-aht First Nations will continue to uphold our right to old-growth harvesting in four percent of the Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) proposed deferral area in the Huu-ay-aht Ḥahuułi and TFL 44. The Nation has decided on a preliminary basis to defer harvesting for a period of two years in areas that make up 96% of the TAP proposal for old-growth deferrals, much of which is already protected under existing conservation measures or not planned for harvest in the next two years. Refer below, or to the Release and Backgrounder, for more information on the old-growth analysis. Beginning in 2023, Huu-ay-aht’s long-term stewardship decisions will be informed by the outcome of Huu-ay-aht’s two-year Hišuk ma c̕awak Integrated Resource Management Planning process. “As a Modern Treaty Nation, Huu-ay-aht will decide how best to manage our lands and resources guided by our three Sacred Principles of ʔiisaak (utmost respect), ʔuuʔałuk (taking care of), and hišuk ma c̕awak (everything is one),” said Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin. “We expect broad recognition and respect for our old-growth two-year deferral decisions and our long-term forest and resource stewardship decisions.” “We have now confirmed that 33 percent, not three percent, of our Ḥahuułi and TFL 44 is old growth,” said Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis Sr. “By approving 96 percent of the TAP old-growth recommendation, much of which is already protected under existing conservation measures or not planned for harvest in the next two years, we are satisfied that sufficient old forest is protected, while we complete our two-year integrated resource management planning process and make our long-term forest and resource stewardship decisions.”


BackgrounderHuu-ay-aht preliminary determination Old Growth Deferrals proposed by the Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) for the Huu-ay-aht Ḥahuułi and TFL 44

 Huu-ay-aht has completed a preliminary review of two-year old-growth deferrals proposed by the Technical Advisory Panel (TAP)  for the Huu-ay-aht Ḥahuułi (Territory) and TFL 44 (Huu-ay-aht beneficially owns 35 percent of C̕awak ʔqin Forestry (TFL 44). Please refer to Table 1).  The total productive forested area is 153,773 ha, of which 51,240 ha, or 33 percent, is old forest (greater than 250 years old). TAP recommends that Huu-ay-aht approve a two-year deferral of old-growth harvesting in 14,754 ha, or 29 percent, of that total old forest. Based on maps provided to Huu-ay-aht by the provincial government, the TAP two-year deferral request has been compared to planned harvest areas within the Huu-ay-aht Ḥahuułi and TFL44. 14,109 hectares of the 14,754 ha TAP deferral request (96 percent) is not planned for harvest within the next two years. In many cases, harvesting is already not taking place because of existing conservation measures. Huu-ay-aht has analyzed the remaining 645 ha of proposed deferrals (four percent of TAP request, or 0.4 percent of total forested area), and has determined that implementation of those remaining deferrals would result in significant economic harm to Huu-ay-aht, local workers, Bamfield, and the Alberni Region. Because of how these proposed deferral areas are distributed, they put as much as 65 percent of planned harvest volume over the next two years in serious jeopardy. These deferrals would have an impact on small portions of many different harvest areas in a variety of ways, including making entire harvest areas uneconomic or inaccessible or making the deferred portion subject to forest health concerns such as windthrow.TABLE  1 – OLD-GROWTH DEFERRAL ANALYSIS

Description Ḥahuułi & TFL 44 Area (ha) Percentages
Total Productive Forest Area 153,773 ha 100%
Total Old Forest   51,240 ha  33%
TAP Request for Two-Year Harvest Deferral   14,754 ha  29% of Total Old Forest
Portion of TAP Deferral Request not Planned for Harvest in two years, or in many cases forever   14,109 ha  96% of TAP Deferral Request
Portion of TAP Deferral Request which impacts planned harvest areas        645 ha 4% of TAP Deferral Request
Potential drop in volume of annual harvest for next two years   65%

 After giving this matter and all relevant circumstances careful consideration, Huu-ay-aht First Nations has made a determination to approve on a preliminary basis, for the next two years, 96 percent of the TAP proposal for old-growth deferrals. However, on a preliminary basis, Huu-ay-aht First Nations does not approve the remaining 4 percent of the TAP request for two-year deferrals for two main reasons: 

1.      Huu-ay-aht is satisfied that sufficient old forest is protected without the additional 4 percent old-growth deferral, and

2.      Approving the remaining four percent of the TAP deferral request would have a significant adverse impact on workers, earnings, and the Nation that goes far beyond any incremental ecological benefit.

 It is important to note that this determination is preliminary in nature and is specific to the Huu-ay-aht. Huu-ay-aht does not speak for other Nations. As Huu-ay-aht proceeds with its own expert analysis to support its final determination, the Nation may learn more about deferral options and current old-growth protection measures on the Ḥahuułi and TFL 44 that reduce, increase, or otherwise change the amount of two-year old-growth harvest deferral that Huu-ay-aht finally determines is necessary.  Huu-ay-aht expects to make a final determination on Huu-ay-aht deferrals by mid-January 2022. 






For further information, please contact:


Huu-ay-aht First NationsHeather ThomsonCommunications Manager250-720-7776[email protected]






About Huu-ay-aht First Nations

Huu-ay-aht First Nations is an indigenous community located on the west coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. It is a part of the Nuu-chah-nulth Nation, formerly called the Nootka. Huu-ay-aht is a party to the Maa-nulth Final Agreement, a modern treaty that grants its five member-nations constitutionally protected self-government as well as ownership, control, and law-making authority over their lands and resources. For more information, visit


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