Archived - Success Story: Diversifying the NWT Forestry Sector through Biomass

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Project Location: Fort Resolution and Fort Providence, Northwest Territories
Program: Strategic Investments in Northern Economic Development
Sector: Forestry

The objective of the NWT Forest Industry and Biomass Initiative is to develop a viable forestry sector in the Northwest Territories (NWT). The Government of the NWT's Department of Environment and Natural Resources led this project with the collaboration of Indigenous and Métis groups in the NWT. Together, they negotiated Forest Management Agreements and successfully implemented a long-term General Development Plan (GDP) to support job creation and business opportunities in the forest industry, particularly in Indigenous and Métis communities.  In addition, the Initiative was intended to provide the members of these communities with increased control over local forestry resources and reduce the need for imported fossil fuels.

Between 2014 and 2016, CanNor invested $2 million in the development of GDPs to support forestry business activities. These plans could include negotiating timber supply contracts, ensuring harvest material is delivered to pellet facilities, and ensuring that plans to cultivate trees are in place. With CanNor and other federal and territorial funding, this project builds on previous investments by NWT communities and private businesses and supports the NWT Biomass Energy Strategy launched in 2010 by the Government of the Northwest Territories.

This Initiative is continuing to grow the forest industry in the NWT. An early key accomplishment of the Initiative was the first Forest Management Agreement with the community of Fort Resolution. An additional agreement has been completed with the community of Fort Providence, and agreements in other communities are under negotiation. The second phase of the project involves implementing GDPs with the two signed agreement holder communities using the NWT Biomass Energy Strategy for guidance.  With the successful completion of these two agreements, there will be additional employment and local economic opportunities for these communities. This project is helping to diversify the local economy, encouraging local business development, saving energy and reducing the dependence on imported fossil fuel in the NWT.

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