MERRITT, British Columbia – David Walkem, Chief of Cooks Ferry Band and President of Stuwix Resources Joint Venture, has been elected to the independent Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc.® (SFI®) Board of Directors.
Stuwix Resources is the only First Nations company in the British Columbia Interior to hold a replaceable forest licence, and the 112,000 hectares/277,000 acres it manages are independently certified to the SFI 2010-2014 Standard. Walkem was the first status Indian in British Columbia to become a Registered Professional Forester.
“SFI certification addresses much that is important to First Nation communities – from recognizing indigenous people’s rights and traditional knowledge to environmental values such as wildlife habitat to social and economic values such as stable jobs and markets,” Walkem said today. “I welcome the chance to help shape the SFI program to make this link even stronger.”
Over two million hectares/five million acres of lands held by or managed for indigenous communities are certified to the SFI forest management standard – more than any other third-party certification standard in North America.
“The fact that indigenous land managers are choosing SFI certification shows how well it complements and supports their commitment to conservation and sustainable forest management,” said SFI President and CEO Kathy Abusow. “David Walkem brings a fresh perspective to the board, as well as valuable professional and cultural expertise.”
The three-chamber SFI board represents environmental, economic and social interests equally, and members include representatives of environmental, professional and academic groups, independent loggers, family forest landowners, public officials, labour and the forest products sector.
Walkem joins Craig Blair, President and CEO, Resource Management Service LLC, who was also elected to the SFI board’s economic chamber. They replace Daniel S. Fulton, President and CEO, Weyerhaeuser Company, and Rick R. Holley, President and CEO, Plum Creek Timber Company Ltd.
SFI Inc. is a registered charitable organization responsible for the largest single forest certification standard in the world. The SFI program works with a wide array of partners to improve forest management in Canada and the United States, and sourcing worldwide.
Backgrounder: David Walkem
David Walkem is President of SFI-certified Stuwix Resources Joint Venture, a forest management enterprise that manages a forest licence for eight shareholder Indian Bands in the Interior of British Columbia.
He has been the Chief of the Cooks Ferry Indian Band since 1990, and is the Vice-Chair of the Nicola Similkameen Innovative Forestry Society, which oversees the planning for six Innovative Forestry Practices Agreements held by major licencees in the Merritt Timber Supply Area.
In 1985, Walkem became the first status Indian in British Columbia to become a Registered Professional Forester. He was the founding President of the First Nations Forestry Council, appointed to provide policy direction for First Nations participation in forest resource management in British Columbia and to implement the First Nations response to the province’s mountain pine beetle epidemic.
Walkem has an MBA from the University of Western Ontario and a Bachelor of Science in Forestry from the University of British Columbia. He received the Forester of the Year award from the Association of BC Professional Foresters in 2001, and an award from the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards Foundation in 2007 for his achievements in the environment and forestry.
Backgrounder: SFI Inc. Board of Directors
Board members representing the environmental sector, which includes non-profit environmental or conservation organizations:
Larry Selzer, (Vice-Chair) President and CEO, The Conservation Fund
George Finney, President, Bird Studies Canada
Tom Franklin, Senior Director of Science and Policy, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
John M. Hagan III, President, Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences
Roger Sedjo, Senior Fellow, Resources for the Future
Mike Zagata, President and CEO, Ruffed Grouse Society
Board members representing the social sector, which includes community or social interest groups such as universities, labour, family forest owners or government agencies:
Richard W. (Dick) Brinker (Secretary-Treasurer), Dean Emeritus, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Auburn University
Stewart Hardacre, President and CEO, Habitat for Humanity Canada
Steven W. Koehn, Director/State Forester, Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Charles Tattersall (Tat) Smith Jr., Former Dean and Professor, Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto
William V. (Bill) Street Jr., Director, Woodworkers Department, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
Board members representing the economic sector, which includes the forest, paper and wood products industry or other for-profit forest ownership or management entities:
Robert A. (Bob) Luoto (Chair), representing independent professional loggers and the American Loggers Council
Craig Blair, President and CEO, Resource Management Service LLC
John B. Crowe, Chairman and CEO, Buckeye Technologies Inc.
Matthew Donegan, Co-President, Forest Capital Partners LLC
Henry H. (Hank) Ketcham, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd.
David Walkem, Chief of the Cooks Ferry Indian Band, Merritt, British Columbia, and President, Stuwix Resources Joint Venture