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The John Prince Research Forest (JPRF) consists of 13 032 ha of crown land in North Central BC, 50 km
north of Fort St. James. The forest is situated between Tezzeron (Chuzghun) and Pinchi (Tesgha) lakes in
the traditional territory of the Tl’azt’en First Nation. The forest was established in 1999 as a result of
many years of planning by the University of Northern British Columbia and the Tl’azt’en First Nation.
This forest is unique in North America in that it is the only research forest that is jointly managed by a
University and a First Nations community.

The JPRF is a working forest with ongoing forestry activities as well as research and educational
programs. The landscape exhibits diverse forest types and ecological characteristics in addition to a wide
variety of resource values and environmental conditions. The region also has a long history of land
stewardship practiced by the local Tl’azt’en community.

The JPRF is jointly managed by the Tl’azt’en First Nation and the University of Northern British
Columbia through an independent, jointly owned not-for-profit corporation, Chuzghun Resources
Corporation. This corporation is governed by a management board that consists of equal representatives
from the University and the Tl’azt’en First Nation. The board consists of 3 members from each

The JPRF has a mandate to promote interdisciplinary research projects through the university as well as
provide continuous support to community development and training initiatives of the local community.
The JPRF is committed to managing the land and its resources in an ecologically and culturally
sustainable manner. The development of the land is conducted in a manner that is complementary to the
traditional land stewardship practices that were traditionally implemented by the Tl’azt’en Nation.

The JPRF provides a mosaic of opportunities for research that both compliments the academic
requirements of the university and also the socio-cultural requirements of the local people. Research into
forestry practices, wildlife, recreation and tourism and community development all provide the local
community with valuable information that can help develop more long term development strategies for
the community.       The JPRF also provides support to the local community by partnering in local
community development projects as well as providing numerous employment opportunities for activities
in the research forest.

Not only does the local community gain valuable information from the research and activities carried out
by the University but the University also has much to learn from the traditional knowledge of the local
people. Local people have an intimate knowledge of the land and its attributes and this information can
provide researchers with valuable information and guidance.

This unique arrangement also provides an academic and social model that can be used in other regions.
The equal management of a large, active forest land-base between a First Nation and a university will
supply knowledge from both inside the forest dealing with specific issues and a macro view of how the
research forest itself fits into the provincial scope of natural resource management.


1. Brushing and Weeding
Annual brushing and weeding activities were in progress on the JPRF between mid June and mid August.
Between 10 and 15 brushers have been employed for these two months. During this time they completed
work operations on 58 hectares of previously logged areas.
2. Planting
Tl’azt’en Woodlands was hired for approximately 3 weeks in May and June to conduct tree planting
operations on the JPRF. During this time the workers planted approximately 50,000 trees on previously
logged cutblocks.

3. Logging
In the winter of 2001 annual logging operations were conducted on the JPRF. Hat Lake Logging of Fort
St. James purchased the timber and undertook its removal. The wood harvested totaled approximately
16,000 m³ and consisted of mainly beetle infested trees. The focus of logging on the JPRF in recent years
has been to conduct operations in the most sustainable manner while trying to control the beetle
infestation problem.

4. Pest Management
The JPRF has been impacted by the bark beetle like most other areas of the central interior in the past few
years. As a part of forest management JPRF management has been applying methods to try and control
this outbreak. In the winter of 2001 an extensive fall and burn program was conducted which resulted in
400 trees being destroyed to combat the beetle infestation. This year several areas have been fitted with
phermone traps to concentrate the infestation to specific areas in order to make fall and burn and logging
operations more effective in controlling the beetle populations.

5. Road Building
Road Upgrading activities have been implemented on the ArchTruck Road. In addition a bridge will be
constructed on the ArchTruck road near the round lake to stabilize the stream conditions in an effort to
protect fish habitat.

6. Forest Planning
Currently JPRF staff are completing prescriptions for logging and silviculture operations for the next
year. This information will be used to plan field activities for 2002.

1. Considering Ungulate Habitat Values in Developing an Access Management Plan for the Arch
   Truck Road.

Roy Rea of UNBC has been contracted to work with the JPRF to develop an Ungulate (Moose, deer)
Access Management Plan for the western end of the Arch Truck Road. This 3km section of road restricts
access from the west side of the research forest. This poses a problem when workers and JPRF staff need
to access the research forest. Roy will be studying the impacts of road development on the moose and
deer populations in the area. The results of this research will provide valuable information when roads
are planned throughout the remainder of the forest. A local research assistant has been hired to help with
field activities with this project.

2. Historical Forest Ecology

Michelle MacGregor, a graduate student at UNBC, is working with Dr. Steve Dewhurst on an historical
forest ecology project. This project will consider both the environment and its inhabitants, and the
historical information will aid in the development of indicators and criteria which will assist in managing
the forest in a sustainable way. The project will also create a framework that community members can
use to develop a better understanding of how human activities affect forest conditions. This project goes
beyond traditional field surveys to include oral histories, maps, travellers accounts, photographs,
newspaper stories and any other documents related to historical forest ecology.

3. ECHO Project
Dr. Annie Booth, Dr. Steve Dewhurst, Dr. Winifred Kessler, Erin Sherry and Melanie Karjala from
UNBC conducted a two year project funded by the Sustainable Forest Network to develop a land planing
process to be used in involving First Nations issues in Forest Planning. The researchers worked closely
with the people of Tl’azt’en Nation to incorporate Tl’azt’enne values in the forest planning process. Dr.
Dewhurst and Melanie Karjala have presented the product of this research to the local community. This
project has been a keystone project for the co-management of the JPRF and how indigenous and scientific
knowledge can be applied to land management.

4. Bat Ecology Study
Jennifer Psyllakis of the University of Regina conducted a research project on the ecology of bats in the
Sub Boreal Spruce forests. This project involved capturing and tagging bats to determine the best
quality bat habitat. The intent of the study was to determine the types of habitats that bats have adapted to
and if these results could be then used for more accurate forest development planning.

5. Small Mammal Study

Dr. Ken Parker from UNBC conducted a study with regard to small mammal and bird ecology and the
associated implications for forest planning. The objective of this study was to determine the usage of
Wildlife Tree patches by birds and small mammals. The results indicate whether the current forestry
practice of leaving Wildlife Tree Patches is sufficient to maintain critical levels of habitat for birds and
small mammals.

6. Owl Survey
Dr. Ken Parker from UNBC and Randy Rawluk recently conducted a night survey of owl calls in the
JPRF. This information is being collected by the Canadian Wildlife Service to gain a long-term record of
owl activity across Canada. The results were encouraging with nine different owls being recorded for the

7. Leave-Tree Survival and Wind Damage after partial cutting in the Upland SBS Forests.
Mike Jull from MoF / UNBC and Bob Sagar conducted a study of the effects of wind damage in areas
where partial cutting techniques have been used. The purpose of the study is to better understand the
effects of wind and wind damage in local partial cuts where mature trees are left behind for seed stock. In
addition this study will produce results that can help develop windthrow management techniques
customized for the central interior forest region.

8.   Exploring the Integration of Cultural Values in the Development of Experiential Education
Damian John has received funding from the JPRF for Phase 1 of a project to try and determine how to
successfully incorporate cultural values into an experiential learning program for youth. The project will
help understand and develop the linkage between elders and youth and the potential for passing on
cultural values through alternate sources of education.

9.    Site Preparation Trials
The JPRF staff is conducting a variety of site preparation trials to determine the most effective method of
site prep for the JPRF forests. These activities include trying different types of machinery as well as
implementing various different styles of actions to prepare harvested sites for reforestation efforts.
10. Mixed Wood Silviculture Trials
The JPRF staff is implementing a trial study of introducing Douglas Fir seedlings into a dominant birch
stand. This project will involve spacing the natural regeneration of birch and planting fir seedlings in
between. Birch and Douglas fir are known to have a symbiotic relationship and this study will determine
if this type of mixed wood planting is a viable option on the research forest.

11. Seedling Inoculation
Dr. Chuck Bulmer and Dr. Shannon Birch from MoF conducted a study to determine the potential of
growing stock seedlings with enhanced capability to grow on roads and landings. Douglas Fir, Pine and
Spruce seedlings were grown and inoculated with rhizhome treatments to enhance strength and growing
potential. If successful, these seedlings can then be used to plant old roads and landings.

12. Forest Health and “Beetle Proofing”
Researchers from the Canadian Forest Service are planning a project to test different methods of
treatments to combat bark beetle infestations. These treatment methods seek to mimic natural conditions,
such as fire, and therefore will involve understory removal and spacing to see if this makes forests more
resistant to beetle infestation.

13. Ecotourism Planning for Tl’azt’en Nation
Sanjay Nepal and Jeff Zeiger of UNBC are conducting a two year research project into the ecotourism
potential for Tl’azt’en Nation. They are using a community based approach to determine the kinds of
development or activities that the community feels is important. This project has created two research
assistant positions for local youth. The product of this project will be a plan that the community can use
to develop tourism resources that are sustainable from a community perspective.

13. Dendrochronological and Dendroclimatic Investigations in the Cordillera: Southern Yukon
     and British Columbia

B.H. Luckman, E. Watson and D.K. Youngblut from the University of Western Ontario conducted
research on the JPRF to use tree ring data from mature Douglas Fir in an effort to build a timeline of
climatic processes over the life cycle of the tree. This information will be used by the Meteorological
Service of Canada to map the climatic history of different regions of Canada.

14. Analysis of Historical Photography to Support Ecological Restoration
The JPRF staff and IFS are implementing a project to analyze historical air photos taken in 1947 to
determine the “natural” composition of the forests in the JPRF. This information will then be used in
future forest planning to develop models of management that will support restoration of the local
ecosystems to a natural state. This is a major step in the process of managing toward a legacy forest.

1. Beetle Control Training
Chuzghun Resources Corporation in association with Tl’azt’en Nation and Tanizul Timber Ltd
implemented a Beetle Control Training program for local forest workers. Eleven out of twelve
participants completed the program and received certification as beetle probers by CNC. The program
consisted of six weeks of training made up of both classroom and field instruction. Upon completion all
graduates of the program found employment.
2. Natural Resource Training Centre Feasibility Study
The JPRF sponsored a feasibility study to determine the potential of developing a Natural Resources
training center in the local area to provide residents with training for the forestry resource fields. Dr. Tom
Brown completed a study to determine the need and demand for a First Nations driven training college.
Interviews were conducted with political leaders, education representatives, industry, community leaders
and youth. The study produced several recommendations detailing the potential for such an institution
and suggested ways of accomplishing it.

3. Fish Inventory Training
In preparation for the implementation of a stream and fish inventory of the JPRF local residents received
training to enhance their skills and to qualify them for participation in the project. The training consisted
of Electro-fishing lectures and field training, Fish Identification, and Fish Capture methods. These skills
then were used in the fish and stream inventory for the John Prince Research Forest.

4. Silviculture Contractor Training
JPRF sponsored a Silviculture Contractor Training program to enhance the capacity of Tl’azt’enne
contractors. The course covered a wide variety of topics which included contract law, forest science and
health, map reading and field measurements, bid preparation, forming a company, field safety and project
management. Five local contractors took part in this course and have since pursued several silviculture

Community Development

Unified Vision
The Unified Vision group consists of a group of individuals from the local community who are interested
in the development of recreation and tourism opportunities for Tl’azt’en Nation. This effort was initiated
by Beverly Bird of Tl’azt’en Nation and includes representatives from Tl’azt’en Education, Economic
Development, Natural Resources, Human Resources, and Health Departments as well as JPRF staff.
This group meets regularly and has been closely associated with the Eco-tourism research project being
conducted by UNBC.

E-Team Project
Chuzghun Resources received funding from the Environmental Youth Team Program to hire six youth to
participate in a trail building project on the JPRF. The youth were hired on June 25 and continued until
August 31 and completed 11 km of recreation trail. This trail will be further developed in the future to
include interpretive signage and will act as an outdoor classroom for students.

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