PORTLAND, Ore. — September 17, 2015 — The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community and Ecotrust have been jointly awarded federal funding to explore the establishment of a “forest bank” on the Swinomish Indian Reservation, the two organizations announced today.
The Tribe is in the process of developing new plans for improved forest management and climate change adaptation, said Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Chairman Brian Cladoosby. Partnering with Ecotrust, a private non-profit conservation organization, creates the opportunity to achieve several important objectives, he said.
“Forest conservation and climate change adaptation require new ways of doing business — which could open up new business opportunities,” said Cladoosby. “As we improve our forest management practices to reflect changing forest conditions, we can not only help mitigate carbon emissions, but we can also identify new and emerging revenue opportunities that we aren’t currently capturing.”
Brent Davies, Ecotrust’s Vice President of Forests and Ecosystem Services, noted that Ecotrust is a leader in developing new models to create economic opportunities, while restoring forests and establishing ecological management processes modeled after a forest’s natural ability to maintain health and productivity.
“We are demonstrating that ecologically managed forests can store more carbon, provide higher quality habitat for fish and wildlife, and offer more economic development opportunities, all while supporting a robust forest products industry,” said Davies. “The Swinomish forest has always been a community resource. The hopes for this project are to create a more stable revenue source in addition to establishing a healthy forest ecosystem that meets Tribal landscape-level management priorities.”
With federal grant support, Ecotrust and the Tribe will partner over a three-year period to conduct in-depth research and analysis to determine potential unrealized forest-resource market value. A Swinomish Forest Bank could be used to certify market values of unrealized forest resources, and attract investment in Swinomish carbon sequestration, said Cladoosby.
The Natural Resource Conservation Service, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, selected the two organizations’ joint grant application from over 300 applicant proposals. The $528,000 three-year grant will be matched by $528,000 in joint funding from the Tribe and Ecotrust to carry out the project.
The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community is a federally recognized Indian Tribe organized pursuant to Section 16 of the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, 25 U.S.C. § 476, that occupies the Swinomish Indian Reservation on Puget Sound in Washington State. The Tribe is a present day political successor-in-interest to certain of the tribes and bands that signed the Treaty of Point Elliott, 12 Stat. 927 (1855), that established the Swinomish Reservation on Fidalgo Island.
Ecotrust, a regional organization that has been leading restoration-based economic development since 1991, works to create more resilient communities, economies, and ecosystems here and around the world. Ecotrust’s many innovations include cofounding an environmental bank, starting the world’s first ecosystem investment fund, creating a range of programs in fisheries, forestry, food, farms and indigenous affairs, and developing new scientific and information tools to improve social, economic, and environmental decision making. Learn more at www.ecotrust.org or connect with @ecotrust.