A huge tract of forest in central Saskatchewan is now certified to standards set by an independent organization called the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.

SFI works with forestry companies and First Nations to put standards and policies in place that protect the land and ensure sustainable forest management for generations to come.

It is a non-profit organization that is internationally recognized for its forestry initiative programs and has a long history of partnerships with First Nations.

Kaskew Forestry Products of Prince Albert is licensed by the Montreal Lake Cree Business Ventures to manage and operate the wood allocation.

General manager Bart Smith says preserving and protecting ancestral territory is very important to the company and is worth the effort.

“Definitely there is more to do to being certified but our thought is we are very concerned about the future and we want to make sure we protect Montreal Lake ancestral territory, so it is well worth the extra effort to meet this standard,” he says.

Smith also says meeting SFI objectives and other performance criteria improves the company’s ability to cooperate with local partners in harvesting and at the same time participate more fully in the local economy.

The area of forest involved is about half the size of Prince Edward Island.