Canada is experiencing an unparalleled crisis involving forests and communities across the country. While municipalities, policy makers, and industry leaders acknowledge common challenges such as an overdependence on US markets, rising energy costs, and lack of diversification, no common set of solutions has been developed and implemented. Ongoing and at times contentious public debate has revealed an appetite and need for a fundamental rethinking of the relationships that link our communities, governments, industrial partners, and forests towards a more sustainable future.
The creation of community forests is one path that promises to build resilience in forest communities and ecosystems. This model provides local control over common forest lands in order to activate resource development opportunities, benefits, and social responsibilities. Implementing community forestry in practice has proven to be a complex task, however: there are no road maps or well-developed and widely-tested models for community forestry in Canada. But in settings where community forests have taken hold, there is a rich and growing body of experience to draw on.
The contributors to Growing Community Forests include leading researchers, practitioners, Indigenous representatives, government representatives, local advocates, and students who are actively engaged in sharing experiences, resources, and tools of significance to forest resource communities, policy makers, and industry.
About the authors
Ryan Bullock is a Canada Research Chair in Human-Environment Interactions and associate professor, Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences, at the University of Winnipeg. He is also the director of the Centre for Forest Interdisciplinary Research.
Gayle Broad is an Associate Professor, Community Economic and Social Development program, and Director of Research, NORDIK Institute, Algoma University.
Lynn Palmer is a PhD candidate, Faculty of Natural Resources Management, Lakehead University.
Peggy Smith is an Associate Professor, Faculty of Natural Resources Management, Interim Vice-Provost (Aboriginal Initiatives), Lakehead University.