What is a Community Forest?

What is a community forest?

A community forest is a forestry operation managed by a local government, First Nation, or community-held organization for the benefit of the entire community. At its core, community forestry is about local control over the benefits offered by local forests (www.bccfa.ca). They are managed to reflect local community values and priorities.

A Community Forest Agreement (CFA) in British Columbia is a long-term agreement to manage a specific area of public forest land. CFAs are granted only to legal entities representing community interests. CFAs give the holder exclusive rights to harvest timber on a specific land base.

There are currently 58 Community Forests operating across British Columbia.

Benefits include:

  • Greater local control of forest stewardship and timber harvest decisions including consideration of community values such as recreation, wildlife, watersheds, viewscapes, cultural and spiritual sites
  • Support for local economies and livelihoods. Profits remain local. Harvesting operations can provide a source of revenue for local priorities and community initiatives
  • Strengthening relationships between the community of Squamish and Squamish Nation
  • Greater awareness about sustainable forest management practices among members of the public.
  • Forest planning can reflect locally determined objectives and interests
  • Local-level decision making that leads to locally appropriate decisions and improves the incentives to consider the long-term benefits of sustainable forest management
  • CFAs include the option to manage for commercial harvest of botanical/non-timber forest products
  • Note: Trail development is still subject to provincial authorization