In broadest terms, a community forest is any forestry operation managed by a local group – for example, local government, First Nation or a community group incorporated for that purpose.

In British Columbia, the core principle of community forestry is local control and local decision-making to capture the benefits (both monetary and non-monetary) of this natural capital for communities adjacent to the forests.

In a nutshell, community forests accommodate a more responsible, more purposeful approach to forestry. Specific forest resources are selected and diverted for specific purposes based on their value.

Key objectives include creating long-term opportunities for achieving a range of community priorities and diversifying the use of (and benefits derived from) the community forest agreement area. Frequently referred to as ‘integral forestry’, community forestry seeks to determine and establish the limits to human uses of forests to sustain fully functioning ecosystems.

This presents a contrast to many mainstream forestry operations as the community forest focuses on local operations that are smaller in scale and have a wider purpose to achieve a positive ‘triple bottom line’ through social, environmental and financial responsibility.

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