Canada's forest sector and forest-dependent communities are facing unprecedented challenges. The forest sector is dealing with issues such as rising energy costs, a strong Canadian dollar, new international competition and reduced timber supplies. Communities that depend on the forest sector are feeling the cumulative impact of these challenges.
In July 2007, Natural Resources Canada initiated the Forest Communities Program to help communities develop tools, approaches and strategies to respond to the new challenges facing Canada's forest sector.
Fundy Model Forest is receiving $1.5 million from Natural Resources Canada, through the Canadian Forest Service, over five years (2007-2012) to deliver the Forest Communities Program in New Brunswick, one of Canada’s most forest dependent provinces.
Local Solutions to Local Challenges
The Forest Community Program will provide initial five-year funding to 11 forest-based community organizations across Canada to develop and share knowledge, tools and strategies to address transitional challenges and capitalize on emerging forest-based opportunities. Matched funding from other collaborating organizations is a requirement for Forest Community Program project funding.
The Forest Community Program has four main objectives:
- develop new forest-based economic opportunities through collaboration with industry and other community stakeholders;
- facilitate capacity-building and engagement of communities to meet sector transition issues;
- promote and share integrated, multi-sectoral approaches to forestland management; and
- share best practices and information tools with forest communities across Canada and internationally.
Forest Communities Program Sites
- Clayoquot Forest Communities Program
This is a partnership involving the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations and Ecotrust Canada. The partnership intends to create economic opportunities for the forest-dependent communities of the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve, while protecting ecosystem integrity.
- Resources North Association
Building on the past success of the McGregor Model Forest, this expanded partnership will help forest–based communities in northern B.C. to diversify their economies and address the many forest management issues in the region.
- Prince Albert Model Forest
The Prince Albert Model Forest will develop new approaches to capacity building in resource-based communities and facilitate cross-sector relationships involving forestry, agriculture and the rapidly developing mining and energy sectors of Saskatchewan.
- Manitoba Model Forest
The Manitoba Model Forest is developing new partnerships with the forest industry, forest-based communities and the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. The Model Forest is seeking new opportunities for communities to participate in informed decision-making about landscape management and to develop alternative uses of forest resources.
- Northeast Superior Forest Community
This new partnership will bring new economic dynamics to forest-based communities in Northern Ontario. Several communities will work together on common economic objectives with an emphasis on developing opportunities involving non-timber values of the forest. The Northeast Superior Forest Community also intends to use technology to stimulate economic and educational activities.
- Eastern Ontario Model Forest
Located near Ottawa, the Eastern Ontario Model Forest has a unique opportunity to demonstrate to national audiences the importance of forests and forestry to Canada's rural communities. The partnership is well-positioned to address the challenges facing rural and urban forests, including planning issues and economic diversification.
- Association des intervenants forestiers des Hautes-Laurentides
This partnership brings together a diverse group of interests to challenge the current economic realities of the forest industry in rural Quebec. Hautes Laurentides will encourage community development through improved forest management and explore new opportunities for recreational tourism.
- Lac-Saint-Jean Model Forest
The Lac-Saint-Jean region of Quebec has proposed a new partnership of communities, including First Nations, to seek new opportunities for the forest industry and economic development. The main emphasis will be on workforce training to ensure the long-term sustainability of the region's communities.
- Fundy Model Forest
With an emphasis on innovation, the Fundy Model Forest will advance the sustainable development of private forests and public forests in New Brunswick. It will encourage the development of community capacity to adjust to changes in the forest economy and promote diversification into the bio-economy.
Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island
- Nova Forest Alliance
The Alliance represents four distinct forest areas in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. The Nova Forest Alliance will address the long-term utilization of the region's forest resources and the potential for additional social, environmental and economic benefits.
Newfoundland and Labrador
- Model Forest Communities of Newfoundland and Labrador
The Western Newfoundland Model Forest will be expanding its work with communities in watershed management and other emerging issues facing the forest sector. It has expanded its partnership to include an area in Labrador where it will use its expertise to address some of the major social, economic and environmental stresses in Innu communities.
For more information about the new Forest Communities Program, please contact Mike Slivitzky at Natural Resources Canada – Canadian Forest Service.