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Measuring the Benefits of Community Forestry

Key Message

The report identified the most compelling indicators that demonstrate the tangible social, cultural, economic and environmental benefits that community forests bring to their communities. 


British Columbia Community Forest Association. (2015). Community Forest Indicators 2014. Measuring the Benefits of Community Forestry. Victoria, BC: British Columbia Community Forest Association. 40 pp.


Community forestry is an innovative form of forest management, whereby local communities gain the right to manage local forests for local benefit. Every community forest is unique and each one strives to return benefits as defined by the local community. To better understand these benefits, the British Columbia Community Forest Association (BCCFA) has developed a system to measure and track the benefits of community forests.


Economic Benefits

  • Community forests create local jobs. On average, community forests created 0.3 full time jobs/1000 m3, which is 50% higher than the industry average.
  • Community forests boost local economic activity. They contributed an average of $1.6 mil- lion to their local economies, most of which have populations of 3,000 people or less.
  • Community forests support local priorities by sharing their profits. They contributed an average of $100,000 cash and in-kind to local projects.
  • Community forests were able to leverage an additional $140,000 for local projects from outside sources.
  • Community forests play an active role in the forest sector through harvesting and supplying logs for the market. 87% are on track to meet their cut control.
  • Community forests support the full spectrum of milling and manufacturing facilities. 76% of logs were sold to large mills, with 24% going to small, medium and value added manufac- turers.
  • Community forests are investing in the future economic return of the forest. On average, they spent $34,000 of their own funds on intensive silviculture and treated over 70 hect- ares.
  • Community forests are supporting efforts to diversify the economic benefits of the forest. While the community forest organizations themselves did not generate revenue through sources other than timber, they facilitated the harvest of non-timber forest resources for traditional use and local businesses.

Social Benefits

  • Accountability is the cornerstone of community forestry. 93% reported annually to their community.
  • Community forests foster participation in forest management. 20 different types of forest users and community sectors were engaged in community forests.
  • Community forests support education. On average they invested $7,000 and 115 hours in educational activities.
  • Recreation is a key benefit. Community Forests invested an average of $20,000 in recre- ation and built or maintained 19 km of trail. In total, respondents built or maintained 260 km of trail in the reporting period.
  • Community forests are working to reduce the threat of wildfire. On average they treated 33 ha and spent over $5,000 of their own funds to reduce wildfire risk. To date, the report- ing community forests collectively brought in over $1.1 million for wildfire mitigation and treated over 1600 ha.
  • Forest worker safety is a priority. 86% of community forests require Safe Certification, and in the reporting year there were no accidents that prevented a worker from returning to work.

Cultural Benefits

  • In BC, over half of the operating CFs are held by First Nations or a partnership between an Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community. 14% of survey respondents are CFs that are held by First Nations, and 36% are partnerships. 43% have a First Nations representation on their board of directors

Environmental  Benefits

  • Community forests operate in challenging areas around communities. 65% of the land base of the reporting community forests is deemed sensitive.
  • 62% of community forests made investments in forest stewardship - incremental to legal requirements, averaging a $36,000 investment and treating 50 ha each.
  • Community forests are in compliance with environmental standards. In the reporting year there were 23 inspections conducted, and 0 determinations against community forests.

Benefit Statements / Outcomes

Leadership Provided By:

  • Leisure Information Network (LIN)
  • Alberta Recreation and Parks Association

On Behalf Of:

  • Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRAA)

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