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Introducing Ecosystem Based Management in the Sunshine Coast Community Forest

Updated: Jun 7, 2023

One of the fundamental differences between a Community Forest operating model and that of a traditional forestry company is defined by the Tenure system. Community Forests have what is called an Area Based Tenure, as opposed to the Volume Based Tenures that traditional forestry companies are guided by. As the names imply, each model is driven by a very different mandate: in our case, it is the sustainable use and preservation of the area. The future of our Community Forest is dependent on our ability to sustain it, to make it resilient, and to make it serve our community for multiple generations. In other words, the future of our tenure depends on our management of it today.

Introducing EBM: Ecosystem Based Management

What is it? “EBM is a process that integrates biological, social and economic factors into a comprehensive strategy aimed at protecting and enhancing sustainability, diversity and productivity of natural resources.” The Sunshine Coast Community Forest is transitioning to Ecosystem Based management to answer the call for a paradigm shift in forest resource management. This is a voluntary, proactive approach to better manage our local forest, incorporating the best science with community and indigenous values. This methodology aims to sustain healthy ecosystems, maintain and support biodiversity, provide economic opportunity and retain future options both ecological and economic.

This is a long-term, iterative and holistic planning process which strives to be truly sustainable, to respect and reflect knowledge and understanding, and to be adaptive to changing conditions.

This infographic may seem simple, but the ideas are complex:

‘Ecosystem health’ or ‘ecosystem integrity’ are not strictly scientific terms. Both refer to functioning, self-sustaining ecosystems that if maintained, enhanced, or restored, will ensure productive sites in the long term and enable long term economic sustainability while providing resources to meet other human well-being values.

As this implies, the Ecosystem Based Management model we are building must serve the community first. Ensuring that our Forest is as resilient as we are, is essential to our community health now and for generations. As an early measure, we are working towards landscape level reserves of 30% to ensure our local forest ecosystems are resilient to climate change. Ongoing community engagement will ensure that Ecosystem Based Management in the Community Forest is constantly reflective of the changing needs and priorities of our community. Our Community Advisory Panel will be an integral part of this process - if you are interested in planning our future forest, e-mail with the subject "Community Advisory Panel".


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