What is Community Forestry?

A look under the Canopy of Your Community Forest

Welcome to the first in a series of what we hope will be informational, educational and transformational articles on the creation, adoption and expansion of Community Forests throughout BC, including our own, right here on the Sunshine Coast. Throughout the series, we will provide a detailed look at how and why the Community Forest was formed, how we are governed, how and where our product and our profit is distributed, how we differ from traditional Forestry companies, and what “Community” means, as it applies to the term “Community Forest”. We will also take a deep dive over several articles into an environmental initiative SCCF has undertaken called Ecosystem Based Management (EBM), which is a significant leveling-up in the practice of sustainable forestry. It may get a bit nerdy at times, but we think the science is fascinating and important, and we hope that the combined environmental and economic benefits of Community Forestry will keep you coming back!


Ɂulnumshchxw - Thank you


It is, first and foremost, a privilege to work with and on the lands of the shishalh Nation, in partnership and respect, as stewards of our shared forest. Without the partnership and approval process of the shishalh Nation, our operations would cease.


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. Communities practice sustainable forestry that provides local forest employment. This innovative form of forest management generates economic, social, cultural, and environmental benefits for local communities, the province, and the environment.


Community Forest Agreements were developed to give local communities the opportunity to manage local forests for the benefit of those communities, in a manner consistent with locally defined objectives and values.


All BC Community Forests are guided by 18 Indicators that measure the benefits to the local communities in which we operate, and which we report on annually. Those 18 Indicators are:

Community Forest Agreement holders are uniquely motivated to make investments in the forest resource because the agreement is long-term, area-based and managed by the community. They must live with the consequences of their decisions and so are empowered to manage the forest in ways that improve the ecological, economic and social wellbeing of their communities.


How Did Community Forestry Begin?

The emergence of Community Forest Agreements in BC was a direct consequence of the social

movement that stood for environmentally-based resource management in the late 80s and early 90s in BC. Since the adoption of the Community Forest model in BC in 1998, Community Forests have been established in approximately 100 rural, forested BC communities, including the Sunshine Coast.


The Community Forest model is based on “sustainable use and environmental

protection [that] intersects with ethical concerns for human rights and social justice and with local interests in improved livelihoods.” This is the working definition of Community-based forest management that best represents the objectives of the Community Forestry Agreement in British

Columbia.


How are Community Forests different from traditional Forestry Companies?


First and foremost, Community Forests are locally owned and managed - we are 100% owned by the District of Sechelt - and all of the surplus funds of our operation remain in the local community, and are distributed across the Sunshine Coast through Legacy Fund grants. Our Community Forest is a small organization, with a relatively small operating area, and yet still makes a significant annual contribution to local culture, families and not for profit organizations.


The involvement and participation of our community is our key organizational priority. Share your questions and feedback with us! Interested in getting even more involved?


We are currently inviting expressions of interest to join our Community Advisory Panel. Send us an email at info1@sccf.ca with the subject: Community Advisory Panel to get more involved with your Community Forest.