Background Information & Useful Resources

The resources provided on this page pertain to community forestry in general and other related background information. See Community Forests for resources pertaining to locally owned and managed Community Forests.

Community Forestry includes a wide array of options for communities to influence and benefit from forest management. Community forest ecosystem management is rooted in the conviction that human communities and forest ecosystems are interdependent. It starts with the principle of stewardship, a commitment to maintaining and restoring the health of the land. It requires open, inclusive, and democratic decision making processes and community empowerment. It emphasizes reinvestment in the land, and includes a firm commitment to monitoring and learning. The concept is explained in more detail in Understanding Community-Based Forest Ecosystem Management (Gerald J. Gray, Maia J. Enzer, and Jonathan Kusel, editors), Hayworth Press, Inc., Binghamton, NY, 2001.

Community Forestry might include: collaborative planning efforts or stewardship contracts for federal lands, local advisory groups that help set policy for national land trust ownership, associations of wildcrafters who harvest nontimber forest products on public and private lands, or cooperatives that allow individual woodlot owners to collaborate on processing or marketing of their forest products and services.

View information on changing trends in forestland ownership.


What is Community Forestry and Why Does It Matter?
This essay by the National Community Forestry Center Northern Forest Region August, 2000 defines what community forestry is in the United States and examines how it is being applied in communities around the country.The readings in this packet have been chosen to provide some examples of the way community forestry has developed over time and in different contexts. A great introduction to community forestry.

Forest Communities, Community Forests: A collection of community forestry case studies.
2003. Rowman and Littlefield.

Community Forestry in the United States: Learning from the Past, Crafting the Future
By Mark Baker and Jonathan Kusel
This book takes an analytically rigorous and historically informed assessment of has come to be called community forestry. It examines the current state of community forestry through a grounded assessment of where it stands now and where it might go in the future. The book not only clarifies the state of the movement, but also suggests a trajectory and process for its continued development.

Sustainable Woods Cooperative: Lessons Learned In Its 5 Years.
May, 2003. Minneapolis, MN
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

Additional Web Links

National Community Forestry Center Northern Forest Region
The National Community Forestry Center (NCFC) is made up of a collection of scientists, researchers, field technicians, managers, community leaders, and more. These many diverse individuals come together under NCFC to further the goals of community forestry. The Center will recognize and address forest-related issues in the context of the whole community system, not in isolation from it. The whole community system includes community history, culture, social, environmental, political, economic, and spiritual conditions that interact to produce opportunities and constraints in the use of forests and other community assets.

National Network of Forest Practitioners
The National Network of Forest Practitioners is an alliance of rural people working on the ground to build a forest economy that is ecologically sound and socially just. We are a clearinghouse for information and technical assistance, and a place for people to meet, learn, and make their voices heard. As one of the leading community forestry organizations in the United States, we help people solve problems, experiment with new approaches, work with unconventional partners, and compete in the marketplace. Together, we are advocating for a fundamental change in forestry and forest conservation, toward placing greater value on the long-term well-being of the environment, communities, and workers.

Community Forestry Resource Center
The Community Forestry Resource Center (CFRC), established by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, promotes responsible forest management by encouraging the long-term health and prosperity of small, privately-owned woodlots, their owners and their communities.

Forest Community Research
Forest Community Research is a non-profit organization advancing community well-being and community-based approaches to ecosystem management. Forest Community Research advocates participatory research, coordination between community groups and the development of indicators to measure, monitor, and assess community well-being and eco-system health.

Local People, Devolution and Adaptive Collaborative Management of Forests Programme
A comprehensive list of publications and reports for download related to community forestry, local people, and collaboration.