Conference Sponsors

The Communities Committee

The Communities Committee grew out of the Seventh American Forest Congress. Its purpose is to focus attention on the interdependence between America's forests and the vitality of rural and urban communities. The Committee encourages policies and practices that:

  • Improve political and economic structures to enhance local community well-being and the long-term sustainability of forested ecosystems;

  • Increase the stewardship role for local communities in the maintenance and restoration of ecosystem integrity and biodiversity;

  • Ensure that ethnically and socially diverse members of urban and rural communities participate in decision making and sharing of the benefits of forests;

  • Encourage and enable the innovation and use of collaborative processes, tools, and technologies; and

  • Recognize the rights and responsibilities of diverse forest landowners.

The Communities Committee believes the four key principles of community forestry are stewardship; an open, transparent, and inclusive process; multiparty monitoring; and reinvestment in the land.

The Bolle Center for People and Forests

The Bolle Center for People and Forests was established in 1994 in the School of Forestry, The University of Montana, to honor the late Arnold Bolle, the former dean of the School and noted forest conservation leader. The mission of the Bolle Center for People and Forests is to provide interdisciplinary education, research, and community service to advance knowledge of the relationships between forests and people with the goal of ensuring the continued diversity, productivity, and beauty of forests through healthful co-existence with human communities.. Since fall 2003, Dr. Jill M. Belsky, Rural and Environmental Sociologist, directs the center.

The specific objectives of the Bolle Center for People and Forests are:

  • Provide interdisciplinary and innovative education on and off The University of Montana campus on issues related to interactions between people and forests, and which is responsive to a diversity of values and public concerns;

  • Support public understanding of the forces bearing on forests and forest management conditions, debates and possibilities;

    • Provide a medium for sharing information on current forest issues and policies with a broad range of people;

    • Respond to local, rural communities' and other groups' request for research and information to inform and assist them with forest-related activities;

  • Advance research and scholarship on topics related to the social, economic, political, and public policy dimensions of forests and forestry, in the region, nation, and internationally.

The Wilderness Society

Our goal is to ensure that future generations will enjoy, as we do today, the clean air and water, wildlife, beauty and opportunities for recreation and renewal that pristine forests, rivers, deserts and mountains provide. The Wilderness Society has a history of working with communities throughout the country to protect priority lands. Our Eastern Forests program is exploring tools for wildland protection in a landscape with little federal ownership. We are co-sponsoring this conference to further our own understanding of local land ownership options and to develop partnerships with communities to make wildlands protection an affordable component of local forest conservation efforts.

The Nature Conservancy of Montana

Our mission is to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive.

Swan Ecosystem Center

Swan Ecosystem Center (SEC) is a nonprofit citizens' group in the Swan Valley of northwestern Montana. People with diverse perspectives are learning about the ecosystem and participating in land management decision-making on public and private land. SEC helps citizens work with the Forest Service, other public agencies, schools, and representatives of the timber industry on projects designed to maintain the valley's rural and wild characteristics and a sustainable economy.

Northwest Connections

Northwest Connections engages in community based projects which assist land managers and private land owners in better understanding, conserving, and restoring critical habitats and habitat connections in Northwest Montana. Our conservation projects include grizzly bear and rare forest carnivore monitoring and whitebark pine restoration. These projects form the context for field ecology courses which we teach for university and high school students. Students team up with local residents on field projects as the basis for their learning about natural history, environmental issues and community based conservation. NwC explores new ways to integrate local knowledge and conventional scientific processes in the conservation of Montana's rural forest lands.

The Blackfoot Challenge

The Mission of The Blackfoot Challenge is to coordinate efforts that will enhance, conserve and protect the natural resources and rural lifestyle of the Blackfoot River Valley for present and future generations. We support environmentally responsible resource stewardship through cooperation of private and public interests. Private landowners, federal and state land managers, local government officials, and corporate landowners compose the informal membership. All share a common vision of how the Challenge operates in the Blackfoot watershed and believe that we can achieve success by building trust, partnerships, and working together.

Flathead Economic Policy Center

FEPC is a non-profit corporation based in Columbia Falls, MT. Its focus is community-based stewardship forestry and collaborative problem solving in natural resource-based communities. Currently FEPC facilitates local and regional multiparty monitoring teams for Forest Service stewardship contracting projects in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and Eastern Washington. It also conducts an urban-wildland interface fuels reduction project in Flathead County, MT, and provides a variety of training and technical assistance services for natural resource-related collaborative groups around the country. For more information contact Carol Daly at:

The Pinchot Institute for Conservation

The Pinchot Institute for Conservation is a non-profit organization located in Washington, D.C., which specializes in natural resource policy analysis, research, and education and is dedicated to providing leadership in forest conservation thought, policy, and action. Through its projects, the Institute facilitates communication and cooperation among resource managers, scientists, policymakers and the American public. In this way, the Institute hopes to continue Gifford Pinchot's legacy of conservation and sustainable forest management.

American Forests

Provides action opportunities to targeted audiences to enable them to improve their environment with trees. We do this by using the best science to identify conservation issues, then develop and market practical solutions that individuals and groups can apply. American Forests' targeted audiences are individuals, community groups, government at all levels, educators, and businesses.

Natural Resources Law Center

The NRLC is a non-profit research and educational center within the School of Law at the University of Colorado, Boulder. The center promotes sustainability in the rapidly changing American West by informing and influencing natural resources policies, and decisions.

Sustainability of the West includes preservation of its social, environmental, economic, and cultural resources. The Center's activities focus on objective and pragmatic ways to secure these broad elements of sustainability, concentrating in particular on its unique natural resources. Consistent with its mission of promoting sustainability, the Center is committed to producing objective research and providing a neutral forum for discussions. In conferences, research, and other activities, the goal of protecting the open spaces, public lands, and other natural resources of the West is balanced with that of helping people and communities to use lands and resources in ways that will sustain their livelihoods.

In order to improve the formulation and implementation of public policies, the Center provides governments, conservation organizations, business groups, community members, and other decision makers in the West with timely, practical, problem-solving research; helps national policy makers understand western trends, challenges, and innovations; and fosters national policies that reflect western realities. To accomplish our goals, we try to continually expand our audience of decision makers, broaden our network of partners and collaborators, and improve communications with our constituents.