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A Case for Indigenous Community Forestry


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Local control, benefits, and values are core principles of indigenous community forestry, which is a relevant management model for North America where communities and forests increasingly face competing and complex demands. In this article, we discuss the core principles and supporting conditions of indigenous community forestry in the context of Manitoba, Canada, where indigenous and forestry issues are closely connected. We characterize indigenous involvement in forest management in Canada to highlight the significance of forest-community connections and link recent developments to the Manitoba context to consider the potential for indigenous community forestry based on existing conditions, forest development opportunities, and needs.

Management and Policy Implications The recognition of indigenous rights is a fundamental aspect of sustainable forest development. Contemporary forest management across North America faces increasingly complex and competing demands, particularly in adapting to changing environmental and economic needs. Indigenous community forestry focuses on local control, benefits, and values and offers one approach to address forest management challenges. Regions with adequate natural capital, supportive policy, and tenure options to provide community timber access are well suited to explore community capacity and interest in this type of forest management practice. By providing a local forum for direct community participation and decision-making in natural resource development and planning, this approach can play a key role in promoting economic development and community well-being and supporting environmental management. Broader benefits are also associated with indigenous community forestry including collaboration, relationship building, and trust, as well as balancing local values, economic development, and conservation. Involving indigenous communities in forest management bridges traditional indigenous rights, knowledge systems, and values with scientific forestry, offering new opportunities and insights in contemporary forest management.

Keywords: case study; community forestry; indigenous forestry; sustainability

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2017

This article was made available online on January 19, 2017 as a Fast Track article with title: "A Case for Indigenous Community Forestry".

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