An economic analysis that quantifies the cumulative, historical economic contributions of community forests to rural communities in B.C. was recently released. Community Forests — Community Benefits: The Economic Contributions of Community Forest to Rural Communities, examines the significant value of the province’s community forests.

The report was commissioned by the Southern Interior Beetle Action Coalition (SIBAC) with the cooperation and assistance of the B.C. Community Forest Association (BCCFA).

The report demonstrates community forests in B.C. are playing a critical role in the economies of many of B.C.’s smaller rural communities.

Against a pervasive trend of sawmill closures, forest sector job losses, and reduced municipal industrial tax revenues, community forests offer rural communities and First Nations an opportunity to directly benefit from the forest sector operations surrounding their communities.

“SIBAC’s analysis is an important contribution to the growing evidence in support of community forestry in BC. By documenting the economic impacts of community forests in the context of the challenges faced by rural, forest-dependent communities, the report underscores how community forests can be significant tools for economic development, helping to build resiliency in our communities and our forests,” stated Erik Leslie, BCCFA president.

“We are proud to release this important document with the cooperation of the BCCFA. There is no doubt the future viability of many of our small, forestry-dependent communities hinges on our ability to think out of the box. Community forests, given their local control and their ability to take local challenges and opportunities into account in shaping their operations, can play a crucial role in protecting and furthering the interests of many rural British Columbia communities, today and into the future,” concluded SIBAC board chair, Rhona Martin.

To download the report, click here.