2008 Archives

Model Forests Participate in New Program for Canada’s Forest Communities
In July, the Canadian government announced a commitment of CAD 25 million over five years for a new Forest Communities Program (FCP).  The new program, which replaces funding previously available under Canada’s Model Forest Program, will support 11 forest community regions across Canada develop and share new knowledge, tools and practices to help them meet the challenges of a changing forest industry and take advantage of emerging forest-based economic opportunities. The program will also support collaboration on forest community issues at the national level.

The new program has four objectives:

  • To develop new forest-based economic opportunities through collaboration with industry and other community stakeholders
  • To facilitate capacity-building and engagement of communities to meet sector transition issues
  • To promote integrated, cross-sectoral approaches to forest land management
  • To share best practices and information tools with forest communities across Canada and internationally

"The new Forest Communities Program reflects changing circumstances and opportunities for forest communities in Canada," said Brian Wilson, National Director of Programs with Natural Resources Canada–Canadian Forest Service’s (NRCan–CFS) Science and Programs Branch. "We look forward to building a strong and renewed relationship with Model Forests, who will be key players and collaborators in advancing the FCP`s objectives for forest communities, both in Canada and internationally."      

Seven of the successful sites chosen to participate in the new program are members of the IMFN. The remaining four are exploring the possibility of joining the Network.  “The expected addition of new Model Forests in Canada is good news for the International Model Forest Network”, said IMFNS Director Peter Besseau. “We look forward to engaging these new sites as active members of the IMFN.”

NRCan–CFS is in discussions to complete multi-year funding agreements with the 11 FCP sites. Moreover, at the national level, the department has signed a Memorandum of Understanding to pursue collaborative initiatives with the Canadian Model Forest Network, and is negotiating a multi-year funding agreement. An inaugural meeting of Forest Community Program participants is being held in Ottawa September 27-28, 2007.      

Five Years of Model Forests in Cameroon: Evolution and Relevance of the Concept in the Congo Basin
From 2002 – 2007, the International Model Forest Network (IMFN) Secretariat and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), together with site partners, international agencies (the Canadian International Development Agency—CIDA, Central African Forest Commission—COMIFAC, the World Conservation Union—IUCN and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations—FAO) and Cameroon’s forest administration, worked to develop Model Forests in that country to act as pilot sites for the Congo Basin: Campo-Ma’an in the South and Dja et Mpomo in the East.

To date, the Model Forest initiative has achieved its phase one goals of concept acceptance and the development of methodological tools for the implementation of partnerships in Cameroon. One priority criteria for the success of the project has been strong participation by local populations, the forest administration, regional and international partners, development agencies, researchers, conservationists, civil society and economic partners.

The implementation of Model Forests as social platforms for the design and execution of rural economic development strategies and local governance structures is planned for 2007 – 2012 (phase 2). The extension of a Model Forest learning and exchange network at the national and sub-regional levels will also be included in this phase.

Support for Cameroon’s sites and an eventual Congo Basin Model Forest Network remains strong. Negotiations are currently underway to secure multi-year funding opportunities with international donors.

Changes in LAC-Net Management Team
Olga Marta Corrales left August 15, 2007, after serving as general manager of LAC-net for more than two years to become co-leader of the Environmental Socio-Economic and Governance group at CATIE. CUSO cooperant Fernando Carrera is the current general manager. LAC-Net's management team will continue on as before with ongoing support from CATIE. We wish the best for Olga in her new position and thank her for all her contributions to the Regional Network.

Puerto Rico Joins LAC-Net
In April 2007, Edgardo González, the Director of Puerto Rico’s National Forest Service officially expressed his country’s interest in joining the Regional Model Forest Network for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC-Net).

At the LAC-Net Board of Directors meeting in Bolivia in April, Dr. Arturo Massoul, a professor at the University of Puerto Rico (Mayagüez) and Director of the Environmental Education Program at the Community Institute for Biodiversity and Culture (Casa Pueblo), gave a presentation on the Casa Pueblo program. Casa Pueblo was the result of more than 27 years’ experience managing woodlands Puerto Rico and its vision closely reflects that of the IMFN. The Regional Board then approved Puerto Rico’s request to join LAC-Net. At the November Board meeting in Honduras a site proposal will be submitted to LAC-Net for the Board’s consideration.

Polish Convergence Explores Model Forest Approach to Sustainability
More than 70 representatives from Poland, Sweden, Germany, Ukraine, Estonia, Spain, Finland and Canada attended a conference from May 14 –19, 2007, in Poland on that country’s promotional forest complex (PFC) system. The PFC initiative, launched in 1994, was designed to develop landscape bases for experimentation, demonstration and knowledge sharing. The PFC now includes 19 different sites, covering approximately 1 million hectares, equivalent to about 12% of the total forest cover in Poland.

During the conference, a key activity was to compare and contrast the Model Forest concept and similar initiatives underway in northern Europe. The 6-day event concluded with an assessment of the Polish PFC system using the framework of the Model Forest concept, which may lead to a valuable opportunity to develop a northern European network of landscape level sites in connection with the International Model Forest Network and the Baltic Forest initiative. For more information, please contact Johan Svensson at johan.svensson@skogsstyrelsen.se.

Launch of the International Community–University Research Alliance Program
Canada’s International Development Research Centre and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada are investing up to $6.3 million over the next six years to support international research alliances. This partnership will engage teams from Canada and developing countries in comparative and collaborative research, while working with people in communities that will directly benefit from the research.

The joint program will encourage strategic research in four areas:

  • Environment and natural resource management
  • Information and communication technologies for development
  • The impact of science, technology and innovation policies on development
  • Social and economic policy related to poverty reduction, growth, health and human rights

Joint proposals from Canadian and from lower and middle income country teams are invited to submit research proposals. Up to nine proposals will receive seed funding—as much as $30,000 each—to develop a research alliance that involves researchers and community partners. Three alliances will then be funded to a maximum of $2 million each over five years. All proposals will be selected through international peer review to ensure they meet the highest standards of excellence.

Application forms, guidelines, and contact information can be foundon the IDRC website at www.idrc.ca. 

Letter of Intent Deadline is: November 21, 2007

International Advisory Council Called
IMFNS Board of Directors Chair, Jim Farrell, invited leading sustainable natural resource management experts from around the world to Ottawa for discussions on the future of the IMFN within the global landscape of sustainable forest management (SFM) initiatives. The advisory council was also asked to explore options for ensuring that the Network will not only continue to grow, but that its work will be relevant and put to use.

This first meeting of the International Advisory Council took place October 11 and 12 and included Dr. Hosny El Lakany, Adjunct Professor, Forest Resources Management Department, University of British Columbia; Risto Paivinen, Director, European Forest Institute; Dr. Chimère Diaw of CIFOR; Dr. Peter Bridgewater, former Secretary General, Ramsar Convention; Nik Lopoukhine, Chair, IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, and; IMFNS Board members.

In drawing this group together, a conscious effort was made to engage experts with little previous knowledge and/or involvement with the IMFN to get genuinely external perspectives and views, to be able to compare and contrast the IMFN with other SFM initiatives, and also to increase the chances of  taking the discussion in new directions. By all accounts the exchanges were very successful in meeting these goals.

Day one of the meeting was largely used to dig into the history and experience of the IMFN as it has evolved over the past 12 years, since the Secretariat was established, while the second day was devoted to looking forward and to some specific ideas about how the IMFN can best position itself. There was strong consensus that the long-term relationships fostered through the Model Forest structure are valuable and unique contributions, as well as the fact that the Model Forest concept appears to be successfully applying an ecosystem-based approach. The fact that the approach can and does work in highly divergent locations, and that there is a specific objective of networking to accelerate knowledge and innovation, were also highlighted as important elements that should be more strongly profiled to the international community.

However, it was also noted that the IMFN’s “body of evidence”, demonstrating its impacts and illustrating the work that is going on on-the-ground, remains underdeveloped and the initiative itself remains poorly profiled internationally. The Secretariat was enjoined to work more assertively to seek and secure its place on the international SFM stage and to assemble a data and knowledge base that will tell the Model Forest story.

Based on these discussions, and these and other recommendations, the IMFNS has already initiated work, and it will take advantage of the June 2008 Global Forum in particular to better document the IMFN story. A record of the discussion will be posted on the IMFNS website shortly.

Valued IMFN Colleague Moves On
The International Model Forest Network would like to thank Santiago Elmúdesi for his more than 10 years as General Manager of Chiloé Model Forest in Chile. After a long and difficult deliberation period, Santiago recently presented his resignation to the Chiloé Model Forest Board of Directors. Under his term, Chiloé Model Forest flourished into a global example of sustainable community based development. His enthusiasm and knowledge will be missed. We wish Santiago all the best in his upcoming pursuits. Thank you Santiago!

IMFN Networking Committee Holds Inaugural Meeting
With rapid expansion in the IMFN, and with clear potential for further growth, the Network needs to review and update the idea of “networking” in terms of its purpose, structure, form and function. Within this same context, it needs to look at the respective roles of IMFN members and at issues such as organizational and financial support for networking, as well as the strategic niches that the Network and its members can fill.

During a meeting held alongside the launch of the Urbion Model Forest in Spain, representatives from all regions of the IMFN discussed and agreed to move forward to formally establish a networking committee. To that end, the IMFNS hosted a meeting in Ottawa in October where regional network representatives formally met for the first time to discuss the theme of international networking as it relates to Model Forests.

During the Ottawa meeting, participants discussed how the committee’s role would be to plan and take action on behalf of IMFN members in the domain of “networking.” More specifically, the Networking Committee will act as a strategic group attached to the IMFN Secretariat; as a body that identifies trends, issues, and opportunities of global or regional importance, drawn from Network member experience, and; as a facilitator and focal point for information, expertise and experience flow between regions.

Participants were also clear to express what the committee is not—it is not a political or governing body; it is not bureaucratic or hierarchical, and; it does not see itself as the only place for strategic analysis, scientific synthesis, resource mobilization, or other functions which should in fact be multi-level realities in the Network.

An historical overview and other background information on the IMFN Networking Committee will soon be available on the IMFN website. Minutes from the October meeting will be made available upon completion. For more information, please contact IMFNS Executive Director Peter Besseau at pbesseau@nrcan.gc.ca.

Circumboreal Initiative: Next Steps
Climate change and its impacts on rural communities must be understood at an ecosystem level. This theme is what representatives from Model Forests and related organizations in circumboreal nations discussed in Ottawa on October 18. The strategic discussion isolated climate change, biodiversity and sustainable communities as shared themes of high importance across the boreal in Sweden, Russia and Canada.

Recognizing that the Model Forest Network cannot act as the sole testing and demonstration outlet, Model Forests are very well positioned to initiate and lead on this area of work. Model forests have 15 years of experience in the boreal—monitoring it, amassing background and testing carbon models. They also have direct links to rural communities struggling to adapt to the effects of climate change on their livelihoods and landscapes. Because of their longevity, efficiency as a delivery mechanism and landscape level approach Model Forests do have a role to play.

Governments from boreal nations must recognize a common interest and dedicate resources behind testing climate change concepts on the ground. Next steps toward this goal include:

  • Developing terms of reference for a circumboreal working group
  • Developing a joint concept paper (Canada, Sweden and Russia) that will be used to solicit participation from other boreal nations
  • Promoting the concept at the federal level with the intent to confirm support for a circumboreal approach
  • Securing funding

For more information, please contact Peter Besseau, IMFNS Executive Director, at pbesseau@nrcan.gc.ca.

Swedish-Canadian Sami-Indigenous Leadership Exchange
A delegation of six indigenous student leaders from the Prince Albert Model Forest area visited Sweden on September 8-19 as part of a Sami-Indigenous Leadership Exchange Program between Sweden and Canada, supported by the Embassy of Canada in Stockholm. The purpose of the exchange was to share ideas and experiences, deepen the cooperation between Swedish and Canadian indigenous leaders and further reinforce the links between the Model Forests in Sweden and Canada. In March 2007, the Embassy supported a visit of six Sami youth leaders from Northern Sweden to the Prince Albert Model Forest in Saskatchewan. The exchange allowed the Sami representatives the opportunity to share information about their culture and learn about indigenous culture and heritage.

Indigenous youth leaders traveling to Sweden were selected from a group of Métis and First Nations Youth Leaders involved in or studying natural resource management. Their selection was based upon their personal connection to their Metis or First Nations heritage, communication skills, as well as their capacity to act as role models and ambassadors.

Once in Sweden, the student leaders visited the Vilhelmina Model Forest in the Northern part of the country, met with senior leaders from the Sami community and Sami Parliament, learned about reindeer husbandry, hunting practices, and Sami cultural heritage. They also paid a visit to Stockholm to meet with the Ambassador of Canada to Sweden Alexandra Volkoff, senior representatives from Sweden’s National Museum of Ethnography and researchers on Canada’s First Nations from the University of Stockholm. The delegation’s visit to Northern Sweden received extensive coverage in the Swedish press.

Ulot Watershed Model Forest Stakeholders Pursue Funding for Ecotourism and Poverty Alleviation Activities
The Ulot Watershed Model Forest Stakeholders Federation has submitted project proposals to various institutions to help them pursue ecotourism and poverty alleviation activities targeted for implementation in 2008. The promotion and implementation of ecotourism and economic development activities are expected to reduce forest exploitation in the Ulot Watershed and its adjoining ecosystems.

This work is an offshoot of a project proposal preparation and negotiation training session conducted for Ulot Model Forest stakeholders by Model Forest staff members who attended a 2006 joint sponsored Venture for FundraisingIDRC—IMFNS project proposal workshop.

The proposals for funding include:

  • A Concept Proposal on Household Land Agro-forestry Development Project (HLAFDP). Among other things, the objectives are to promote sustainable farming techniques, to promote soil and water conservation measures, and to increase the capability of farmer beneficiaries through the development of other locally relevant technologies.
  • An Eco-Trail and View Deck Project. The long-term goal of this proposed ecotourism project is to protect, develop and manage Mt. Campo Uno, Ulot Watershed, which is near the Samar Island Natural Park Protected Area.
  • The “Walk in the Park Project” aims to elicit donations, contributions, endowments and grants from various government agencies, private sectors and individuals (either in cash or in kind) to be used for the construction of the eco-trail, elevated forest trail and view deck. This initiative is patterned on other protected areas with similar eco-tourism best practices.
  • The Rehabilitation of the Ulot Watershed for Poverty Alleviation. The goal is to reduce the Ulot Watershed’s rate of forest degradation through various awareness and economic development components such as agro-forestry, reforestation, and rattan and timber stand improvement.
  • The installation of ecotourism billboards for the Ulot Watershed Ecotourism Loop, which is also the habitat of the famous national bird, the Philippine Eagle, a near endangered species. The purpose of the billboards is to inform visitors, ecological enthusiasts and the general public about the Model Forest’s Ecotourism Loop.

Stakeholders are targeting ecotourism activities that reflect their agreed upon ecotourism development plan. The plan was facilitated by a non-governmental organization, Yakap Kalikasan, in February 2007.

Staff at the Samar Island Natural Park Protected Area, an Ulot Watershed Model Forest partner, helped stakeholders prepare the proposals. For more information, please contact Purificacion Daloos at psdaloos@yahoo.com

Tech-Savvy Communications: A Toolkit for Nonprofits
Technology offers numerous options to enhance an organization's outreach, marketing and communications. This toolkit aims to provide nonprofits with practical guidance to improve their communication strategy through the efficient use of technology. It is available on the Eldis website at http://www.eldis.org/go/topics/resource-guides/manuals-and-toolkits/communication-manuals&id=31425&type=Document.

Conference Funding Available
Capacity building and networking are crucial elements in Model Forest programming, and attending conferences and workshops is a good way to build on both. That's why the IMFN Secretariat is making funding available for developing and transition country Model Forest representatives wishing to participate in a conference or workshop relevant to their area of work. Please note there is an approval process. Further, participants will have to cover their costs in advance and IMFNS will reimburse them afterward (with submission of original receipts). For more information, please contact IMFNS Network Liaison Officer, Christa Mooney, at cmooney@nrcan.gc.ca a minimum of two months prior to your event.

FAO database on funding sources
Obtaining financial resources is a major concern when implementing national forest program (NFP) activities. This database, provided by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, is aimed at sharing existing information on available funding that could be used for NFP activities. It has detailed information on support provided by financial institutions, foundations, multilateral development banks and donor agencies. Before submitting an application for funding, please check eligibility requirements. The database can be found at: http://www.nfp-facility.org/forestry/site/30765/en/

WWF Prince Bernhard Scholarships for conservation
Prince Bernhard Scholarships (PBS) are awarded to individuals wishing to pursue professional studies or training in the field of conservation or associated disciplines. Applications are encouraged from people seeking to build skills in specific subjects that will enhance their contribution to nature conservation. In particular, women and people working for non-governmental or community-based organizations are encouraged to apply. PBS scholars are expected to return to their home country or region to work in conservation, or a related field, after completion of their studies. Deadline is January 11, 2008. For more information please visit http://www.panda.org/how_you_can_help/volunteer/prince_bernhard_scholarships/index.cfm