The first community of practice (CoP) in the IMFN held its inaugural meeting online in May with representatives from four countries in attendance. Participants from Model Forests in Canada, Costa Rica, Colombia and Argentina, as well as the IMFN Secretariat and the Ibero-American Regional Network used collaborative tools to initiate the CoP focused on the theme of mycology (specifically edible mushroom collection and marketing). Spain and Puerto Rico also expressed their intentions to participate.

In May, Cachapoal Model Forest, Chile, hosted 26 representatives from 7 Model Forests, CUSO, the IMFN Secretariat and the Ibero-American Model Forest Network for a 2-day workshop on capturing lessons learned through the 'systematization' of experiences.

Executive Director Peter Besseau and Policy Advisor Nicolas Duval-Mace of the IMFN Secretariat successfully conducted a 3-week mission in North and Central Africa in May and June to initiate the Secretariat's new program for Africa, called the African Model Forest Initiative (AMFI). The AMFI aims to improve the conservation and sustainable management of forest resources in Francophone Africa, including the Congo Basin and Mediterranean region (Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria) through Model Forests.

Urbión Model Forest was awarded a 2008 Environmental Protection prize by the Region of Castilla and Leon in Spain. The jury emphasized the Model Forest’s “innovative character, integrating population and economic agents in sustainable forest management”. The president of the jury emphasized the balance between forest resource management and environmental conservation and services that the forest provides.

From the 6 - 7 of May the Ibero-American Model Forest Network (IAMFN) Board of Directors met in Santiago de Chile where they held successful discussions and shared information on a range of subjects. Management of the IAMFN was among the key issues debated during the meeting, including financial sustainability, governance and rural development.

A new directory, From Our Atlantic Woods, has been launched to market non-timber forest products in Atlantic Canada and the neighbouring state of Maine, USA.  Several forestry and agricultural organizations and agencies, including the Fundy Model Forest, supported the production of the directory, which is available in print form and on-line in both English and French.  It lists more than 200 small businesses that are trying to promote their products and reach local, regional and international customers.

From May 28 to June 2, the IMFN Secretariat’s Senior Program Specialist Brian Bonnell was in Ugorsk and Sovetski, Russia to participate in a conference on the state of boreal forests and to provide technical assistance to local stakeholders in the development of a new Model Forest. Russia’s Komi and Pskov Model Forests also participated in the conference to share their experiences in sustainable forest management. The proposed Ugorsk Model Forest is still in the early stages of development.

The posters for the 2008 IMFN Global Forum have been updated and made into booklets. They are available in English, French, Spanish and Arabic online at www.imfn.net under the Publications and Resources tab. The booklets make a wonderful outreach and promotional item for Model Forests or regional networks. Print your copy directly from the website. For pre-printed copies please contact the IMFN Secretariat at imfns@nrcan.gc.ca.

Participatory management of forests and protected areas: a trainer’s manual
Author: Worah,S.
Produced by: Regional Community Forestry Training Centre for Asia and the Pacific (2008)

In February, the IMFN Networking Committee (INC) met in Joensuu, Finland to review proposed Network Initiatives, agree on priority areas and a process for moving forward on the Initiatives, and to develop a draft work plan for networking activities. It was agreed that the INC needed to consider both: i) viewing model forests as recipients of networking (including identification of opportunities and obstacles for this), and ii) examining the networking mechanism(s) in greater detail.