From September to December 2008 the Araucarias del Alto Malleco Model Forest (AAMF) in Chile undertook a participatory evaluation and strategic planning process. In the first stage of the process AAMF’s Monitoring and Evaluation Framework was used to evaluate the impacts of the 2005 -2008 Strategic Plan with the objective of assessing model forest successes and opportunities for continued improvement. During several community workshops, participatory mapping and brain storming exercises helped to define priorities for the next strategic plan which will be in effect from 2009 to 2012.

Representatives from Canada, Finland and Sweden met in February to identify research questions and priorities of transnational significance within the circumboreal region that have potential to be effectively addressed through model forests and other similar sites. The meeting took place at the Mekrijarvi Research Station, Ilomantsi Municipality, Finland.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has been developing the project "In Search of Exemplary Cases of Sustainable Forest Management" since 2007 with the purpose of disseminating the methods and results of best practices to other forests and countries in Latin American and the Caribbean.  The FAO project's expert panel selected the case of Finca Minetti, submitted by the Jujuy Model Forest, as one such case.

The Mediterranean Model Forest Network (MMFN) held its first formal Assembly on March 11-13, 2009 in Valladolid, Spain. The meeting was hosted by the Junta de Castilla y Leon, and was co-organized with the IMFN Secretariat. On March 11, 2009 the Vice-president of the Junta of Castilla y Leon, Mrs. Maria Jesus Ruiz Ruiz, and the IMFNS Executive Director, Mr. Peter Besseau, presided over the official European launch of the Network which was accompanied by the signature of the Valladolid Declaration.

The European Commission (EC) recently approved 1.35 million Euros over 3 years to enhance forest policy coordination through implementation of the model forest concept. Participants in the ‘Med Project' as it is known held their first Steering Committee meeting in conjunction with the Mediterranean Model Forest Network (MMFN) Gereral Assembly on March 11-13, 2009. The next meeting will be held on May 14-15, 2009, in Sardinia, Italy. Other funding opportunities for non-EU member regions are being explored by the MMFN.

The Foothills Research Institute Natural Disturbance Program has published two new reports. The first report is titled "The Healthy Landscape Approach to Land Management."  The Natural Disturbance Program proposes a Healthy Landscape Approach as an alternative land management model that focuses on ecosystem health as a primary and common management objective.

In March 2009, the IAMFN Management Team bid farewell to Segenet Tessema, a CUSO-VSO cooperant that supported the Regional Network in the area of resource mobilization for nine months. He has now returned to Canada with plans to move to Africa in the coming months. All the best in your future endeavours Segenet!

On December 9-10, 2008 a small advisory group met in Ottawa, Canada to provide input on Canada’s interests and priorities in the IMFN Circumboreal Initiative. Representatives from the Canadian Model Forest Network, Canadian Forest Service, Canadian Boreal Initiative, Sustainable Forest Management Network and the Forest Products Association of Canada focused on how the Circumboreal Initiative can find efficient and effective ways to address key issues and challenges in a manner that meets national needs while also generating benefits internationally.

The Canadian Model Forest Network (CMFN) gathered in Ottawa for three days in January for its semi-annual general meeting, bringing together the Presidents, General Managers and Communicators from the 14 member model forests, as well as representatives from the IMFN Secretariat. 

In December 2008, Peter Besseau, Director for the IMFN Secretariat and Brian Bonnell, IMFNS Senior Program Specialist, met with the Russian Federal Forest Agency (RFFA) in Moscow to discuss the future development of the Russian Model Forest Network. In the long-term, the RFFA would like to see a model forest established in each of the major forest regions of Russia of which there are close to 30. During 2009, three to five new model forests are expected to be established. Three model forest meetings have been scheduled: April 2009 in Tyumen, June and October in St. Petersburg.