Model Forest Principles

The Model Forest approach follows six main principles, based on flexible landscape and ecosystem management that combines the social, environmental and economic needs of local communities with the long-term sustainability of large landscapes.


Each Model Forest is a neutral forum that welcomes voluntary participation of  stakeholder interests and values on the landscape.

Model Forest stakeholders represent diverse values and interest from various sectors of society who work towards a common vision for the sustainable management within a defined landscape.

  • A Model Forest aims at having representatives from the public, private and volunteer sectors, community organizations, academia and research institutions involved in its activities.
  • Involvement in all aspects of governance in the Model Forest is voluntary and inclusive.
  • No discrimination against groups or individuals exists within the Model Forest partnership.


A large-scale biophysical area representing a broad range of forest values, including social, cultural, economic and environmental concerns.

The natural resources in the Model Forest are recognized by the stakeholders in social, cultural, economic and ecological terms.

  • A Model Forest has a geographically defined area encompassing diverse ecosystems, resources management administrations and tenure agreements.
  • Forest and other natural resources provide communities with a range of goods, services and values.
  • A Model Forest is a working landscape reflective of the diverse interests and values of the stakeholders and the uses of the area’s natural resources.


Stakeholders are committed to the conservation and sustainable management of natural resources and the forested landscape.

Sustainable management practices promote the generation and equitable distribution of economic and social benefits derived from natural resources.

  • Model Forests foster economic growth and diversification aimed at sustainable community development.
  • Model Forests promote innovative mechanisms for pursuing the sustainable management of natural resources within a framework of just and equitable distribution of costs and benefits.

Model Forests support actions for maintaining ecological integrity on a landscape.

  • Model Forests explore and promote practices that contribute to maintaining and/or restoring the ecological integrity of the landscape.


The Model Forest management process is representative, participatory, transparent and accountable, and promotes collaborative work among stakeholders.

Stakeholders work together using consensus-based processes to attain the Model Forest’s objectives.

  • A vision for the sustainable management of the landscape and its natural resources is developed jointly by the stakeholders.
  • The Model Forest is a forum for exploring options to effectively address natural resources management conflicts.

The actions of the Model Forest are governed by principles of trust, transparency and collaborative decision-making, while respecting various interests and values.

  • Clear policies, procedures and practices are in place for stakeholders to express their views and influence decision-making.

The Model Forest has a structure that is transparent and accountable, sets priorities and manages activities effectively.

  • Committees, staffing and other executive mechanisms for developing and implementing activities are in place.


The activities undertaken by a Model Forest are reflective of the Model Forest’s vision and stakeholder needs, values and management challenges.

Model Forest management processes include effective planning and monitoring systems.

  • A strategic plan, with a program of activities reflective of stakeholder needs, values and issues, considers national forest programme objectives and other plans developed by broader jurisdictions.
  • Practical mechanisms for implementing and monitoring the strategic plan are in place.

Model Forests facilitate innovation in the sustainable management of natural resources.

  • Model Forests facilitate and promote research and the implementation of new and innovative ideas, processes, approaches and techniques in the sustainable management of natural resources.
  • Model Forest planning processes make use of best available traditional and scientific knowledge.
  • The Model Forest process generates information and synthesizes knowledge that informs local and national policy-making and global sustainability initiatives.


Model Forests build stakeholder capacity to engage in the sustainable management of natural resources, and collaborate and share results and lessons learned through networking.

Model Forests contribute to local and national capacity-building in the sustainable management of natural resources.

  • Model Forests undertake and promote training and mentorship activities.
  • Model Forest communication and outreach activities have demonstrable influence on stakeholders and the general public.

Model Forests exchange experiences and lessons learned with other Model Forests and organizations.

  • Model Forests share their achievements and lessons learned nationally, regionally and internationally using various activities and approaches.

Model Forests develop and participate in networking activities.

  • Model Forests engage in collaborative activities with other Model Forests.
  • Model Forests participate in activities and governance structures aimed at strengthening national regional and international Model Forest networks.
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