What is a Community Forest?

What Is a Community Forest?

We envision a world where people and nature thrive together.

Community forestry is a flexible model for a human-nature partnership based on local stewardship of our natural resources. A community forest empowers local residents to control decisions on forest management and use, and to derive benefits from both. Every community forest has unique circumstances and community-set objectives.

The Teanaway Community Forest is just one model of community forestry in Washington. Photo by John Marshall.

Whether the underlying ownership is public or private, the core tenets of community forestry are:

  • The community is involved in the establishing the community forest;

  • The community forest is owned and managed by or on behalf of a community;

  • The governance structure ensures collaboration and community participation in management decisions;

  • The community has access to the value and benefits of the forest that support and reinforce community priorities; and

  • The forest is permanently protected from conversion to development.

Community forestry supports diverse recreation opportunities for locals and visitors. Here, residents enjoy mountain biking on the trails between the Teanaway Community Forest and Roslyn Urban Forest. Photo by John Marshall.

Common Objectives and Benefits for Community Forests

  • Build forest health and resiliency through restoration and controlled burning;

  • Provide local jobs in forest products and outdoor recreation;

  • Protect working forests from conversion to development;

  • Conserve clean water supplies and healthy fish and wildlife habitat;

  • Engage and train local youth to achieve forest management goals;

  • Maintain and enhance diverse recreation opportunities at low cost to community members;

  • Empower underserved community members to connect to and benefit from the forest;

  • Establish a public process to ensure local control and responsiveness to new proposals.