Evaluation of Forest-based Community Partnerships Sub-Activity

Reports 2011

Table of Contents


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Purpose

This is an evaluation of Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan) Canadian Forest Service Forest-based Community Partnerships Sub-Activity (2010-11 Program Activity Architecture 1.2.2) consisting of two programs:  the Forest Communities Program (FCP); and the discontinued First Nations Forestry Program (FNFP).  The evaluation covers the period 2005-06 to 2009-10Footnote 1 representing approximately $19.1 million (FCP $10.4 million and FNFP $8.7 million) in NRCan expenditures over five years.  This sub-activity seeks partnerships with forest-based communities across Canada in order to undertake research, analysis and pilot approaches to support forest-based community sustainability.

Created in 2007 after the conclusion of the Canadian Model Forest Program, the Forest Communities Program assists community-based partnerships to develop and share knowledge, strategies and tools to adjust to forest sector transition and to take advantage of emerging forest-based opportunities.  The Forest Communities Program is a $25-million, 5-year program that provides funds to eleven sites across Canada and the Canadian Model Forest Network, as well as national and international projects.  On average, about 172 projects are funded annually.

The First Nations Forestry Program was a federally-funded program that worked to build First Nations’ capacity to participate in and benefit from sustainable forest management and forest-based economic opportunities.  Jointly funded by NRCan and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC), the Program positioned communities to participate in and benefit from forest-based development opportunities both on and off-reserve.  The Program was first introduced in May 1996 and expired on March 31, 2011.  Annually, the FNFP supported about 145 projects to increase the forestry capacity of First Nations by supporting four inter-related business lines: forest management activities, business development, skills training and access to resources.

Objectives

The objective of the sub-activity is to assist community-based partnerships to develop capacity and share knowledge, strategies and tools to adjust to forest sector transition, to sustainably manage their forest resources, and to take advantage of emerging forest-based opportunities.

Evaluation Issues and Methodology

This evaluation examined the Forest-based Communities Sub-Activity’s relevance and performance (effectiveness, efficiency, economy).  The evaluation included a literature and document review, in-depth case studies of 34 projects (FCP 24, FNFP 10), and 69 interviews with key internal and external stakeholders.  The Forest Communities Program was the primary focus of the evaluation.  The First Nations Forestry Program was not covered as extensively as the FCP due to its termination at the end of 2010-11.

The evaluation encountered several limitations.  One was the recent establishment of the FCP. While seven of the eleven sites in the FCP were recipients of funding under the previous Model Forest Program, the objectives and outputs of the two programs are different.  Establishing a complete picture proved to be difficult, as projects have only begun to show results.  It was difficult to determine results from the terminated FNFP.  Several staff members have already moved on and were unavailable for interviews and to assist in the collection of documentation.

Relevance

The evaluation found that while there is a continued need for federal government involvement in forest-based communities, there are issues about NRCan’s role in these programs for two main reasons:

  1. The relevance of these two specific programs:  because of their small size, their impact on addressing the significant challenges experienced by the forestry sector could only be marginal;
  2. The overall relevance of NRCan in engaging in such programs: while NRCan is well positioned to offer knowledge and expertise on the forestry sector, other partners may be better able to provide program delivery of economic development/community-based programs.

Because of these two issues, questions have been raised on the relevance of NRCan’s role in economic development and capacity building in forest-based communities.  The economic development portion and capacity building of the Forest Communities Program may be best delivered through other departments with stronger mandates and more substantial funding.  The FCP is small and work undertaken at the eleven sites will not transform the approximately 200 rural and remote forest-dependent communities within the Canadian forestry sector.

In recent decades, NRCan’s role with forest communities relates to natural resource sector competitiveness and social well-being.  Support to forest-based communities is intended to build capacity in support of a competitive forest industry, as well as to enable economic development through the pursuit of new forest-based economic opportunities by communities.  These communities now have the opportunity to address their overall needs through much larger, more comprehensive programs from other federal government departments.

In 1991, the CFS recognized the need for a neutral forum that respected individual interests but endeavoured to achieve common goals related to sustainable forest management.  It was in this context that Canada’s Model Forest Program materialized in 1992.  In 1996, the First Nations Forestry Program was launched with the purpose of promoting sound forestry management and increasing First Nations access to forest-based economic opportunities.

The needs of the Canadian forestry sector have changed greatly during the last decade due to the transformation of the forestry industry and the global economic downturn.  From 2000 to 2008, direct jobs in the forestry industry declined by 37%, with a loss of over 100,000 direct jobs in the approximately 200 forest-based communities in the country.  Based on this, in July 2007, NRCan launched the Forest Communities Program to help communities meet the opportunities and challenges associated with a changing forest sector. 

The restructuring of the forestry sector and the global economic downturn has had a significant economic impact on both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal forest-based communities across Canada.  Over the past few years, the federal government has announced several initiatives that are helping to sustain and enhance Canada’s forest industry and the communities that depend on it.  One initiative is the Community Adjustment Fund (part of the Canada’s Economic Action Plan) which was launched in 2009 focusing on the creation of short-term employment to support communities and the sectors that contribute to their viability.

The federal government has a fiduciary responsibility for First Nations and other Aboriginal people, with AANDC being the department primarily responsible for delivering the government’s Aboriginal programs, and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) responsible for delivering those programs related to worker skills development and employment.  The 2009 Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development placed an emphasis on a whole Government approach for the economic development of First Nations, leading to the development of the Aboriginal Forestry Initiative.

In the case of the discontinued First Nations Forestry Program, it was already recognized that AANDC should be leading First Nations programs with NRCan playing a key role in providing forestry knowledge.  This is the structure that AANDC’s new Aboriginal Forestry Initiative will take where significant funding is being made available for economic development and capacity building.  The CFS provides a leadership role in the Aboriginal Forestry Initiative in partnership with more than 15 other federal departments and agencies, and in support of the Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development.  The Initiative serves as a knowledge centre for Aboriginal forestry and forest sector innovation, and facilitates knowledge exchange and coordination of federal and other support to opportunity-ready Aboriginal forestry projects and partnerships.

In general, the federal objectives for communities are focused on economic development, capacity building and safety.  These federal roles involve the investment of billions of dollars annually, with the delivery of large-scale programs through departments and agencies such as AANDC, HRSDC, the Regional Development Agencies, Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Rural Secretariat and Infrastructure Canada. 

Despite the rapid evolution of the Canadian forestry sector and the changing nature of the federal role within the sector, the evaluation also found that both programs did work towards the strategic objectives of NRCan and were consistent with government priorities.

Performance

Recognizing that the FCP is small and will not transform the Canadian forestry sector, most of the immediate and some of the intermediate outcomes of the FCP have been achieved, in terms of performance and efficiency based on the program mandate and allocated resources, in line with expectation at this stage in its history.  The capacity of forest-based communities to respond to forest sector transition has increased, and significant achievements have been made in increasing collaboration at the community and regional level.  The Program has brought most of the significant players on the forest landscape around the same tables in the 11 sites to exchange knowledge and viewpoints, discuss solutions, and plan initiatives.  The majority of interviewees are clear that the FCP’s good performance is rooted in the effectiveness of each site’s multi-sector partnerships. 

With the shift away from sustainable forest management to economic development, unintended outcomes for the FCP were a decrease in research capacity; and loss of some traditional partners within the sites.  These were elements of the past Model Forest Program and regarded as critical to progress in sustainable landscape management. 

There appears to be inconsistencies in the application of the FCP across Canada in that program activities supported in some regions (e.g., wildlife-forestry dynamics, development of climate change adaptation strategies) are not accepted in other regions.

The First Nations Forestry Program concentrated on developing the basic skills and knowledge among community members in areas such as forest planning, forest equipment handling and maintenance, forest surveys, fire prevention and firefighting skills, business feasibility studies and operational forestry.  As a result, the Program’s successes must be measured in terms of individual and community benefits. 

The First Nations Forestry Program stimulated significant capacity in Aboriginal communities.  More than 1,600 First Nations workers have participated in specialized training, 80 business plans have been developed and 59 feasibility studies have resulted in business partnerships and contracting successes in First Nations communities including forest surveys, fire prevention and firefighting, and culturally-sensitive forest planning.  In addition, several communities have taken over forest management responsibilities from provincial authorities and have obtained forest land certification.  During the period 2005-06 to 2010-11, based on data from the final reports of project proponents, it is estimated that over 5,000 jobs were created (short and long-term, First Nations and non-First Nations).

Interviewees stated that the major factors affecting FNFP performance were having such small scale projects (average $30,000), and spreading out the small amounts of funding so widely. 

The main positive factor affecting performance for both programs in the sub-activity was the effectiveness of multi-sector partnerships.  Many partners and stakeholders invest their time and resources on a volunteer or in-kind basis and most have continued to do so for extended periods of time.

Efficiency and Economy

The FCP and FNFP were found to perform in an efficient manner.  Programs were expected to leverage significant additional cash and in-kind funding at a 1:2 ratio.  During the evaluation period, FCP’s leveraging was 1:3 and FNFP’s was 1:2.  The FCP is supported by eight full-time employees in the NRCan-CFS regional offices and the National Capital Region.  In the same manner, the FNFP was delivered by a total of 20 full-time equivalent staff from 2005-06 to 2009-10.

Recommendations and Management Responses 
Recommendations Management Responses Responsible Official/Sector (Target Date)
1.      NRCan (CFS) should explore whether there are possible synergies and economies among the Forest Communities Program, the Canadian Model Forest Network and the International Model Forest Network. Agreed.  The CFS is actively seeking to realize administrative and operational efficiencies in the management of its community–related programs.  The CFS will continue to seek efficiencies and economies between the FCP, the Canadian Model Forest Network, the International Model Forest Network and other interested parties, as well as to draw relevant lessons and learning from this experience for its policy/program decision-making. ADM, CFS (September, 2012)
2.      NRCan (CFS) should engage in a dialogue with the Forest Communities Program sites to determine if it is desirable to attempt to bring some former and traditional Model Forest Program partners (i.e., industry/provincial governments) into the current program sites. Agreed.  The CFS is encouraging the FCP sites to engage key former partners (i.e., industry) in an effort to reinstate their involvement in forest-based community programming. ADM, CFS (On-going)
3.      NRCan (CFS) should work with the FCP sites and the Canadian Model Forest Network to identify opportunities for conducting research.  Agreed.  In its approach to community programs and policies, the CFS will work with the Canadian Model Forest Network and other relevant partners to identify collaborative research opportunities. ADM, CFS (April, 2012)
4.      NRCan (CFS) should clarify its position on consistency to address concerns about variations in FCP activities. Agreed.  Directors responsible for the FCP will identify and articulate the balance between national consistency and regional tailoring in order to ensure transparency and standardization. ADM, CFS (January, 2012)

1.0     Introduction and Background

1.1     Introduction

This is an evaluation of Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan) Forest-based Community Partnerships Sub-Activity (2010-11 PAA 1.2.2) consisting of two programs:  the Forest Communities Program (FCP); and the First Nations Forestry Program (FNFP).  The evaluation covers the period 2005-06 to 2009-10Footnote 2 representing approximately $19.1 million (FCP $10.4 million and FNFP $8.7 million) in NRCan expenditures over five years.

The evaluation of the Forest-based Community Sub-Activity was conducted in two parts.  The evaluation focused mainly on the Forest Communities Program, while the portion dealing with the terminated First Nations Forestry Program was limited in scope.  The Treasury Board authority for the First Nations Forestry Program expired on March 31, 2011.  The results from the two programs are presented in this one overall sub-activity evaluation report.

Forest-based Communities fits into the 2010-11 PAA as follows:

The programs under sub-activity 1.2.2 are as follows:

Forest Communities Program:  This Program assists community-based partnerships to develop and share knowledge, strategies and tools to adjust to forest sector transition and to take advantage of emerging forest-based opportunities.

First Nations Forestry Program: This Program was jointly funded by NRCan and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, and was delivered in partnership with First Nations.  The Program provided funding and supported the improvement of the capacity of First Nations to develop and sustainably manage their forest resources and to participate in forest-based development opportunities.

Detailed descriptions of the two programs are provided in the following sections.

1.2     Context

Canada’s forest sector has been experiencing significant challenges in recent years.  In the State of Canada’s Forests Report 2005-06, tabled by the Minister of Natural Resources, at the National Forest Congress in September 2006, it was acknowledged that Canada’s forest sector was, at that time, facing a convergence of forces that were putting significant pressure on this vital industry and the communities that depend on it.

“With unfortunate timing, a series of domestic, market and trade forces are converging on the forest sector, brewing what some observers have called a “perfect storm”.  These forces are shaking the competitiveness of the forest industry, a critical part of Canada’s economy, and threatening the future of forest communities.”Footnote 3

In 2011 the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Forestry published a report titled The Canadian Forest Sector: a Future Based on Innovation.Footnote 4  That report analyses the sector from 2000-10 and shows that from 2000 to 2008, direct jobs in the forest industry declined by about 37%, for a loss of some 100,000 direct jobs.Footnote 5

Despite the current challenges facing the forest sector, the industry remains an important exporter and contributor to Canada’s balance of trade.  The sector will continue to rely on the workforce that resides in rural and remote communities, so it is important that forest-based communities are supported and strengthened in order to navigate this period of transition, to retain their talented workers and to take advantage of opportunities in the future.Footnote 6  Also, based on 2009 data, the continuing importance of the sector is supported by the fact that there are still between 200,000 and 240,000 direct jobs in the forestry sector.  Taking direct and indirect jobs into account, that number exceeds 600,000.Footnote 7   

The Senate reportFootnote 8 states that all sectors of Canada’s forest industry have declined largely due to the market forces and the resulting decrease in demand for Canadian wood products.  The drop in demand is also attributable to stronger global competition, the strong Canadian dollar, high energy costs, and the United States subsidies for its lumber industry.Footnote 9  The federal and provincial governments and the industry accept that this decline is broad-based and that the closing of several plants represents a permanent structural change.

The compound crises in the forest sector have had profound economic, social and ecological implications resulting in mill closures and massive layoffs.  The number of rural communities where the forest industry is the main economic driver is down from approximately 300 recorded in the 2001 Census to approximately 200 forest-dependent communitiesFootnote 10 in 2010, based on 2006 Census data.  Most of these 200 communities are rural, remote, and depend on the forest industry for at least 50% of their economic base.  Sustainable forest management is particularly important to these communities as they are more likely than larger urban centres to suffer the potential costs of unsustainable practices, market fluctuations and environmental change.Footnote 11

Also seriously impacted by the downturn are numerous other forest-based communities including several hundreds First Nations communities across Canada.   The forest industry has become one of the most important commercial sectors for Aboriginal people.  The forest products industry directly or indirectly employs more than 17,000 Aboriginal people, mostly in silviculture and woodland operations, and does business with more than 1,400 Aboriginal firms.Footnote 12  As industries close or downsize, communities are forced to seek alternative economic development opportunities.Footnote 13

Canada’s forest sector faces numerous issues that have put pressure on the industry and the communities built around it.  There have been reductions in available and accessible timber supply, threats to the timber supply from insects and invasive species, market access restrictions to the United States, rising energy costs, and the emergence of new low-cost competitors in Russia, Asia and South America.  Together, these pressures are resulting in permanent mill closures and ongoing industry restructuring, which is having a major impact on forest-reliant communities.

Innovation in all aspects of the production chain, from the resource to the forest land management to harvesting to manufacturing and global marketing, is critical to the sector’s competitiveness and to the well-being of forest-based communities.  Enabling communities with knowledge and tools to make an effective transition to a transformed forest-based economy is an important endeavour in the current climate of forest industry restructuring and consolidation.

It is in this context that the two programs, the FCP and the FNFP, operated.  The Forest Communities Program has grown out of Canada’s Model Forest Program (MFP).Footnote 14  From 1992-2007, NRCan operated the Canada’s Model Forest Program, which brought together forest stakeholders at the community level though model forest organizations.  Launched in July of 2007, the FCP seeks to equip communities to better meet the opportunities and challenges associated with a changing forest sector by providing $3.575 million per year in total funding to support eleven model forest sites across the country.

The Forest Communities Program encourages fresh perspectives on Canada’s forest resources through forest-based community partnerships, leading to innovation implementation and a sustainable future for forest-based communities, while taking into consideration the full range of social, economic and environmental values.  Model forests facilitate the discussion by bringing together researchers, industry, government and community stakeholders.  They provide a place for both new forest practices to be developed and demonstrated, through engaging Canadians in their own land use decision-making.  They are called a 'model' from which others can learn and advance their sustainability goals.  In 1992, a competition was held that resulted in the establishment of ten model forests in Canada, the first model forest sites in the world.

During the last phase of the Canada’s Model Forest Program operation (Phase III, 2002-2007), the objectives of the Model Forest Program were focused on the development of sustainable forest management systems and tools, disseminating results and knowledge, strengthening Canada’s network of model forests and increasing local-level participation.  The Forest Communities Program builds upon this work, in particular connecting with a wide range of stakeholders and collaborators at the local level in all regions of the country.  The Forest Communities Program is more focused on the sustainability of forest-based communities, involvement of other resource sectors and has an increased emphasis on the development of new economic opportunities in these communities.

The second program in the sub-activity, the FNFP, worked to address similar forest-based community needs.  Canada’s First Nations population is just over 1,000,000.Footnote 15  Most First Nations communities are remote and comprised of a few hundred members to over a thousand members.  The forest is an important source of livelihood for Aboriginal people and has always played an important role in the cultural, spiritual and social lives of Aboriginal people.  They have historically relied on forests for food, medicine, clothing and shelter, and forests continue to form an essential part of First Nations’ future well-being, providing economic benefits and fulfilling cultural and spiritual needs for present and future generations.

There are over 2,300 First Nations reserves in Canada, covering an area of over 3.1 million hectares, 1.8 million hectares of which is forested.  The relative isolation of many First Nation communities often constrains economic opportunities.  However, these areas of forested lands offer great potential for forest-related economic development. 

In 1996, the Government of Canada established the First Nations Forestry Program to help improve economic conditions in First Nation communities. The goal of this program was to assist First Nations building capacity and assuming greater control of the management of forest resources on reserve lands.  The Program was structured to establish partnerships and encourage active participation in forestry and other economic development opportunities.  From the onset, the Program adapted to the differing needs and priorities of First Nations at the local level.  The Program assisted communities that varied widely in terms of their experience in forestry.  This was the only program supporting forest management activities on reserve lands.

First Nations were directly involved in the management of this program.  A majority of representatives on the management committees at the provincial, territorial and national levels were First Nations’ members.  The Program supported the unique relationship between forests and First Nations by providing a means to create sustainable communities and economic self-sufficiency.

1.3     Overview of the Forest-Based Community Partnerships Sub-Activity

The two components of the Forest-based Communities Sub-Activity, the Forest Communities Program and the First Nations Forestry Program, are presented in sections 1.4 and 1.5.

1.4     Forest Communities Program

1.4.1 FCP Objectives, Expected Results and Rationale

The Forest Communities Program assists community-based partnerships to develop and share knowledge, strategies and tools to adjust to forest sector transition and to take advantage of emerging forest-based opportunities.  The Forest Communities Program is a $25-million, 5-year program that provides funds to eleven sites across Canada and the Canadian Model Forest Network, as well as national and international projects.  The Forest Communities Program community partnerships are located in defined geographic areas at a regional scale, and include a mix of urban, rural and First Nations communities.

The overall vision for the FCP is the development of resource-based rural communities that are equipped and empowered to be innovative in meeting the opportunities and challenges of a healthy forest and a changing forest sector.

The objectives for the first five years of the FCP are to:

  1. pilot ideas, conduct experiments and develop models that assist forest-based communities to build capacity and meet the opportunities and challenges of a forest sector in transition;
  2. develop and share integrated, multi-sector approaches, based on science and innovation, to address community transition that involves new and existing natural resource stakeholders;
  3. work with industry and other community-level stakeholders to develop new forest-based opportunities for rural Canada; and
  4. develop and share sustainable forest management knowledge, practices, tools and experiences with international forest-based communities and their model forests, in keeping with Canada’s international forest agenda.

Examples of the types of outputs that are expected under the FCP include:

  • publications, tools and reports on such topics as valuation of the resources and land surrounding forest-based communities, the potential for community ventures and new types of forest products, socio-economic impact models, and integrated forest management plans;
  • conferences, workshops and other public events for the purpose of exploring sustainability challenges being faced in forest-based communities and for disseminating the results of the work completed under the FCP to local, regional and national and international audiences; and
  • “on-the-ground” implementation and demonstration projects (e.g., innovative forest management test plots, bio-products manufacturing facilities, community restoration projects, etc).

Outcomes are envisioned on a time scale ranging from fairly immediate results (one to two years after program initiation), to intermediate results (three years after program initiation until the end of the first phase of the Program), to longer term results that will not likely be realized until after the completion of the first phase of the Program, more than five years after program initiation.  While the long-term outcomes are key, they are also located at the distant end of the results chain and may only be indirectly affected by FCP activities and outputs.  In the long-term, the FCP seeks to achieve:

  • stronger forest-based communities with the capacity, in terms of both financial resources and human capital, and the knowledge to respond to forest sector transition (i.e., the declining competitiveness of the Canadian forest sector and the concomitant mill closures, job losses and struggling regional economies);
  • forest-based communities that are able to capitalize on present and future opportunities in the forest sector and to provide leadership by sharing their knowledge and experience with other communities facing similar challenges;
  • better integrated forest landscape-level decision-making;
  • new forest-based opportunities and economic growth in rural Canada; and
  • improved sustainable forest management practice, both in Canada and internationally, through the sharing and adoption of program innovations.

The final outcomes of the logic model are linked to NRCan’s strategic outcome as defined in the Department’s 2007 Program Activity Architecture (PAA) that ““Canadians derive sustainable social and economic benefits from the assessment, development and use of energy, forest and mineral resources, and have the knowledge to mitigate environmental impacts.”

1.4.2 FCP Delivery Structure

The Forest Communities Program is made up of eleven model forest sites across Canada, as well as the Canadian Model Forest Network and the International Model Forest Network.  These are private, not-for-profit groups, which receive NRCan funding to conduct core program activities.  Each of the eleven sites receives $325,000 in funding per year which provides a foundation for their activities.  Sites are free to concentrate on different activities related to the specific forestry needs of their geographical area of focus, and have separate contribution agreements with NRCan.  These establish the terms of the agreements between NRCan and FCP recipients at the community level and at the national or provincial/territorial level.  A brief description of each site and network is provided in Annex 1.

1.4.3 FCP Governance

The ADM, Canadian Forestry Service (CFS) is accountable for the FCP.  The Director General, Science Program Branch and the Director General, Atlantic Forestry Centre are responsible for providing strategic programming guidance and ensuring that the FCP meets NRCan’s intended outcomes.

The Director of the Forest Communities Division negotiates, administers and monitors contribution agreements with the eleven model forest sites and the Canadian Model Forest Network.  Staff located at CFS headquarters in Ottawa coordinate the national program to ensure consistency in development and application of operational procedures, accountability, and reporting requirements.  Additionally, CFS staff are responsible for identifying national-level project opportunities (beyond of the work being undertaken by the Canadian Model Forest Network) that advance NRCan priorities.

Regional directors and coordinators at the five NRCan forestry centres (Pacific, Northern, Great Lakes, Laurentian and Atlantic) negotiate, administer and monitor contribution agreements with community level program sites.  They also work with CFS headquarters in assisting national program coordination and identification of project opportunities. 

The eleven model forest sites are accountable for their activities under the FCP as detailed in the terms and conditions of their contribution agreements.  Strategic plans were developed by each of the eleven sites and submitted to the FCP for approval.  These plans include a vision and objectives, performance measurement strategies, lists of partners and financial information and formed the foundation for building contribution agreements.  Annual work plans and annual reports are produced by all FCP contribution agreements recipients and are approved by the CFS.

Collaboration and networking among the individual model forest sites has been facilitated by the Canadian Model Forest Network.  The Canadian Model Forest Network brings together representatives from Model Forest Boards of Directors and staff and the CFS.  The Board of Directors for the Network is made up of members from each of the eleven model forest sites, in order to ensure good flow of information and participation at the national level.  The Board provides aggregate information from the model forests to NRCan and oversees Canadian Model Forest Network staff and project activities.

Funding recipients are responsible for managing projects and activities within their organization, preparing annual work plans and annual reports, and for annual financial reporting.  Each site also participates in network-level activities as directed by their Boards of Directors. 

1.5     First Nations Forestry Program

The First Nations Forestry Program was a federally funded program that worked to build First Nations’ capacity to participate in and benefit from sustainable forest management and forest-based economic opportunities.  Jointly funded by NRCan and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC), the Program positioned communities to participate in and benefit from forest-based development opportunities both on and off reserve.  The Program was first introduced as a five-year joint initiative through a Memorandum of Understanding between the two departments in May 1996 and expired on March 31, 2011. 

Annually, the FNFP supported about 145 projects to increase the forestry capacity of First Nations by supporting four interrelated business lines: forest management activities, business development, skills training and access to resources.  Over the 15-year history of the FNFP, close to $55 million was contributed by NRCan and AANDC to approximately 2,000 community level projects in more than 500 First Nations communities.

1.5.1 FNFP Objectives, Expected Results and Rationale

Projects undertaken under the FNFP by First Nations took a wide variety of forms, such as traditional ecological knowledge studies, on-reserve silviculturalFootnote 16 activities, integrated forest resources management planning, development of feasibility studies and business plans, training in various aspects of forestry and project management, starting up new business ventures or establishing meaningful forestry relationships with the forest sector, ecotourism, non-timber forest product development, workshops and numerous other activities that were considered important to these communities.

The purpose of the FNFP was to enable Canada to improve economic conditions in First Nation communities with full consideration of the principles of sustainable forest management.  The four objectives for the Program were the following:

  • enhance the capacity of First Nations to sustainably manage their forest lands;
  • enhance the capacity of First Nations to operate and participate in forest-based development opportunities and their benefits;
  • advance the knowledge of First Nations in sustainable forest management and forest-based business development; and
  • enhance the institutional capacity of First Nations at the provincial/territorial level to support their participation in the forest-based economy.

The achievement of these activities was intended to contribute to short-term outcomes that included improved forestry skills; improved management practices and hands-on experience; creation and development of forest-based businesses; increased awareness of opportunities and issues; and establishment and expansion of community level and higher networks.

The medium-term outcomes were to increase the number of jobs and employment available to First Nations in the forestry sector; enhance institutional capacity to take on new roles and challenges; and improve provincial, territorial and corporate policies and practices related to First Nation forestry.

Long-term outcomes for the FNFP were sustainable forests and enhanced economic self-sufficiency for First Nations communities.

1.5.2 FNFP Theme Areas

All projects undertaken by the FNFP fell under at least one of the following four theme areas:

Training

The First Nations Forestry Program funding was used to undertake training initiatives to enhance forestry knowledge and skills of community forest managers and workers and to enhance First Nation business and entrepreneurial skills in forestry.  Outputs from projects following under this activity included courses, seminars, workshops and on-site training.

Forest Management

The First Nations Forestry Program assisted First Nations in creating and updating forest inventories assessments and forest management plans.  This work was planned to allow First Nations to implement forest management plans as well as silvicultural activities that enhanced the quality of reserve forests (e.g., reforestation, stand thinning, forest road management, etc.).  Outputs from forest management projects included research projects related to First Nations forestry issues, design and implementation of forest management plans, creation of forest inventories, and traditional land use studies.

Business

To assist in the creation and development of forest-based businesses, FNFP funded such activities as business start-ups; forest-based business management studies; research related to non-timber forest product opportunities; market and feasibility studies related to new opportunities in the forest sector; and projects to identify financing sources for new small-business opportunities.  The First Nations Forestry Program also provided support to negotiate joint ventures and contracting work with the forest industry to help exploration of opportunities for communities to work cooperatively.

Advocacy and Education 

These activities focussed on increasing awareness of First Nations’ forestry needs, opportunities and issues.  Work typically included: national and regional conferences; workshops and seminars that aimed to develop networks in support of community forest managers, entrepreneurs and forest workers; and advocacy initiatives on behalf of First Nations related to issues such as land use/forest plans, presentations on environmental assessment processes, and information on forest certification.

1.5.3 FNFP Governance

The Program was originally managed by staff representatives from NRCan and AANDC sitting on a management committee.  Starting in 2006-07, a new governance structure – referred to as the National Council – replaced the original committee.  Expanding beyond the original representatives from NRCan and AANDC, this National Council advised the Program with added representation from First Nations.  This advisory function included policy development, establishment of standards and procedures, allocating funds to the regionally-based provincial and territorial management committees, and establishing cooperative arrangements with other federal departments.  The Forest Products Association of Canada and the National Aboriginal Forestry Association also participated as associate (non-voting) members.

While the Program was administered jointly by NRCan and AANDC, project decisions were largely made by the First Nations forest practitioners.  Provincial and territorial management committees administered the project proposal process and managed the contributions agreements.  These committees acted as the link between the individual project proponents and NRCan, and were made up of representatives from NRCan, AANDC, industry, the province and territories, and First Nations.  AANDC provided funding, technical support, and assessed environmental impact beyond the screening process on reserve lands.

In addition to the National Council, provincial and territorial management committees operated in all regions of the country (except Nunavut).  They were comprised of representatives from NRCan and AANDC regional offices, First Nations, and where practical, included representatives from the provincial/territorial governments, industry, and other federal agencies.  These provincial and territorial committees had the responsibility of overseeing program implementation and delivery in the regions.  They developed statements of strategic direction, regional policy, and communication strategies.  In addition, they managed provincial and territorial funding; the application processes; and the review, approval and funding of project proposals.

2.0     Resources

Forest Communities Program

NRCan funding for the FCP is $5 million annually (approximately $4 million in contributions and $1 million for administration, primarily salaries).  Each site receives $325,000 annually in funding from NRCan, though portions of this funding are directed towards specific projects based on the individual needs of each model forest site.  The administration of the Program is supported by eight full-time employees (FTEs) in the NRCan-CFS regional offices and the National Capital Region.  Table 1 shows a comparative summary of partner contributions to Forest Communities Program from 2007-08 to 2009-10.  The NRCan expenditures from 2007-08 to 2009-10 were approximately $10.4 million, 24.2% of the total expenditures, while partners’ cash and in-kind contributions were $32.6 million, 75.8% of the total expenses.

The Forest Communities Program is expected to leverage significant additional cash and in-kind funding at the recipient level.  All model forest sites are required to match NRCan funding dollar for dollar.  National-level recipients of funding, such as the Canadian Model Forest Network, are expected to leverage additional funds from other government departments and national organizations.  According to program financial information, FCP has leveraged dollars at an average ratio of 1:3 over the three-year period as indicated in Table 1.

Table 1: Forest Community Program Expenditures, 2007-08 to 2009-10 ($M)
  2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 Total
NRCan 2.5 4.0 3.9 10.4
Partners – Cash 3.0 4.1 13.0 20.1
Partners – In-kind 2.1 4.4 6.0 12.5
Sub-Total: Partner Contributions 5.1 8.5 19.0 32.6
Total NRCan and Partner Contributions 7.6 12.5 22.9 43.0
Ratio:  NRCan to Partner Cash and In-kind Contributions 1:2 1:2 1:4.8 1:3

Source:  FCP Program Management – July 2011.

Table 2 categorizes each Forest Community project into one of thirteen themes below.  Projects that could be categorized into two or more themes were placed in the most prominent theme.  Information on projects was extracted from annual reports for each site.  On average, about 172 projects are funded annually.

Table 2 - Forest Communities Program – Projects by Category, 2007-08 to 2009-10
Theme Area 2007-08 # of Projects 2008-09 # of Projects 2009-10 # of Projects Total
Aboriginal 13 19 7 39
Bioenergy & Biomass 8 6 5 19
Climate Change 4 4 1 9
Community Development 19 18 14 51
Education & Communication 56 53 31 140
Environmental Goods and Services 1 2 2 5
International 7 5 5 17
Networking/CMFN 12 14 7 33
Non-Timber Forest Products & Value-added Products 9 13 6 28
Resource Management & Research 38 47 9 94
Tourism, Recreation & Culture 1 3 1 5
Water 9 12 3 24
Wildlife 21 21 12 54
Total 198 217 103 518

Source:  FCP Program Management.

First Nations Forestry Program

NRCan funding for the FNFP was $1.75 million annually during the evaluation period. Of these funds, contributions amounted to $1.0 million annually, with the remaining $0.75 million used for administrative purposes (including employee salaries and benefits).  The administration of the Program was supported by 20 full-time employees in five forestry centers across Canada and at national headquarters.  Table 3 outlines the actual expenditures from 2005-06 to 2009-10 by sources of funds, including federal government funds (NRCan and AANDC), project partners (provinces, territories, and private companies), and First Nations themselves.  Table 4 exhibits FNFP funds by region.  About 145 projects were funded annually as illustrated in Table 5.

Table 3: First Nations Forestry Program Project Expenditures by Source, 2005-06 to 2009-10 ($M)
  2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 Total
FNFP (NRCan and AANDC) 3.5 3.8 3.6 3.6 3.1 17.6
Partner (cash and in-kind) 3.7 4.8 3.0 3.6 3.1 18.2
First Nations (cash and in-kind) 4.0 5.3 4.2 3.4 2.5 19.4
Total 11.2 13.9 10.8 10.6 8.7 55.2

Source:  FNFP Program Management.

Table 4:  First Nations Forestry Program NRCan and AANDC Cash Contributions by Region, 2005-06 to 2009-10 ($M)
Province 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 Total
British Columbia 0.8 0.8 0.7 0.7 0.7 3.7
Alberta 0.3 0.4 0.3 0.4 0.3 1.7
Saskatchewan 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.3 1.9
Manitoba 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.2 1.4
Ontario 0.6 0.7 0.6 0.6 0.6 3.1
Quebec 0.5 0.6 0.5 0.5 0.4 2.5
New Brunswick 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.1 0.9
Prince Edward Island 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Nova Scotia 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 1.0
Newfoundland & Labrador 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.1
Northwest Territories 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.4
Yukon 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.2 0.0 0.6
HQ (CFS) 0.0 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.3
Total 3.5 3.9 3.7 3.7 2.8 17.6

Source:  FNFP Program Management.

Table 5:  Number of First Nations Forestry Program Projects, by Region, 2005-06 to 2009-10
Province 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 Total
British Columbia 39 29 30 28 23 149
Alberta 14 18 14 15 14 75
Saskatchewan 12 20 19 18 20 89
Manitoba 14 13 14 18 14 73
Ontario 41 28 28 21 20 138
Quebec 24 21 20 14 14 93
New Brunswick 7 8 6 5 5 31
Prince Edward Island 1 1 1 1 1 5
Nova Scotia 2 1 4 4 3 14
Newfoundland & Labrador 2 2 3 1 2 10
Northwest Territories 7 5 4 4 4 24
Yukon 1 1 2 3 2 9
HQ (CFS) 1 3 3 5 3 15
Total 165 150 148 137 125 725

Source:  FNFP Program Management.

3.0     Evaluation Approach and Methodology

3.1     Evaluation Scope and Objectives

This evaluation examined the Forest-based Communities Sub-Activity’s relevance and performance (effectiveness, efficiency and economy).  The evaluation was conducted in 2011 and included a literature and document review, in-depth case studies of 34 projects (FCP 24, FNFP 10) that are summarized in Annex 2, and 69 interviews with key internal and external stakeholders.  The Forest Communities Program was the primary focus of the evaluation.  Due to its termination at the end of 2010-11, the First Nations Forestry Program was not covered as extensively as the FCP.

The 34 case studies investigated the activities and outcomes of projects funded by the Program areas.  Information was gathered through two or three additional key informant interviews per case, typically with a project leader and stakeholders/partners, as well as a review of project documentation.  As some projects were related, some case studies were clustered together as part of multi-project case studies.  The case studies focused on the results of projects to increase capacity (e.g., funding, human resources) of forest-based communities; to respond to forest sector transition; increased collaborative arrangements at the community, national and international levels; increased stakeholder access to knowledge related to sustainable forest landscape management; and the appropriateness of the federal role.

Forest Communities Program

Of the 56 key informant interviews conducted, interview subjects included:

  • 17 NRCan management and staff from headquarters (7) and regional offices (10);
  • 2 Canadian Model Forest Network management;
  • 7 Canadian Model Forest Network’s Board of Directors;
  • 9 NRCan Forest Communities Program general managers; and
  • 21 Forest Communities program partners and stakeholders.

Approximately 25 additional interviews/discussions took place during site visits to the Eastern Ontario Model Forest, the Lac-Saint-Jean Model Forest, the Model Forest of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Manitoba Model Forest.  Eight interviews (in addition to the key informant interviews) were undertaken with Forest Communities Program staff, partners and stakeholders specifically for the purpose of gathering information for the 24 case studies.

First Nations Forestry Program

The 13 interviews with key internal and external stakeholders included:

  • 4 NRCan program managers and staff;
  • 2 Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada staff; and
  • 7 FNFP partners and stakeholders.

3.2     Evaluation Limitations and Mitigation Strategies

The Forest Communities Program has only existed since 2007-08.  While seven of the eleven model forest sites were recipients of funding under the previous Model Forest Program, the objectives and outputs of the two programs are different.  Establishing a complete picture proved to be difficult, as in most cases projects have only begun to show results over the last year.  The Forest Communities Program was late in its launch; it was planned for 2006-07 and launched in July 2007.  Based on interviews with new partners, it was not until 2009 that there was a broad level of acceptance and understanding of the Forest Communities Program process.  This was not unexpected based on the past experiences with the earlier phases of the model forest launch.

For interviewees whose involvement began with the FCP, including individuals in key positions on the Canadian Model Forest Network’s Board of Directors and some FCP general managers, as well as many FCP partners and stakeholders, responses reflect limited experience and are sometimes focused on particular areas of interest.

Many new FCP partners and stakeholders state that exposure to the model forest approach has been a learning experience.  As noted by several interviewees, it took one or two years for them to acquire some mastery of this new way of doing business, to clarify their roles and determine how to make the Program work for them.  For a few interviewees, this period of initiation is still being sorted out.  However, overall there is an established sense of the FCP potential and numerous initiatives that had been slow to start are now well on their way.  Discussions with partners and stakeholders during the FCP site field visits provided further evidence that the comfort level of partners and stakeholders with the process has risen considerably as the Program advanced. 

A key limitation with FNFP was that the Program had been terminated.  Several staff members have already moved on and were unavailable for interviews and to assist in the collection of documentation.  Additional interviews with regional staff and stakeholders were added in order to mitigate this, though these could not provide the same level of detail on the central administration of the Program. 

The nature of the FNFP projects being small and centred on community development makes it difficult to tie outputs into medium or even short range outcomes.  The outcomes of FNFP projects are felt entirely in their individual communities and reporting on them in a vacuum fails to accurately capture the results of the Program.  Whenever possible, project outputs were shown to be linked to short term outcomes, though attribution remains a serious limitation.

In addition, very little information on the individual FNFP projects beyond their immediate results was formally recorded.  Interviews with project partners and administrators were necessary in many cases to fill in the gaps in project documentation. 

4.0     Evaluation Findings

The evaluation issues of relevance and performance (effectiveness, efficiency and economy for the sub-activity are addressed in the following subsections.  Results on the achievement of outcomes have been divided between the Forest Communities Program and the First Nations Forestry Program.

4.1     Relevance – Forest-based Community Partnerships Sub-Activity

4.1.1 Continued Need for the Programs
Evaluation Question Methodologies Assessment
Is there an ongoing need for the programs? Document review; interviews Evidence indicates that there is an ongoing need for federal involvement in forest-based communities.

Summary:  Literature, program documentation and interviewees all point to a continued need for federal government involvement in forest-based communities, though there are issues surrounding NRCan’s role in these programs for two main reasons:

  1. The relevance of these two programs:  because of their small size, their impact on addressing the significant challenges experienced by the forestry sector could only be marginal;
  2. The overall relevance of NRCan in engaging in such programs:  while NRCan is well positioned to offer knowledge and expertise on the forestry sector, other partners may be better able to provide delivery of economic development/community-based programs.  This was especially true in the case of the First Nations Forestry Program, as it was recognized that AANDC should be leading First Nations programs with NRCan playing a key role in providing forestry knowledge.  This is the structure that AANDC’s new Aboriginal Forestry Initiative will take.

Communities continue to seek federal assistance in adjusting to the transformation of the forest industry and pursue emerging economic opportunities.  Forest-based opportunities are the major source of social and economic well-being for hundreds of communities located across Canada and the crises of the forest industry have had deep social implications.  These impacts are not only felt by rural communities, but by Aboriginal communities as well.  The most current analysis of Canada’s forest sector – recently published by the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and ForestryFootnote 17 – concludes that the crisis in the sector is profound and ongoing, and that any significant rebound will be long-term.  All interviewees see this need as continuing for the foreseeable future.  Many closures of industrial plants are seen as permanent, not cyclical and the downturn in the economy is seen as not yet finished in some areas. 

The Forest Communities Program has positioned itself to try and address the socio-economic and environmental issues that affect community sustainability.  Through this approach, the goal is to create a more diversified Canadian forest sector leading to more economically stable, sustainable forest-based communities. However, the Forest Communities Program is small and work undertaken at the eleven sites will not transform the approximately 200 rural and remote forest-dependent communities within the Canadian forestry sector.

The First Nations Forestry Program focused on enhancing the capacity of First Nations to sustainably manage their forest lands, to operate and participate in forest-based development opportunities, to advance knowledge, and enhance the institutional capacity of First Nations at the provincial/territorial level to support their participation in the forest-based economy.  Several interviewees also referred to the emergence of the First Nations as forest land owners and the inclusion of First Nations communities is seen as an issue in forest-based communities that will continue into the future. 

There is also the need for realistic timelines to identify, investigate, and develop opportunities.  Many communities and regions that have been severely impacted by the economic downturn in the forest sector, and most interviewees view these problems not as the effects of a typical short-term cycle in the industry, but as permanent structural changes in the sector.

In articulating the need to contribute to a rural economy, some interviewees referenced the need to maintain a workforce that resides in rural and remote communities.  According to interviewees, it is important to retain talented workers, because from this workforce, some will become the entrepreneurs that will identify and take advantage of economic opportunities in the future.  Interviewees also stated that there is still a need for community level support, community originated forestry stewardship, and economic development. 

Many of the partner interviewees emphasized that the projects undertaken by NRCan were a catalyst for fostering greater diversification in the forest industry.  However, these interview responses focus on identification and development of rural-based small to medium-scale activities.  These types of projects, while valuable to the individual communities, limited the FNFP’s ability to produce long-term outcomes.  When prompted, the majority of respondents interviewed indicated that they would take on larger-scale projects if the funding had been available. 

Interviewees saw FCP and FNFP projects as a means to build capacities to act on ideas and provide a channel for involvement with government and policy makers.  The interviewees included forest-based communities, community leaders and interest groups, forest and related industry managers, research communities, First Nations, and decision makers representing various levels of government.  The perceived need of many interviewees is for all stakeholders to be invited to the table and to participate in the development of solutions.  NRCan’s participation was seen as a way to attract additional partners to projects by providing the stability of government funding and expert knowledge on the forestry sector.

Interviewees indicated that when the FNFP began 15 years ago there was a recognition that most Canadians who became involved with the forestry industry had to start with no knowledge base or assistance available.  At that time, CFS recognized that this was particularly true for First Nations communities.  There was no program in place at AANDC or any other department that had a forestry focus for First Nations.  If First Nations communities were to benefit from forestry, there was a requirement to develop capacity and expertise.  The First Nations Forestry Program was positioned to fill that gap. 

Over time, this need was served by the FNFP as well as the FCP and AANDC’s Community Economic Opportunities Program.  The AANDC Program provides project-based support to those First Nation and Inuit communities that have the best opportunities for economic development.  The Community Economic Opportunities Program works towards community economic benefits including more community employment, greater use of land and resources under community control, enhanced community economic infrastructure, more and larger community businesses, more business opportunities, and a better climate and environment for community economic development.  It does not have a specific forestry focus, but does provide up to $3,000,000 per project.Footnote 18

4.1.2 Alignment with Government Priorities and NRCan Strategic Objectives
Evaluation Question Methodologies Assessment
Are the programs consistent with government priorities and NRCan strategic objectives? Document review Programs were consistent with government priorities and NRCan strategic objectives.

Summary:  Both programs worked towards the strategic objectives of NRCan and were consistent with government priorities.

The Forest-based Communities Sub-Activity is aligned with and supports current government objectives such as Canada’s Economic Action Plan, the Community Adjustment Fund, the Canada Skills and Transition Strategy, and the Economic Development Framework, where the Government of Canada has provided funding to address short-term economic needs of communities impacted by the global economic crisis.  The intended outcome to ensure that communities (both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal) have the knowledge and tools needed to benefit from the evolving natural resource economy, uniquely position the Forest Communities Program to help communities understand the implications of forest industry transformation and their capacity needs in relation to forest-based opportunities so that they are able to respond to the evolving nature of Canada’s forest sector.Footnote 19

In addition, the intended outcome supports the government’s Advantage Canada priorities for rural and First Nations communities as articulated in the 2008 Budget (Aboriginal Economic Development Framework) and the 2009 Budget (Advantage Canada strategic investments in science and technology; fostering skills and training, strengthening community infrastructure; innovative businesses and communities).Footnote 20 

Elements of NRCan’s Integrated Business Plan 2010-13 that demonstrate concurrence with the FCP include:

  • the promotion of a competitiveness model in which commitment to environmental leadership and corporate social responsibility – both domestically and internationally – are essential dimensions of economic success;Footnote 21 and
  • the role of Program Activity 1.2Footnote 22, which is targeted to increasing Canada’s knowledge of the impacts of the resource sector’s evolution on communities that have a substantial reliance on resource-based industries, and to improving the capacity and knowledge to increase the number of opportunities through value-added products and services.Footnote 23

Likewise, the FNFP was strongly aligned with government priorities with some connection to NRCan strategic priorities.  Under the Indian Act, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada administers the cutting and removal of timber from reserve lands.  The First Nation capacity to effectively manage reserve timber facilitates administration of the Act and prepares First Nations for self-government.  The FNFP was aligned with NRCan’s strategic outcome #1:  Natural resource sectors being internationally competitive, economically productive, and contributing to the social well-being of Canadians. 

The restructuring of the forestry sector and the global economic downturn has had a significant economic impact on both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal forest-based communities across Canada.   Interviewees have reported that there is a shift now to the larger-scale Aboriginal Forestry Initiative.  In June 2009, the federal government developed a Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development to increase the participation of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in the Canadian economy and improve economic outcomes for Aboriginal peoples in all parts of Canada.  With 18 federal departments contributing, the Framework and its accompanying $200 million in funding for Aboriginal economic development over the period 2010-11 to 2014-15, encourages the development of innovative partnerships between federal and provincial governments. 

In support of the Federal Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development and the Strategic Partnerships Initiative, the Aboriginal Forestry Initiative is aimed at increasing Aboriginal capacity to participate in, and benefit from, forest sector transformation through investments in forest-based economic development opportunities.  The Aboriginal Forestry Initiative projects, due to larger funding levels, will have the potential for significant impacts at both the regional and national levels.  The NRCan role in the Program would be to provide linkages and partnerships with the forest industry, forest-science research community, FPInnovationsFootnote 24, and forest-based communities. 

4.1.3    Alignment with Federal Roles and Responsibilities
Evaluation Question Methodologies Assessment
Is there a legitimate, appropriate and necessary role for the federal government in the programs? Document review; interviews There is a role for the federal government to play in the evolution of forest-based communities.

Summary:  The legitimacy of the federal role in the programs is strong, though there are issues surrounding NRCan’s role.  NRCan is best positioned to offer knowledge and expertise on the forestry sector, rather than provide program delivery.  In this context, questions have been raised on the relevance of NRCan’s role in economic development and capacity building in forest-based communities.  The economic development portion and capacity building of the Forest Communities Program may be best delivered through other departments with stronger mandates and more substantial funding.

Authorities

The Forest-based Communities Sub-Activity is authorized under the Department of Natural Resources Act, paragraphs 6 (e) and 6 (h) and the Forestry Act, paragraph 3 (1)(c).Footnote 25

The first National Forest Strategy was created in the 1980s and clearly outlined the federal government’s role in areas under its jurisdiction such as trade development, public education, and research and development relating to forestry.  By the 1990s, the federal role shifted towards a focus on sustainable development and ecosystem-based management.  Market development and resolution of trade disputes assumed greater importance and remain key elements of federal jurisdiction in the forest sector, while regional and community development programs have occupied a more central place in federal activities in recent years.Footnote 26

The CFS currently supports federal priorities related to forests by:

  • providing scientific knowledge and advice to support the Government of Canada regulatory agenda;
  • establishing thought leadership, institutional arrangements and programs to respond to a changing environment and transform the forest sector; and
  • enabling discussions on national and international forest issues of interest to Canada.Footnote 27

NRCan defines its mandate and role in working with communities in the 2010-13 Integrated Business Plan as follows:

  • working in conjunction with other federal departments and agencies to support resource-based communities looking to diversify their economies;
  • providing expert advice, undertaking site-specific research and technology development, and supporting multi-stakeholder networks and partnerships to build capacity and enhance economic opportunities;
  • supporting community level, forest-based partnerships across Canada through our FCP, and developing strategies to enable communities to take advantage of emerging opportunities and adjust to transition;
  • along with community-level partners, the Canadian Model Forest Network and other forest stakeholders, developing and sharing knowledge, tools and best practices that benefit communities; and
  • in collaboration with provinces, territories, industries and other stakeholders, identifying opportunities for future improvements that will positively impact resource-based communities.Footnote 28

The First Nations Forestry Program began in 1996, and was funded and administered jointly by NRCan and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.  Its mission, to build capacity in Aboriginal communities in support of greater engagement in the forest, positioned the Program in an area of federal responsibility.  The mandate of AANDC is to support Aboriginal people (First Nations, Inuit and Métis) and Northerners in their efforts to improve social well-being and economic prosperity; develop healthier, more sustainable communities; and participate more fully in Canada's political, social and economic development to the benefit of all Canadians.  The CFS works to provide scientific knowledge and advice on forests to support the federal regulatory agenda; to establish thought leadership, institutional arrangements and programs to respond to a changing environment and transform the forest sector; and to enable discussions on national and international forest issues of interest to Canada.

Organizations with similar program objectives

Based on the literature and documentation reviewed, there is no other government or private program that can provide the same local, national and international expertise in forestry-based communities that the FCP provides.  There are, however, numerous government programs dealing with sustainable economic development in small, rural communities that have been affected by the 2008 economic downturn.  There remains a question as to whether other departments with broader community development programming – which provide access to larger pools of funding – could produce results similar to FCP, by making use of NRCan’s forestry expertise.

There are other federal departments such and Environment Canada, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Industry Canada and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada that have similar objectives of supporting efforts at economic diversification and employment in resource-based communities.  Their programs are aligned with their departmental mandates and deal with specific constituencies.  The provinces are also active in supporting economic development, diversification and innovation in regions and communities that rely on forest resources.  Private-sector and voluntary organizations (British Columbia Community Forest Association, Forum for Research and Extension in Natural ResourcesFootnote 29, Woodlot Owners Associations and academia) are also involved in supporting economic transformation and diversification in communities that rely on forest resources. 

For example, one national program mentioned by interviewees that overlapped with the objectives of the FCP is Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Rural Development SecretariatFootnote 30 through which funding is available for capacity building projects in rural and northern communities.  However, this program does not have the forestry focus of the Forest-based Community Partnerships Sub-Activity, operates on a project-by-project basis, and only provides a maximum of $75,000 per regional project.  Discussions with economic development personnel during site visits revealed that the Rural Secretariat has already contributed to capacity building in some FCP and former FNFP sites.  The Rural Partnership and the Community Development Program is designed to help communities in rural or northern areas work together to achieve concrete results in responding to their unique challenges and opportunities.  The Program also contributes to the development of activities in which a number of communities and partners participate.  In terms of the Rural Partnership and Community Development Program, there have been opportunities for the Forest-based Communities partners to obtain funding in particular regions.

Interviewees referred to the national Community Adjustment Fund,Footnote 31 which provided $1 billion over two years to address the short-term economic needs of Canadian communities affected by the global recession.  The Fund provides support to communities by creating employment opportunities through community transition plans, fostering economic development, promoting science and technology initiatives, and increasing economic diversification.  Delivered nationally through the Government of Canada’s Regional Development Agencies along with Industry Canada and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, the Community Adjustment Fund works in partnership with provinces and territories using existing and/or new programs.

Environment Canada's EcoAction Community Funding ProgramFootnote 32 has some attributes that may complement the FCP.  Two other national/international programs that were mentioned by interviewees as complementing the FCP are the Nature Conservancy of CanadaFootnote 33 and Man and the Biosphere, which has seven biosphere reserves overlapping FCP sites.Footnote 34 

Within provinces, various economic development funds contribute resources to FCP sites or partners.  In Quebec, interviewees mentioned the Forest Resources Development Program (PMVRMF) – Volet IIFootnote 35 as a related complementary fund and noted, as well, emerging legislation that could positively impact FCP operations in Quebec – the new Sustainable Forest Development Act.Footnote 36  Although this Act does not come into effect until 2013, the view is that considerable preparation and planning is required to assess opportunities with respect to the FCP.  

The British Columbia Community Forest Association offers outputs similar to the Forest-based Communities Sub-Activity.  The purpose of the group is to promote and support the practice and expansion of sustainable community forest management in British Columbia.  The association identifies annual priorities for special projects and seeks outside funding sources to support those activities.Footnote 37  The principle of communities managing local forests offers a link for the association to partner with the FCP, and is now being assessed by various FCP sites and the Canadian Model Forest Network to determine its potential application to other parts of Canada.  The British Columbia Community Forest Association has been recently funded by the Community Development Program, Building Rural and Northern Partnerships.   The funding will be used to develop and share information, tools and techniques that community-forest organizations in 49 B.C. communities can use to create new opportunities for economic activities.

Within NRCan’s Earth Sciences Sector, there is a community-based Regional Adaptation Collaborative Program with some possible overlap with the FCP’s development of adaptation strategies for climate change.  The Program’s approach is regionally applied and has delivery mechanisms (broad multi-sector partnerships) similar in concept to those employed in the model forest.  There is an opportunity, in NRCan, to explore possible links or synergies between the FCP and the Regional Adaptation Collaborative Program in certain regions, as the FCP is the only established program that provides an opportunity for forest-based communities to exchange tools and information on a nation wide basis.

Appropriateness of NRCan’s role given the roles of others

The evaluation found that there is a continued need for federal government involvement in forest-based communities, though there are issues surrounding NRCan’s role in these programs for two main reasons:

  1. The relevance of these two specific programs:  because of their small size, their impact on addressing the significant challenges experienced by the forestry sector could only be marginal;
  2. The overall relevance of NRCan in engaging in such programs:  while NRCan is well positioned to offer knowledge and expertise on the forestry sector, other partners may be better able to provide delivery of economic development/community-based programs. 

Because of these two issues, questions have been raised on the relevance of NRCan’s role in economic development and capacity building in forest-based communities.  The economic development portion and capacity building of the Forest Communities Program may be best delivered through other departments with stronger mandates that are able to provide more substantial funding.

Interviewees from all parts of Canada noted that the crisis stemming from the economic downturn in the forest sector is national in scope and poses a serious threat to the viability of many rural communities.  The federal role in nation-building, in promoting the Canadian economy, and ensuring the sustainability of rural and northern society were all articulated in the responses. Furthermore, some interviewees see the need for greater integration of the natural resource sectors with other economic drivers such as recreation, tourism and health to improve the sustainability of communities.  In articulating this view, the federal government was seen as a facilitator able to involve a wide variety of stakeholders.  

NRCan’s role with forest communities in recent decades relates to natural resource sector competitiveness and social well-being.  Support to forest-based communities is intended to build capacity in support of a competitive forest industry as well as to enable economic development through the pursuit of new forest-based economic opportunities by communities.  These communities have the opportunity to address their overall needs through much larger, more comprehensive programs from other federal government departments.

NRCan has expertise in integrated forest-science knowledge and policy development; established partnerships with the forest industry and diverse interests at the international, national, regional and local levels; and builds on its ability for leveraging partnership investments. In addition, NRCan’s unique knowledge base can assist communities in identifying non-traditional forestry opportunities, such as providing forest-based services to mining projects or the tourism industry. 

The federal government has a fiduciary responsibility for First Nations and other Aboriginal people, with AANDC being the department primarily responsible for delivering the government’s Aboriginal programs, and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) responsible for delivering those programs related to worker skills development and employment.  The Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development placed an emphasis on a whole Government approach for the economic development of First Nations, leading to the evolution of the FNFP.

In the case of the discontinued First Nations Forestry Program, it was already recognized by the CFS that AANDC should be leading First Nations programs with NRCan playing a key role in providing forestry knowledge.  This is the structure that AANDC’s new Aboriginal Forestry Initiative will take where significant funding is being made available for economic development and capacity building. The CFS provides a leadership role in the Aboriginal Forestry Initiative in partnership with more than 15 other federal departments and agencies, and in support of the Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development.  The Initiative serves as a knowledge centre for Aboriginal forestry and forest sector innovation, and facilitates knowledge exchange and coordination of federal and other support to opportunity-ready Aboriginal forestry projects and partnerships.

In general, the federal objectives for communities are focused on economic development, capacity building and safety.  These federal roles involve the investment of billions of dollars annually, with the delivery of large-scale programs through departments and agencies such as AANDC, HRSDC, the Regional Development Agencies, Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Rural Secretariat and Infrastructure Canada. 

NRCan has already established long-term partnerships and linkages with the provinces and territories, forest industry, academia, the forest-science research community, First Nations and other forest-based communities.  Any work undertaken by the federal government related to forest-based communities should take advantage of these linkages along with the knowledge base of the CFS.  NRCan can offer its expertise in forest-based markets and help establish connections with other federal sources for skills and infrastructure development.

4.2     Performance – Forest-based Community Partnerships Sub-Activity

Performance results for the sub-activity are presented below.  Results on the achievement of outcomes have been divided between the Forest Communities Program and the First Nations Forestry Program.

4.2.1    Forest Communities Program
4.2.2 Achievement of Expected Outcomes (Effectiveness)
Evaluation Question Methodologies Assessment
To what extent have intended outcomes been achieved as a result of the Program? Document review; interviews; case studies Most of the immediate and some of the intermediate outcomes have been achieved; in line with expectation at this stage in the history of the FCP.

Summary:  Most of the immediate and some of the intermediate outcomes have been achieved, in line with expectation at this stage in the history of the FCP.  The Program is small and will not transform the Canadian forestry sector.  The capacity of forest-based communities to respond to forest sector transition has increased, and significant achievements have been made in increased collaboration at the community and regional level.  The Program has brought most of the significant players on the forest landscape together to exchange knowledge and viewpoints, discuss solutions, and plan initiatives.  The majority of interviewees are clear that the FCP’s good performance is rooted in the effectiveness of each site’s multi-sector partnerships. 

Most interviewees expressed satisfaction with progress in contributing to intended outcomes. Interviewees consider the level of achievement to be satisfactory given the time it took in the first two years to learn to work with multiple partners and get programming off the ground.   There were start-up difficulties as new participants were integrated into the multi-sector partnerships.  Some sites also noted adjustments they had to make at the outset to strategic plans after the FCP reduced the anticipated amount of the annual contribution before the Program had even begun.  The Program was late in being launched (July 2007).  Interviewees also noted the time it took for efforts to come to fruition.  Some initiatives are reportedly still in the developmental phases, other initiatives are seeing outcomes being achieved at an accelerated pace, and some projects have been completed.  Some interviewees stated that the next few years will see the value of early work leveraged or magnified.

Detailed below under the four main themes are examples of achievements from FCP funding:

Increased capacity of forest-based communities to respond to forest sector transition; increased collaborative arrangements at the community, national and international levels.

The majority of interviewees reported that the capacity of forest-based communities to respond to forest sector transition has increased because of their involvement with the Program.  Many of the increases in capacity come from sharing knowledge and delivering education and training through workshops and other methods.  For example, in the Manitoba Model Forest, a former public school in Pine Falls has been transformed into the Winnipeg River Learning Centre.Footnote 38  The Manitoba group secured over two million dollars from the federal Community Adjustment Fund to upgrade the Centre, an accomplishment that the community on its own might not have achieved.  This facility allows First Nations people and other local residents to remain in their home communities while attending training courses.  The Center offers training programs such as Level 1 Electrical Certificate, Health Care Aide, Human Resource Management, Office Technician, Para-Educator, Early Childhood Education, Non-timber Forest Products, as well as a variety of small business and office management programs.

The Manitoba site has also developed a course on non-timber forest products in collaboration with the Centre for Non-timber Resources at Royal Roads University (Victoria, B.C.), the Manitoba Forestry Association and the Woodlot Association of Manitoba.  This program is a longer-term plan to build capacity and expertise in non-timber forest products businesses in the model forest area. 

The Resources North Association’s leadership workshops in British Columbia – that are assisting communities devastated by the economic downturn – have been referred to as positively changing future outlooks.  FCP sites in the Atlantic region have created the Atlantic Forest Consortium, intended for capacity sharing, building knowledge and delivering knowledge to forest owners and the public.

FCP sites have also been key players in major conferences related to forests and forest-based communities.  The Manitoba Model Forest was one of the major partners in running the 13th North American Caribou Workshop, held in Winnipeg (October 2010) with 400 delegates in attendance.  The Model Forest of Newfoundland and Labrador hosted a conference in April 2011 on ‘Rural Revitalization from our Forests’ that featured speakers from across Canada on non-timber forest products business and research, value-added manufacturers, community development specialists, government forestry officials, and organizations that focus on business development.  About 200 individuals representing various organizations were in attendance.

The Prince Edward Island Model Forest NetworkFootnote 39 has supported implementation of a hundred private management plans on woodlots and, in January 2011, the model forest and partners invited the public to a “Winter Woodlot Tour.”  About 600 people attended the tour which concentrated on ways of maximizing the benefits of owning a small woodlot. 

Several FCP sites are examining the potential for selling the value of carbon stored in forests on global carbon markets, and the Lac-Saint-Jean Model Forest is applying this knowledge to tropical forests in Africa as part of an international collaboration.  According to documents reviewed, case studies and interviews, several sites are working on trials related to bio-energy, biomass energy, ecotourism, and forest certification programs.

A major area of capacity development for most FCP sites is non-timber forest products, a sector whose development requires many areas of expertise – from taxonomy to marketing – and many stages in building a complete value chain.  Examples of achievements in this area are numerous across the country and cover mushrooms, blueberries, medicinal plants, wreath-making, and birch syrup (as seen in the case study from the Lac-Saint-Jean Model Forest).  Many interviews note that part of the challenge, in this sector, is changing attitudes about what is valuable in forests and to get people to look beyond wood fibre to the many other marketable products to be found in the forest.  It was noted that small communities that live almost exclusively from the forest can now see other possibilities in non-timber products.

Wood fibre is still a vital part of the forest economy, but communities are increasing their capacities to extract more value-added from their trees.  An example mentioned by several interviewees from the case study on Community Value-added Products, is the work of the Clayoquot Forest Communities in value-added housing which encompasses using the local forest to retrofit existing homes damaged by mould, building new homes and community facilities, making investments in local milling capacity, conducting skills inventories, and running training programs. 

In addition, the Ontario East Wood Centre and Eco-Industrial Park was developed as a centre of excellence for wood fibre-based and biomass enterprise.  This Center will build upon 18 years of results from the Eastern Ontario Model Forest and is expected to bring technology, science and entrepreneurship together in support of the rural economy of Ontario, sustainable forests and sustainable communities.

Significant achievements have been made in increased collaboration at the community and regional level.  Interviewees spoke of the benefits of bringing all of the significant players on the forest landscape together to exchange knowledge and viewpoints, discuss solutions, and plan initiatives.  A common theme that emerges is the dynamic inter-relationship between collaboration and capacity.  For example, in Clayoquot, interviewees noted that partnerships are working well enough that communities that could not agree about management strategies for local forests are now reaching consensus.

Some interviewees noted that the value of collaboration is changing the mentality in communities, even introducing hope to discouraged populations.  According to interviewees, collaboration has also permitted forest communities to increase their technical capacity by assembling a critical mass of skills, offering complementary skill sets, and linking non-specialists with specialists.  For instance, the Prince Albert Model Forest provides links to the University of Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Research Council.  The Manitoba Model Forest works with private sector firms like Louisiana Pacific and key public agencies like Manitoba Hydro and Manitoba Conservation.  The latter two collaborate in research and management plans for moose and caribou populations.

A major aspect of collaboration at many FCP sites is relationship building between First Nations and non-Aboriginal communities as seen in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and other provinces.  In the Northeast Superior Forest Community case study, reference is made to the newly-formed partnership among the First Nations chiefs and mayors of six municipalities, which is seen as a breakthrough in communication and cooperation.

The Clayoquot FCP has also developed a successful collaboration among five First Nations communities and two municipalities.  Members of First Nation communities report that their involvement in the FCP has contributed to strengthening their capacities in managing stakeholders, in implementing projects such as a run of the river micro-electricity project, and in strategic planning.  Municipalities in Lac-Saint-Jean Model Forest region have established partnerships with First Nations in energy and forestry, and are planning other joint efforts in recreation and tourism.

Although collaboration is most intense at the community or regional level, there are also achievements at the provincial, national and international levels.  The Manitoba Model Forest has expanded beyond its traditional land base on the east side of Lake Winnipeg to the far west side of the province.  Expanding the partnership boundaries is also exemplified by the Sturgeon River Plains Bison Stewards becoming part of the Prince Albert Model Forest Board, adding expertise in landscape conservation. 

At the national level, five FCP sites are collaborating in knowledge sharing and joint activities on mushrooms according to interviews with the Canadian Model Forest Network.  There are also larger initiatives, such as the FCP involvement in the circumboreal forest network that reaches beyond Canada to Russia and Scandinavia.  Interviews from a site visit revealed that linkages established between the Model Forest of Newfoundland and the British Columbia Forest Communities Association have had considerable benefits in capacity building through access to new knowledge and approaches.  The Newfoundland partners have made several fact-finding missions to British Columbia to explore the concept of community forests.

At the international level, FCP sites are active in collaboration with partners around the world through the International Model Forest Network.  The Model Forest of Lac-Saint-Jean collaborates in a project for economic development and entrepreneurship in Cameroon’s forests, and is mentoring partners in Croatia, Morocco and Tunisia. 

The Manitoba Model Forest has been supporting a Costa Rican community for several years in developing capacity in ecotourism and the lessons learned have been used to build capacity in Canadian First Nation communities.  The Prince Albert Model Forest has built strong links into Scandinavia and engaged with Vilhelmina Model Forest in Sweden.  Vilhelmina and Prince Albert are both communities in transition and face opportunistic and challenging changes to community sustainability.  This project begins a collaborative learning process that will include documenting and describing the land-use patterns, management plans, and legal and political systems at work in each model forest.

The Eastern Ontario Model Forest and the Canadian Model Forest Network are co-located near Ottawa.  This site acts as the link between Canadian and international model forests for a wide number of projects and is the gateway for international visitors to the Canadian Network.  The Forest Communities Program is currently working with model forests in Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Russia, Sweden, and Cameroon.

More than 20 delegates from the Canadian Model Forest Network traveled to Burgos, Spain in March, to attend the 2011 International Model Forest Network Global Forum, and the preceding Symposium on Ecosystem and Landscape-Level Approaches to Sustainability.  With over 300 representatives from around the world in attendance, this meeting provided the opportunity to meet and network with a broad range of local and regional model forest representatives, and partners.  The Canadian Model Forest Network also makes connections to other regional networks, to explore the opportunities for joint initiatives at a higher level.Footnote 40

Measuring the level and impact of the capacity building at this stage is difficult.  However, the examples provided do indicate that many partners see that the benefits are real.  In a local community, the first step is to build the local/regional partnerships.  The process then connects the partners at the regional level and links with the national and international levels in a tangible way through knowledge exchanges, local workshops, conferences and world congresses.

Generated new knowledge and approaches; applied and/or implemented new knowledge, innovative tools, and processes.

Several examples of new knowledge generated and new approaches applied are illustrated below.

The Regional Forest Health Network is a broad partnership of 20 organizations (in northern New York State, Ontario, western Quebec) spearheaded by the Eastern Ontario Model Forest to respond to any risk that threatens the health of a forest.  Through the FCP, a particular focus has been slowing the spread of the emerald ash borer across eastern Ontario.  Efforts have led to the refining of the boundaries of the ministerial order prohibiting the movement of firewood and ash-tree materials in the cities of Ottawa and Gatineau in 2009.  The Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued the ministerial order to protect nursery stock, logs, branches and wood chips from areas of Ottawa and Gatineau to any other surrounding regions.Footnote 41  The Eastern Ontario Model Forest, through the Regional Forest Health Network, quickly took up the task of working with both cities.  One notable achievement, as indicated in the case study, was the declaration of the week of 16 May 2010 as Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week in the National Capital Region.

The Prince Edward Island Model Forest Network Partnership has sponsored a teachers’ tour in co-operation with eight other organizations.  The teachers’ tour participants share this new knowledge with both students and peers. 

Climate Change adaptation is interrelated with forest sector transformation.  A draft guidebook on climate change has been developed, through the Canadian Model Forest Network with input from the Canadian model forests.Footnote 42  This will be piloted at three to four model forests in 2011,   to ensure ease and accessibility of use of this information and making revisions where necessary. 

Interviewees have indicated that the work on non-timber forest products has led to a number of new resources.  In the Lac-Saint-Jean Model Forest, a literature review was published on birch sap and its transformation, including information on the nutritional properties of birch sap and its traditional uses.  Experimental production was undertaken of the first beer based on birch syrup, in Quebec, at a local micro-brewery.  Research on mushrooms showed that the forest stands with the greatest potential in the region are white spruce plantations, and also identified the other productive forest and moss mixes.  The research also confirmed the abundant presence in the region of 25 mushroom species, among them, several prized species such as the chanterelle, the bolete, and the matsutaké, as well as other species with good market potential.

The Canadian Model Forest Network prepared a report,Footnote 43 in 2008, outlining the activities taking place across Canada in model forests with respect to non-timber forest products.  This was followed with a number of workshops held across Canada over 2009-10, bringing together a wide range of people who are engaged in the harvesting and production of non-timber forest products.  An example of this is the workshop held in Nanaimo, in November 2009, on key lessons for non-timber forest product development in Canada.   As a result of the workshops, the Canadian Model Forest Network developed a report summarizing the lessons learned.  

Interviewees indicated that as a result of FCP funding, the Le Bourdon Project is able to do research that it could never have financed on its own.  The project has developed historical portraits on natural and human disturbances, undertaken studies on the economic benefits of recreation and tourism, and developed other tools.  The research showed that outfitters have significantly diversified their business from hunting and fishing to bringing people into the forest for ecotourism and other opportunities.

The Nova Forest Alliance St. Mary’s watershed project resulted in the 2009 Social-Economic Survey of St. Mary’s River Watershed, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia.  The survey generated new knowledge about local views on a variety of topics affecting the watershed, including tourism and angling, economic development and resiliency, agriculture and forestry activities, most frequently practiced recreational activities and values associated with the St. Mary’s River.  The information and new knowledge has helped to focus and shape several subsequent St. Mary’s River Association projects.

In Clayoquot Sound, interviewees spoke of the upheaval that occurred 15 years ago around logging and other development in this globally-recognized ecosystem.  A science panel came up with recommendations at that time for future ecosystem management, and FCP funding allowed the Clayoquot Forest Communities to conduct a review of progress on those recommendations, thereby increasing local knowledge about sustainable forest management.  The Clayoquot Forest Communities has also developed the Nuu-chah-nulth Living Atlas, an interactive thematic atlas focused on the changing geography of Clayoquot Sound over time.

A new initiative, led by the Clayoquot Forest Communities that started as a local initiative, has grown internationally as a result of the Canadian Model Forest Network and the International Model Forest Network.  It is a project to understand the value and marketability of having forest products (timber, non-timber and other forest products) traceable from the producer to the consumer. What started as a British Columbia initiative has now been scaled up to Ontario (two model forests), Quebec (two model forests), and Nova Scotia (one model forest).  Cameroon and Spain are also participating in the project.

The Prince Albert Model Forest has collaborated with a learning conservation centre and the Saskatchewan Research Council in agroforestry research on tree shrubs that provide shelter for crops.  They have since developed an agroforestry business case toolkit.

Clayoquot Forest Communities is managing a project in climate change adaptation that examines the key species in the forest that would adapt in expected changing climatic conditions.

Several FCP sites are creating new knowledge in wildlife management as stated by interviewees.  Resources North Association is participating in research north of Prince George on caribou and how to carry out forest operation to minimize conflicts with wildlife.  Caribou populations are also the focus of research initiatives supported by the Prince Albert Model Forest and the Manitoba Model Forest.  Both of these sites are also incorporating traditional knowledge of First Nations in forest management planning.  The Bison Stewardship Program, at Prince Albert Model Forest, is another example of new approaches being applied in wildlife management.  Several FCP sites participate in research on declining moose populations, including Manitoba, Lac-Saint-Jean, and Northeast Superior.

As mentioned by interviewees, the generation of science-based knowledge is usually based on research, and in the FCP, there has been a reduction in capacity to undertake research.  Research was a main component in the development of innovative solutions through the delivery of the model forests programs.  It was stated that the involvement of the CFS was more evident in past model forest programs and the CFS was the catalyst for a number of the research products that were developed. 

Increased stakeholder access to knowledge related to sustainable forest landscape management.

The case study on the Winnipeg River Learning Centre found that there are many opportunities for learning, exchange and exposure to knowledge about sustainable forest landscape management, especially for Aboriginal clientele through presentations and meetings.  For example, Manitoba Conservation has made presentations on conservation of moose.

A collaborative agreement was established between the Le Bourdon Project and Manawan Atikamekw First Nations to provide silviculture training.  The site engaged in developing an integrated ecosystem risk-based analysis project with CFS’ Atlantic Forestry Centre, Corner Brook.

A case study on Transitioning to a Bio-based Community showed that projects at the Eastern Ontario Model Forest have demonstrated the value in working with stakeholders to increase their access to knowledge related to sustainable forest landscape management.  Key goals of the Ontario East Wood Centre are to support, develop and diversify the local forest-based economy with overriding principles of sustainable forest development.  Another case study on Advancing Forest Certification in Communities at the Eastern Ontario Model Forest illustrated that, through the forest certification program and the related outreach seminars, woodlot owners, managers of community forests and commercial operation owners have been brought together for sustainable operations and certification of their forests or mills.  Certification has been one of the key enablers in assisting private woodlot and community forest owners establish a market for their products.  In other cases, it has helped to ensure a stable base of employment for workers in the area and contributes to overall community stability.  The certification program focuses on sustainable forest management activities and consequently has introduced literally to hundreds of people to these concepts.

Several FCP sites are making access to knowledge about sustainable forest landscape management a major focus of their activities.  For example, the Manitoba Model Forest has a teaching demonstration woodlot where it provides training on private sawmills and maintaining a woodlot.  The Nova Forest Alliance operates tours to show farmers and landowners current forest management practices, overcome outmoded notions of how forestry is done, and demonstrate changes in forestry in the past twenty years.  The programs for forest stewardship certification, that are part of most FCP sites, are another channel for increasing access to this knowledge.  The case study on the Junior Forest Rangers Camp showed that the programs in the Manitoba Model Forest and the Prince Albert Model Forest are considered by several interviewees to be outstanding examples of encouraging access to knowledge about sustainable forest landscape management, especially for marginalized First Nations youth.  Entry and exit surveys of participating youth in the Prince Albert’s Model Forest Junior Forest Rangers Program demonstrate an increase in knowledge levels of sustainable forest management and forestry-related skills.  Since 2006, the Junior Forest Rangers Program has graduated about 300 rangers.

The case study on Non-Timber Forest Products at the Lac-Saint-Jean Model Forest showed the advantages of a mixed forest-blueberry plantation for protecting blueberry plants from winter frost.  It showed that blueberry productivity compares favourably to conventional mono-crop blueberry operations, with the added value of wood fibre production.   In addition, the research proved to be an interesting avenue for preserving the biodiversity of jack pine stands.  Overall, the mixed forest-blueberry concept is beneficial in terms of sustainable development, landscape protection, wildlife habitat and equitable sharing of a collective resource. 

All the research that has been led by the Lac-Saint-Jean Model Forest – in areas such as birch sap products, mushrooms, blueberry production and many others – was essential in defining the competencies required in each of these sectors.

Demonstrated leadership by forest-based communities on forest sector transition issues and opportunities; informed policy-making and planning at the forest landscape level.

Interviewees indicated that the Manitoba Model Forest’s contribution to research on caribou population and calving has helped inform the policy of Manitoba Conservation on timber harvesting plans.

The Fundy Model Forest has been able to present strong, neutral positions on projects in bioenergy and development of that renewable energy.  A study on opportunities in the area of combined heat and power brought the Departments of Energy, Agriculture, and Public Works to the table, along with the Conservation Council of New Brunswick and business representatives, and showed good potential for influencing policy.

According to interviews, the Prince Albert Model Forest’s involvement in the Junior Ranger Program showed leadership by getting youth engaged in employment opportunities in the natural resources sector.  The Program has engaged the province, which is looking at how to change policy to encourage youth to pursue natural resources opportunities.  Another area of policy influence for the Prince Albert Model Forest is on ways to improve technology for carbon capture and storage, work that has been carried out in concert with the Saskatchewan Research Council.

Leadership examples extracted from the case studies include the breakthrough establishment of the Northeast Superior Regional Chiefs Forum – a partnership of six First Nations that have come together with common goals and objectives to work under the banner of the Northeast Superior Forest Communities alongside the Northeast Superior Mayors’ Group – which has been working collectively over the past seven years.  The goal of this organization was to spur a grassroots approach to facing issues in partnership rather than as individual communities.

4.2.3  First Nations Forestry Program
4.2.4    Achievement of Expected Outcomes (Effectiveness)
Evaluation Question Methodologies Assessment
To what extent have intended outcomes been achieved as a result of the Program? Document review; interviews; case studies FNFP has stimulated significant capacity in Aboriginal communities. More than 1,600 First Nations workers have participated in specialized training, 80 business plans have been developed and 59 feasibility studies have resulted in business partnerships.

Summary: The FNFP concentrated on developing basic skills and knowledge among community members in areas such as forest planning, forest equipment handling and maintenance, forest surveys, fire prevention and firefighting skills, business feasibility studies and operational forestry.  A total of 725 projects were completed during 2005-06 to 2009-10, with total federal expenditures of about $55.2 million, with FNFP contributing $17.6 million, leveraging additional cash and in-kind contributions from partners and First Nations of about $37.6 million.  In addition, the very nature of the FNFP projects (average $30,000) – being small and centred on community development – makes it incredibly difficult to tie outputs into medium or even short range outcomes.

According to interviews and documentation, the FNFP projects concentrated on developing the basic skills and knowledge among community members in areas such as forest planning, forest equipment handling and maintenance, forest surveys, fire prevention and firefighting skills, business feasibility studies and operational forestry.  The aim was to create a potential workforce better enabled to engage in the forest sector.  As a result, the Program’s successes must be measured in terms of individual and community benefits.

In partnership with other project partners such as industry and provinces, the FNFP has stimulated significant capacity in Aboriginal communities from 2005-06 to 2009-10 by engaging First Nations communities in 725 FNFP projects. Over 1,600 First Nations workers have participated in specialized training and workplace experience sessions, and the Program has supported the development of about 80 business plans and 59 feasibility studies, which have resulted in business partnerships and contracting successes in First Nations communities including forest surveys, fire prevention and firefighting, and culturally sensitive forest planning.  In addition, several communities have taken over forest management responsibilities from provincial authorities and have obtained forest land certification.  Based on data collected by regional coordinators from the final reports of project proponents, during the period 2005-06 to 2010-11, over 5,000 new jobs were created (short and long-term, First Nations and non-First Nations).  Examples of achievements are highlighted below from 2005-06 to 2009-10.

  • A total of 725 projects were completed with federal government expenditures of about $55.2 million.
  • FNFP contributed $17.6 million, leveraging additional cash and in-kind contributions from partners and First Nations were about $37.6 million.
  • First Nations Forestry Program projects were related to forest management activities, training and skills development, business development activities and access to forest resources.  Projects to increase access to forest resources were a small portion of program funding.
  • First Nations Forestry Program Success Stories was published in 2005-06.  These stories are representative of the projects that have been successfully completed over the years.  Projects have involved facilitating access to forest resources and business partnerships, transferring knowledge and tools for sustainable forest management, and providing workers with specialized technical training and work experience.
  • The regional-scale Aboriginal Skills and Employment Partnership: A New Brunswick initiative which received funding for skills training that has resulted in more than 245 full-time seasonable and permanent job placements in the New Brunswick forest sector to date, and has helped provide training for more than 400 new and existing positions. 
  • FNFP participated in seven major outreach events across Canada, including the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers 14th National Conference, which took place in Kamloops, British Columbia from October 22-25, 2007.
  • FNFP funded a Trends in Aboriginal Forestry research project to analyze developments in Aboriginal Forestry in 2007-08.
  • A visioning exercise, involving First Nations forestry practitioners across Canada, was initiated in 2007-08 with the objective of defining a shared vision of First Nations forestry and collective priorities to guide the Program’s future direction.
  • Regional-scale initiatives supported in 2008-09 included the Island Lake Tribal Council’s Regional Sawmill Business Plan project in Manitoba, and the Council of Yukon First Nations’ Log Home Building Project.
  • In 2008-09, the FNFP and the National Aboriginal Forestry Association piloted the development of an online directory of Aboriginal Forestry business across Canada.
  • FNFP supported various outreach activities across Canada, including the Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources’ Marketing Workshop which allowed participants to explore potential markets for hardwood and provided training in hardwood management techniques which took place on July 20th, 2009 in Eskasoni, Nova Scotia.
  • FNFP provided funding for regional-scale projects, including the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Secretariat’s Standing Tree to Standing Home project which provided valuable home construction training and chainsaw certification to five First Nations communities.
  • Support from the FNFP enabled the Mathias Colomb Cree Nation to enter into an agreement with Manitoba Conservation which produced photo imagery of Mathias Colomb Cree Nation lands which are now included in the province’s 2009 inventory project.

4.3     Unintended Outcomes – Forest-based Community Partnerships Sub-Activity

Evaluation Question Methodologies Assessment
Have there been any unintended (positive or negative) outcomes? Document review; interviews There were both positive and negative unintended impacts as a result of the programs.  There were some unintended negative impacts for the FCP including the reduction in traditional partners; research capacity; sustainable forest management activities; and widening of the gap with the internal CFS program.

Summary:  There were both positive and negative unintended impacts as a result of the programs under the Forest-based Communities Sub-Activity.  There were some unintended negative impacts identified in the document review and interviews for the FCP activities including weakening of the model forest process through the loss of traditional partners, loss of research capacity, and reduction of sustainable forest management activities.

In terms of the FNFP, an unintended negative outcome was that it diverted communities from pursuing other funding sources.  Communities focused on applying for FNFP dollars, which were relatively small, at the expense of other federal funding options that had much larger pools of money available.  Projects to increase access to forest resources were a small portion of program funding.  Interviewees stated that the major factors affecting performance were having such small scale projects and spreading the small amounts of funding out so widely. 

There were both positive and negative unintended impacts as a result of the programs under the Forest-based Communities Sub-Activity. The overall impacts of the FCP on the model forest concept and its future national application were not foreseen as an intended outcome.

An analysis of the qualitative interviews and document review provides evidence that the FCP has led to a strengthening of the model forests nationally and internationally: four new FCP supported model forests sites have been added to the Canadian Model Forest Network bringing the total to 15.  The model forest has traditionally had a strong First Nations involvement and the FCP has led to an even stronger First Nations participation (e.g., Clayoquot, Northeast Superior, Le Bourdon and Lac-Saint-Jean).  Related to the impacts listed above, numerous interviewees singled out the leadership role and the engagement of First Nations participants in the regional partnerships of the FNFP.  This outcome is expressed as a positive aspect of the Program that has the potential for profound impacts on the overall initiative.

Under the FCP, there is a stronger model forest presence in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, and through the sub-activity, the application of the model forest concept has moved beyond traditional boundaries and several new partners are now involved (i.e., regional economic development; community organizations).  This adds a new dimension in assessment of the utility of the model forest concept outside sustainable forest management.

As perceived by several interviewees, the FCP has led to a weakening of previously established model forest linkages through the loss of traditional partners (i.e., major forest-sector industry, provincial forest agencies, research partners) that have yet to find an appropriate role in the FCP.  This loss is because of the priority shift away from sustainable forest management to economic development.  Some traditional partners have stated that they are no longer at the table because of this change.  Interviewees also reiterated that the FCP has reduced the research capacity previously accepted as a main component in development of innovative solutions through the delivery of the model forest programs.

With respect to the FNFP, it was noted by interviewees that the unintended negative outcome of the Program was that it distracted communities from pursuing other funding sources.  Communities focused on applying for FNFP dollars, which were relatively small, at the expense of other federal funding options that had larger budgets.  Communities were not prepared to develop larger scale projects even if these projects were forestry related.  The new Aboriginal Forestry Initiative is planned to be a horizontal initiative, with investments from other departments and facilitation from NRCan.  This initiative will work with the communities to bring other funders to the table in order to develop larger, long-lasting projects.

Factors affecting performance

The main positive factor affecting performance for both programs in the sub-activity was the effectiveness of multi-sector partnerships.  Many partners and stakeholders invest their time and resources on a volunteer or in-kind basis and most have continued to do so for extended periods of time.

Interviewees also noted that a major positive was that the FCP model allows funds to be used for purposes such as staffing and administration.  This aspect is seen as a critical attribute for a successful operation, as it allowed for staff continuity and freed them to actively pursue additional project funding.  This flexibility enables foundation functions to be maintained, including the partnerships and related program of work. 

The National Council of the FNFP, comprised of representatives from each of the regional councils, was also a key factor.  It provided an advisory and information sharing role that assisted immensely in the creation of successful projects, while creating a sense of ownership in the Program among the various communities.  The regional and provincial management committees would meet, identify merit criteria for proposals, vet proposals, decide what projects could have been taken on based on what funding was available, made recommendations to NRCan, and set-up contribution agreements.  In the end, they were in control of funding decisions.  This gave transparency to the work of the Program, broadened the policy advice it received, and resulted in much stronger buy-in from the regions and individual communities as opposed to a structure that was based in Ottawa.

One specific negative factor in relation to the FNFP was having such small scale projects (averaging $30,000) and spreading the small amounts of funding out so widely. 

4.4     Economy and Efficiency – Forest-based Community Partnerships Sub-Activity

Evaluation Question Methodologies Assessment
Are the programs the most economic and efficient means of achieving outputs and progress towards outcomes? Document review; interviews Evidence indicates that the programs were delivered in an economic and efficient manner.

Summary:  The FCP and FNFP were found to perform in an efficient manner.  Programs were expected to leverage significant additional cash and in-kind funding at a 1:2 ratio.  During the evaluation period, FCP’s leveraging was 1:3 and FNFP’s was 1:2.  The FCP is supported by eight full time employees (FTEs) in the NRCan-CFS regional offices and the National Capital Region.  In the same manner, the FNFP was delivered by a total of 20 full-time equivalent staff from 2005-06 to 2009-10.

Economy

Despite the continuing downturn in the industry, financial documentation from program management indicates that the expected leveraging in the first three years of the Program has been exceeded.  In 2007-08, the FCP’s first year of operation, partner contributions totalled nearly $5.1 million, 67% over and above the program’s funding commitment of $2.5 million for that year.  This represents a partner contribution ratio of 1:2 to available program funds.  In 2008-09, program contributions were $4.0 million while partnership contributions in the form of cash and in-kind support totalled an estimated $8.5 million, 68% of the total.  This corresponds to a 1:2 ratio to available program funds.  Similarly, in 2009-10, partner contributions were $19.0 million and program funds were $3.9 million, denoting a ratio of 1:4.8.  The Forest Communities Program has therefore leveraged dollars at an average ratio of 1:3 over the three-year period from 2007-08 to 2009-10.

As well, the First Nations Forestry Program was delivered by a total of 20 full-time equivalent staff from 2005-06 to 2009-10.  The First Nations Forestry Program cash contributions were $17.6 million, and leveraged cash and in-kind contributions from partners and First Nations totalled $37.6 million over the five-year period, representing a ratio of 1:2. 

Efficiency

The FCP and FNFP were found to perform in an efficient manner. 

In the NRCan Integrated Business Plan, the use of multi-stakeholder partnerships is encouraged and seen as a strategy that allows others to lead in areas where they are best able to do so.Footnote 44  The use of multi-stakeholder partnerships was core to the delivery of both the FCP and FNFP, and allowed projects under both programs to be successful.  The Forest Communities Program is led by a local general manager at each of the eleven forest-based community sites, working through local and regional partnerships.  The Forest Communities Program sites are overseen by independent boards of directors – “not-for-profit” bodies including diverse partners responsible for setting local community strategic directions.  Through a national agreement, the Canadian Model Forest Network, an independent body, is responsible for coordinating the development of national and international projects.  In this program, the work is local but the knowledge that can be accessed and applied ranges from local to global.  Each FCP site is a component in the International Model Forest Network.  

The multi-stakeholder partnership model has worked for the management and delivery of all model forests nationally and internationally, with considerable success.  At this stage of the delivery of the FCP, the partnership appears to work in an efficient manner.  The Forest Communities Program sites can be viewed as platforms for the transfer and exchange of science-based knowledge, tools and forest management strategies among the model forest communities across Canada, and in Latin America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Russia.

The First Nations Forestry Program delivery was based on partnerships at several levels.  The partnership between AANDC and NRCan drew on funding resources and community links from AANDC, and NRCan’s scientific, technical and business expertise as well as its organizational links and forestry experience with First Nations.  The First Nations Forestry Program has partnered with First Nation representatives in program delivery at the provincial-territorial level, and in many cases, provincial-territorial governments and stakeholders from the forest industry.  For each dollar contributed by the FNFP, First Nations, provinces, territories, industry and other federal departments have provided about two dollars in cash and in-kind support.  The willingness of others to invest in FNFP projects reflects the value they attach to these projects.

When asked how the FNFP compared to similar programs in other jurisdictions/sectors in terms of the efficient use of resources to achieve outcomes, interviewees responded that AANDC’s Community Economic Opportunities Program has a similar structure with regional bodies.  Interviewees stated that over the last 15 years, the FNFP has been very effective in Aboriginal opportunities in forestry.  Fifteen years ago there were considerably fewer First Nations communities involved in the sector, but with the gaps created by failed companies, the provinces are starting to revisit opening forest tenders and allowing Aboriginal bids.  The capacity for sustainable economic development created by FNFP may not be directly in the mandate for NRCan’s forestry sector, but it was a success in giving these communities the opportunity to take advantage of new and emerging economic opportunities.

4.5     Program Improvements – Forest-based Community Partnerships Sub-Activity

Evaluation Question Methodologies Assessment
How could be programs be improved? Document review; interviews; case studies While the FCP is functioning at a high level, there are several opportunities for improvement.

Summary:  Overall, the sub-activity was found to be delivering on its objectives very well.  It was evident from the document review, case studies and interviews that the model forest approach is regarded as a logical platform for delivery of the FCP and encourages a process for implementation of the community-based approach.

The First Nations Forestry Program, though its unique governance model and commitment to enhancing First Nations forestry resources and marketplace participation, was able to deliver tangible results for First Nations communities in the short term.  Despite this, there are opportunities for improvement and lessons learned from the two programs.

An administrative concern raised by a few interviewees is that there are inconsistencies in the application of the FCP across Canada, and that program activities (e.g., wildlife-forestry dynamics, development of climate change adaptation strategies) supported in some regions are not supported or accepted in other regions.  This concern of variance in delivery is an issue that should be assessed by CFS management.  The lack of consistency is believed to have led to the exclusion of traditional model forest partners from participation in some FCP sites.

The linkages between the FCP and the Canadian Model Forest Network are seen to be working relatively well.  Nevertheless, there are some concerns raised by a few interviewees that there is a need for better focus within the national-level strategic initiatives and that there should be fewer, more strongly focused priorities.

Overall, the sub-activity was found to be delivering on its objectives very well.  It was evident from the document review, case studies and interviews, that the model forest approach is regarded as a logical platform for delivery of the FCP and encourages a process for implementation of the community-based approach.  The First Nations Forestry Program, though its unique governance model and commitment to enhancing First Nations forestry resources and marketplace participation, was able to deliver tangible results for First Nations communities in the short term.  Despite this, there are opportunities for improvement and lessons learned from the two programs.

Some interviewees were concerned that the FCP was being promoted as a replacement program for the national model forest program.  There appears to be a communications issue referring to the FCP as the replacement of the expired Model Forest Program.  The Forest Communities Program message needs to be communicated in a way that values the FCP in its own right, articulates the value of having FCP operating within the model forest concept, and explains the model forest brand as a recognized national and international entity that was initiated by the CFS. 

For several interviewees with longer Model Forest Program experience, it is clear that the change in focus from sustainable forest management to community-based economic development of the FCP has required a period of adjustment.  This change is now generally accepted as having had positive outcomes by opening the model forest process to a new set of partners and creating different types of opportunities.  There are, however, concerns about the consequences associated with the shift away from sustainable forest management, such as the loss of research capacity and flexibility that were elements of past phases of the Model Forest Program.

Some interviewees believe that these changes have also resulted in the loss or reduced involvement of some traditional model forest partners, including some major forest companies and research organizations, particularly researchers involved in wildlife-forestry interactions. 

Several interviewees, both inside and outside NRCan, are also concerned that the FCP has resulted in a diminished engagement with the CFS, particularly that of federal researchers.

An administrative concern raised by a few interviewees is that there are inconsistencies in the application of the FCP across Canada, and that program activities (e.g., wildlife-forestry dynamics, development of climate change adaptation strategies) supported in some regions are not supported or accepted in other regions.  This concern of inconsistency in delivery is an issue that needs to be assessed by CFS management.

Many references were made to the need to maintain foundation support for the sites through FCP funding. Program funding is used to support operations and project activities at the eleven sites and the Canadian Model Forest Network.  The Forest Communities Program funding has been referenced by many regional FCP staff and partners as being critical to the success of the Program.  It is the cadre of general managers and key staff at FCP sites that are responsible for the building of partnerships, the development and delivery of programs, for leadership in national and international networking, and for the generation of cash and in-kind contributions.  Without establishing a solid foundation in site operations, it is highly unlikely that critical staff could be retained.  

With reference to the FNFP, interviewees said that NRCan should play a larger facilitation role and focus on projects with the potential for large, regional scale impacts.  Future programming needs to support broad based partnerships as well as to appeal to other federal and provincial departments, and private forestry sector stakeholders.  The downturn in the forestry sector over the last decade has created an opportunity for Aboriginals to become a major player in the sector through taking over the roles vacated by industry instead of simply negotiating access with already existing industry players. 

Appropriate level of resources

Several interviewees stated that there needs to be more funding to assure that the core administration at FCP sites continues. 

Interviewees noted that this was an issue and an opportunity as there was a lack of funds for FNFP projects.  Many projects were turned down for no other reason than insufficient funds.  Despite receiving 697 potentially successful project proposals between 2006-07 and 2008-09, the Program only approved 434 projects (62%).  The remaining 263 projects (38%) rejected during this time period were due to a lack of available funding.Footnote 45 

There were two unintended outcomes related to this, one positive and one negative.  The first outcome was the lack of funding actually lead to a more competitive proposal process.  Communities worked hard to develop as comprehensive a case for a project as possible, often expanding its scope and working to secure other supporters, all in order to be chosen to receive FNFP funding.  The committees had to review proposals very carefully and truly select the best ones given the funding.  The lack of funding also created an unintended negative outcome, where projects were devised and proposed based around what was considered to be available from FNFP.  Interviewees noted that, in some cases, they would prioritize what they considered to be important to NRCan and AANDC, rather than developing a strong project based on the needs of their particular community and then pursuing full funding for it. 

The main criticism was that because the funding levels for grants and contributions were so low, the administrative costs for project delivery were high given the rural locations and small amount of infrastructure in place in many communities. 

Effective linkages and/or working relationships

The outputs produced by both the FCP and FNFP were largely due to the effective working relationships.

The linkages among the FCP, model forest sites, industry partners, and the Canadian Model Forest Network are seen to be working relatively well.  However, several interviewees referred to recent challenges in leadership of the Canadian Model Forest Network and that over the brief life of the FCP, network management is already under its third President.  There is an overall confidence expressed in the current leadership and the team in place is seen as highly capable.  There is also strong support for the Canadian Model Forest Network Board of Directors and how that body has participated in the FCP process.  There are some concerns raised by a few interviewees that there is a need for better focus within the national-level strategic initiatives and that there should be fewer, more strongly focused, priorities.

Linkages among FNFP program staff, First Nations communities, and project partners overall functioned at a very high level.  However, interviewees indicated that there was some contention around the division of funding between the various regional committees.  British Columba received the largest portion of funding, but this was due to the size of its forestry industry in relation to the other areas of the country.  In spite of this, British Columbia had the highest rate of proposal rejections from across the country, based on lack of available funding.

National initiatives – Canadian Model Forest Network

National initiatives for the sub-activity were developed by the Forest Communities Program through the Canadian Model Forest Network.  The Network has been quite successful in producing national level outputs for Forest-based Communities and bringing together the different model forest sites across the country.  Several examples are offered below:

  • A Socio-economic indicator workshop held in Toronto from December 10-11, 2009 brought together about 25 individuals from all across Canada to talk about socio-economic issues and challenges in their communities, and experience/expertise in addressing concerns in their regions.  This workshop had representatives from a wide range of backgrounds including academia (University of New Brunswick and Dalhousie University), Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community leaders and representatives, government representatives, non-government organizations, economic development planners, and model forest staff/representatives from a wide range of locations.
  • A bioenergy draft primer has been developed applicable to a wide range of situations across Canada, in a language that is accessible to those who are new to the bioenergy sector.  The Steering Committee is made up of people from all across Canada (British Columbia, Newfoundland, Saskatchewan, and Ontario), mostly model forests but also provincial government representatives (Saskatchewan).
  • ‘thisforest’Footnote 46 is a new initiative led by the Clayoquot Forest Communities that started as a local initiative, but has grown internationally as a result of the Canadian Model Forest Network and the International Model Forest Network.  It is a project to understand the value and marketability of having forest products (timber and non-timber forest products) traceable from the producer to the consumer.  What started as a British Columbia initiative, has now been scaled up to Ontario (two model forests), Quebec (two model forests), and Nova Scotia (one model forest).  Also, there have been linkages and interest in international model forests and Cameroon and Spain are also participating in the project.
  • A draft guidebook on climate change adaptation has been developed with input from Canadian model forests.  This guide will be piloted at three to four model forests in 2011, to ensure ease and accessibility of use of this information and making revisions where necessary.
  • Over the past few years, the FCP General Managers Committee has been taking a stronger leadership role in the management and delivery of national initiatives.  Meetings are now held monthly to discuss joint projects, Canadian Model Forest Network’s national initiatives, funding opportunities, and other general topics of interest.

Interviewees have expressed concerns over the need to have more formal linkages up and down the chain from the model forests to the Canadian Model Forest Network and International Model Forest Network.  At present, the linkages between FCP sites and the International Model Forest Network are seen as largely developed through individual FCP site initiatives. 

The Forest Communities Program also provides support to NRCan’s international agenda and is an important link with Canada’s International Model Forest Network Program by providing a feeder platform for the transfer of science-based knowledge, tools and forest management strategies to international model forests in areas such as Latin America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Russia.  However, according to interviewees, there appears to be no formal link between the FCP and the International Model Forest Network.  Several interviewees describe the international component of the model forests as having considerably more resources in the CFS than the related national initiatives.  It was suggested by a few interviewees that it might be more efficient for the CFS and beneficial to the FCP to consider combining the operational programs of the international and national model forests within the same secretariat.

Annex 1: FCP Site and Network Profiles

1) Clayoquot Forest Communities:  Clayoquot Forest Communities encompasses five First Nations communities, as well as the municipal districts of Ucluelet and Tofino.  Co-managed by five Nuu-chah-nulth communities and Ecotrust Canada, the area receives over one million tourist visits annually and contains the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.  Clayoquot Forest Communities is focused on developing a community-based conservation economic opportunities oriented around the First Nations communities in the area.  In addition, ongoing projects include educational activities, capacity-building, and engagement strategies on forest sector activities for youth, women, elders, and First Nations.

2) Resources North Association:  Twenty-five incorporated towns, thirty First Nations settlements, numerous unincorporated communities, and urban centres like Fort St. John and Prince George encompass a forest area larger than the province of New Brunswick.  Resources North Association brings together the Integrated Resource Management Partnership of Northern British Columbia (the "IRM Partnership") and the former McGregor Model Forest Association.  Resources North Association focuses on projects in the South Peace, Mackenzie, and Vanderhoof-Fort St. James areas, such as land use mapping and climate change mitigation.

3) Prince Albert Model Forest:  The Prince Albert Model Forest is a non-profit partnership of forest users committed to the sustainability of Saskatchewan's forests through research, education and the equitable sharing of forest resources.  Started in 1992, the Prince Albert Model Forest has focused on integrated resource management, and developed partnerships linking industry, governments, aboriginal groups, communities, and researchers.  Principal activities target specific communities within an approximate 120-kilometre radius around the city of Prince Albert that includes both forest and agricultural landscapes.

4) Manitoba Model Forest

Located 100 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg, Manitoba Model Forest includes several Aboriginal communities, as well as numerous provincial parks.  Current projects include a joint eco-tourism venture with Reventazón Model Forest in Costa Rica, woodland caribou research, and the development of a Junior Rangers Program.

5) Northeast Superior Forest Community: Located on the northeast shore of Lake Superior, Northeast Superior Forest Community represents a partnership of six communities – Chapleau, White River, Wawa, Dubreuilville, Hornepayne, and Manitouwadge, plus a partnership with local First Nations communities.  Northeast Superior Forest Community focuses on diversifying and improving economic opportunities.  Non-timber forest products and bioenergy development are two examples of non-traditional opportunities for economic development that Northeast Superior Forest Community is actively pursuing.

6) Eastern Ontario Model Forest

The Eastern Ontario Model Forest is a not-for-profit, charitable organization that works with government, landowners, industry, First Nations, non-government organizations and other stakeholders to develop new ways to sustain and manage forest resources.  The model forest provides a unique forum where forest users can forge partnerships and gain a greater understanding of conflicting views, share their knowledge, and combine their expertise and resources.  Addressing the many and varied interests in the forests of eastern Ontario, the Eastern Ontario Model Forest pursues projects dealing with such issues as awareness of local species at risk, forest and chain-of-custody certification, urban forest management, and development of a centre of excellence for wood fibre-based enterprise.

7) Projet Le Bourdon

A two-hour drive north of Montreal, this site includes the municipalities surrounding the town of Mont-Laurier, and the Manawane Attikamekw community.  Projet Le Bourdon seeks to optimize the production capacity of recreation and forestry in its territory through partnerships with First Nations communities and biomass energy projects.

8) Lac-Saint-Jean Model Forest

Located on the Nitassinan (ancestral territory) of the Montagnais people of Lac-Saint-Jean, and approximately 200 kilometres from Québec City, Lac-Saint-Jean Model Forest is a partnership between the Conseil des Montagnais du Lac-Saint-Jean and the regional municipalities of Maria-Chapdelaine and Domaine-du-Roy.  The Lac-Saint-Jean Model Forest’s objectives for sustaining its forest-based communities include the development of non-timber forest products like mushrooms and blueberries, multidisciplinary training for forestry sector workers, biodiversity preservation, and developing tourism/heritage resources.

9) Fundy Model Forest

The Fundy Model Forest is a provincial organization located wholly in the Acadian Forest region.  New Brunswick has close to six million hectares of forested land and has the most forest intensive economy of any province.  In 2009, traditional forest operations (i.e. manufacturing of primary wood products and pulp and paper) accounted for 4.7% of the province’s Gross Domestic Product, valued at $1.2 billion.  Prior to the decline in the forestry sector, the value peaked at $4.2 billion and 9.9% of Gross Domestic Product.Footnote 47  Work includes advancing projects on bio-fuel/bio-energy applications, resource evaluation and benchmarking tools, climate change adaptation, valuation of ecological goods and services, and forest industry competitiveness opportunities.

10) Nova Forest Alliance

The Nova Forest Alliance is a partnership of landowners, researchers, industry, First Nations communities, environmentalists, educational institutions, forest community areas, forest professionals and government.  The Nova Forest Alliance was created in 1998 to enhance sustainable forest management at the local level, to transfer knowledge regionally and nationally, and to demonstrate approaches to forest management that reflect the principles of sustainable development.  The Nova Forest Alliance includes forest community sites in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, representing all forest sectors in the two provinces.  Nova Forest Alliance’s activities include scientific research on freshwater habitat acidification and species at risk, development of heritage opportunities at the Mi’kmawey Debert Interpretive Trail, and resource mapping capacity-building in rural communities.

11) Model Forest of Newfoundland and Labrador

The Model Forest of Newfoundland and Labrador has been the place where all forestry sector stakeholders have come together to collaborate with other resource managers and find solutions to common issues in resource management since 1992.  The site is a provincial network, and works to develop solutions at a community level, where sound forest practices and economic development have the most impact.  The model forest concentrated its efforts in two networks of communities on the northwest region of Newfoundland and Labrador, and through local community networks in White Bay South and on the Great Northern Peninsula.

12) Canadian Model Forest Network

The Canadian Model Forest Network represents fifteen-member model forests across the country, involving over 500 organizations and 200 communities that includes Aboriginal communities, industry (forestry and other land uses), government (municipal, provincial, and federal), non-government organizations, schools (elementary to university), and researchers.  The network is incorporated as a not-for-profit organization, governed by a board of directors made up of representatives from each of the model forests within Canada, plus observers from the CFS and the International Model Forest Network.  The Canadian Model Forest Network works to collect information and knowledge to create tools for forest communities in order to support and maintain the livelihoods of people living in Canadian forests.  Data and tools are shared throughout Canada and around the world.

13) International Model Forest Network

The International Model Forest Network is a global community of practice whose members and supporters work toward the common goal of the sustainable management of forest-based landscapes through the model forest approach.  The International Model Forest Network is comprised of all member model forests in existence or under development around the world, including Africa, Asia, North America, South America, Europe and Russia.  This global network of model forests represents many of the major forest ecosystems of the world, and works to ensure that all partners, regardless of political or economic status, can contribute to, and share in the benefits of the network as they work toward the sustainable management of forest-based landscapes.

Annex 2: Case Studies

Forest Communities Program
Location Project Title Total FCP Project Funding Period Description Results
Resources North Association Community Impacts and Adaptation to Climate Change $64,609 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2010-11 In partnership with governments, the private sector, other researchers and civil society, the project carried out research, monitored, and assessed the potential impacts of climate change.  It also developed and promoted viable mitigation and adaptation options to better inform climate change policies and actions in British Columbian forest-based communities. The project developed a Listserv and a climate change initiatives web page towards information communication, notifying members of climate change-related news, publications and recent or upcoming events and issues pertinent to northern British Columbia. A web page providing a list of climate change adaptation resources for communities was developed to assist individuals looking for contacts or information about climate change.  Developed the Pathways to Climate Change Resilience Guidebook which helps communities consider climate change and its local impacts in a structured way.
Clayoquot Forest Communities Community Value Added Products Initiative $24,610 2007-08 and 2008-09 The project developed skills training and value-added production practices in order to help redevelop the village of Ahousaht and revive the forestry sector in Clayoquot. Ahousaht has planned building projects over the next five to seven years.  Ecotrust Canada worked with Ahousaht Council to build community consensus around sawmill investment and production of lumber to the school and housing projects.  
Clayoquot Forest Communities Cultural Tourism $37,210 2008-09 and 2010-11 The project rebuilt a historic trail along the coast of Flores Island that had been abandoned years earlier.  It also supported the “Force of Nature” Ambassador Program to educate front-line staff in the Tofino tourism sector about the forest environment, history, and cultural and tourism services available in Clayoquot. The walking trail was upgraded and marketed as the Walk the Wild Side Trail.  Tourism Tofino was brought in to support promotion of the trail and the First Nations eco-tourism sector regionally.

Funds were secured from the Ministry of Social Development and Housing to employ three people to establish the trail society, office and marketing.
Clayoquot Forest Communities Implementing a Forest Monitoring Program $50,000 2010-11 The project implemented a monitoring program related to ecosystem-management, variable-retention silviculture systems, watershed level planning, and adaptive management. A monitoring working group was created, consisting of local community members, First Nations, industry, and other local stakeholders. Creation of a Living Atlas, an online tool that can be used to store and present regional information (including monitoring information) in an easy to use, accessible format. A Community Monitoring Workshop was attended by over 50 local community members, and a scientific panel symposium was held to discuss moving forward with monitoring, adaptive management, and decision making in Clayoquot Sound.
Prince Albert Model Forest Sturgeon River Plains Bison Stewardship $60,000 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2010-11 The project developed a plan to manage bison in Prince Albert National Park and adjacent lands to ensure the sustainability of the bison population and provide guidelines to manage bison when they are in conflict with other resource users. The project worked with local landowners to identify opportunities, threats, issues, and knowledge gaps related to the wild Plains bison.  Actions included working with federal and provincial jurisdictions for habitat management to encourage bison use of non-problem areas (provincial or federal lands away from agriculture) and management actions to divert bison before they reach problem areas, such as through ongoing construction of diversionary fences on private land. A regional communication strategy was developed and implemented in co-operation with Prince Albert National Park that is complementary to the existing Parks Canada communication strategy.  This ensures consistent regional communication, allows for the sharing of resources, and reduces duplication of efforts.
Prince Albert Model Forest Paspiwin Cultural Heritage Site $76,853 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2010-11 The project developed a cultural site in the Prince Albert National Park to explore Aboriginal-based cultural awareness activities, heritage presentation programs, and self-sustaining economic tourism potential. The site has been opened and has provided an opportunity for Aboriginal communities to showcase their culture and traditions and to enhance the visitor experience to park.  The site hosts an annual powwow, interpretive hikes, sweat lodge ceremonies and other traditional cultural activities.
Prince Albert Model Forest Junior Forest Rangers Camp $86,241 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2010-11 The program established a First Nations youth camp that introduces participants to forest management, offers summer youth employment, and combines traditional practices with science and technology in order to help maintain cultural roots. The project developed a six-week summer work experience program, for youth between the ages of 16-18.  Since 2006, the Saskatchewan program has graduated 301 rangers.  Program enrolment has increased each year and surveys of former participants show an increase in forestry knowledge and interest in forest-based career opportunities.
Prince Albert Model Forest Collaboration with Vilhelmina Model Forest, Sweden $51,546 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2010-11 The project was a collaboration between the Vilhelmina Model Forest in Sweden and Prince Albert Model Forest that documented and described land-use patterns, management plans, and legal and political systems at work in each model forest. The project has lead to the creation of three other collaborative research projects, on adaptive governance and wildfire management planning, on environmental governance in model forest and Biosphere reserves, and on indigenous perspectives on climate change as it affects caribou/reindeer populations.
Manitoba Model Forest Winnipeg River Learning Centre $10,000 2008-09 and 2010-11 The project created the Winnipeg River Learning Centre, a youth education centre that focuses on forest and community sustainability, which fills a need for post-secondary training and education within the region. FCP funding provided the initial seed money to attract other partners and hire a manager for the centre.  Construction was completed in March 2011 and work has begun to develop a full curriculum.
Manitoba Model Forest Alternative Economic Opportunities from the Forest $23,500 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2010-11 The goal of the project was to assist local people in the development of non-timber forest products and businesses. The project developed a two-week course on Non-Timber Forest Resources with twelve participants and a total of six workshops with over 200 participants.  The site is currently attempting to hire a non-timber forest products coordinator to assist communities and individuals with business development and organize training sessions.
Manitoba Model Forest Development of Indigenous Ethno-tourism Enterprises in Costa Rica and Manitoba $50,475 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2010-11 The goal of the project is to build capacity among Indigenous peoples in Manitoba and Costa Rica to promote forest-based eco-tourism.  The first phase included infrastructure, technology and training development. Over the course of the project, infrastructure including riverside cabins and tenting platforms, a cultural centre, hiking trails, solar power, cell phone tower and viewing platforms were either built or upgraded.  These accommodate the development of an eco-tourism site along the Pacuare River.  An eco-tourism training program for Nairi Awari community members was conducted and an eco-tourism management plan initiated in one community.
Northeast Superior Forest Community Northeast Superior Regional Chiefs’ Forum Relationship-Building Process $30,000 2010-11 The project was focused on further developing the Northeast Superior Regional Chiefs’ Forum, which provides First Nations with a unified voice in forestry decisions made within the communities, leading to increased collaboration and greater economic opportunities. Meetings were organized among the various partners, and work began on integrating the Chiefs’ Forum into the larger Community Forum. Workshops were held, with the assistance of professional facilitators, including targeted sessions with various provincial agencies, the Northeast Superior Mayors’ Group, the Northeast Superior Forest Community Board of Directors and area schools.
Eastern Ontario Model Forest FCP Ambassador $15,000 2007-08 and 2010-11 The project developed the Eastern Ontario Model Forest as an ambassador to share and showcase opportunities and experiences with members of the International Model Forest Network. The site has hosted one day visits for representatives from Chile, Sweden, Finland, Armenia, the Mediterranean and Cameroon, which deal with lessons learned, tools, and processes for particular areas where they are facing similar challenges.
Eastern Ontario Model Forest Framework for Forest Sector Analysis and Response $15,000 2007-08 and 2008-09 A project to develop a framework for preparedness and ability to respond to any risk that threatens the health of a forest and thereby creates potentially devastating consequences for communities. Continued to develop partnerships between communities and different levels of government, and developed a program for protection of black ash trees.
Eastern Ontario Model Forest Ontario Power Generation Partnership $2,000 2010-11 Project worked with Ontario Power Generation in accessing sustainably sourced wood fibre in the Province of Ontario, to promote private land fibre sources as an acceptable component of their wood basket, and to assist future pellet mills in sourcing wood from responsibly-managed sources. Produced a through review of the potential of wood to supply a source of energy for electricity generation.  Discussions are currently underway at the policy level with the provincial government, dealing with economic impacts and environmental considerations.
Eastern Ontario Model Forest Advancing Forest Certification in Communities $80,000 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2010-11 The project worked with communities (including industry, government, First Nations) and other stakeholders to develop new – and advance existing – forest-based certification opportunities for private woodlots, community forests, and new and existing forest-based businesses throughout the Great Lakes St. Lawrence forest region. As of March 2011, the Eastern Ontario Model Forest manages a certificate that covers nearly 100,000 acres of private, community and urban forests.  7,500 ha are owned by more than 100 woodlot owners, 37,500 ha are in four community forests and the other certified areas are in smaller commercial operations and urban forests.
Eastern Ontario Model Forest Transitioning to a Bio-based Community $65,000 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2010-11 The project worked to develop a forest and biomass based and innovation-inspired cluster of industrial, business and demonstration projects. In March 2010, the Wood Centre, a best practices centre of excellence for wood fibre-based and biomass enterprise, was formally incorporated.  Memoranda of Understandings were signed with a number of academic institutions towards applied biotechnology and/or marketing and construction trades with wood.
Le Bourdon Project Aboriginal Training $27,030 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2010-11 The project worked towards developing competencies in the area of planning and undertaking forestry work in the community of Atikamekw in Manawan.  Short term, it trained fifteen candidates from the community of Atikamekw in Manawan, while creating a list of candidates interested in pursuing their training in order to obtain a diploma of professional studies in forest management. Out of thirteen people originally enrolled in the course, five obtained their diploma of professional studies in forestry at the end of the training period, and three other students completed at least eleven of the fifteen training modules.
Lac-Saint-Jean Model Forest Non-Timber Forest Products $86,506 2007-08 and 2008-09 This case study focuses on several projects led by the Lac-Saint-Jean Model Forest in the area of non-timber forest products, including initiatives in blueberries, mushrooms, and birch sap. The Lac-Saint-Jean Model Forest has set up a working group that aims to develop a variety of forest resources that are often neglected. Research, experimentation, and training carried out for these non-timber forest products led to significant increased community collaboration among local development organizations, municipalities, private businesses, academic partners, and government agencies.
Lac-Saint-Jean Model Forest Multidisciplinary Forestry Training $16,438 2007-08 and 2008-09 With this project, the Lac-Saint-Jean Model Forest set out to improve community capacity by establishing a multidisciplinary training program in the forestry sector. During 2008 and 2009, the program “Forest Sector Worker, Years 1, 2 and 3” was developed according to the concept of learning by competency.  A total of $100,000 was invested by the Lac-Saint-Jean Model Forest to complete this stage, and the program is now ready to be offered to clients.
Fundy Model Forest (This case study is related to the Eastern Ontario Model Forest Ontario Power Generation Partnership, and Transitioning to a Bio-based Community case study). Small-Scale Biomass Feasibility Study $14,000 2009-10 and 2010-11 This project focused on the development and demonstration of advanced pellet-fired systems to show that using a pellet-fired boiler system is both economical, practical, and an environmentally friendly method for heating a community building(s). The expected results of this project will potentially provide a contribution to the sustainability of forest-based communities throughout New Brunswick.
Nova Forest Alliance Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities $36,650 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2010-11 This project was designed to support forest-based communities on PEI, by encouraging sustainable natural resource management through the implementation of a partnership-developed, knowledge transfer program. The project has worked at the community level to expand the range of knowledge and options available to students, woodlot owners, local forest-based industries and the public through effective and practical education initiatives.  This was achieved through the implementation of a partnership-developed, knowledge transfer program, featuring several thematic workshops and on-site woodlot demonstrations.
Nova Forest Alliance A Community Vision and Watershed Strategy for St. Mary’s River Watershed $28,425 2007-08 and 2008-09 The objective of the project was to develop a community-based common vision and integrated management strategy for the St. Mary’s River watershed. For a variety of reasons, including lack of staff capacity and lack of engagement by local people, this project was not completed as originally envisioned.  A common vision was not articulated and subsequent efforts to further this initiative in 2009 and 2010 also met with little success. However, data collection did generated new knowledge on the watershed, which has helped to focus and shape several subsequent projects.
Model Forest of Newfoundland and Labrador Local Community Network Sites $97,127 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2010-11 The Model Forest of Newfoundland and Labrador partnered with the Regional Economic Development Boards to establish networks of communities in Newfoundland and Labrador as platforms that will effectively meet transitional challenges and produce healthy local economies. Two networks have been established in the Northern Peninsula and White Bay South.

 

First Nations Forestry Program
Location Project Title Total FNFP Project Funding Period Description Results
Haida Tribal Society Haida Gwaii Ecosystem based Management Monitoring Program $25,000 2008-09 The purpose of the project was to increase the capacity of the Haida Nation to manage and oversee forestry development on Hadia Gwaii through the development of implementation of an integrated Ecosystem Based Management monitoring program. The program was only partially completed.
Tsleil-Waututh First Nation Tsleil-Waututh Community Forest Application $25,000 2008-09 The purpose of this project was to complete background work necessary for the Tsleil-Waututh Nation to apply for a Community Forest License in the Indian River Watershed.  This would ensure that all forest management falls under the stewardship of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. All of the necessary components needed to apply for the forest license (i.e., business plan, road surveying, etc.) were completed.  Negotiations with the British Columbia government to acquire the license are continuing.
Council of Yukon First Nations Regional Council of Yukon First Nations Log Home Project $19,600 2007-08 and 2008-09 The purpose of the project was to provide Yukon First Nations with Log Home Building training.  These skills allowed entry into basic home building jobs or businesses. The original goal of the project was to offer a log cabin building course in three communities.  The maximum number of students to be trained was twelve in three communities for a total of 36 students.  The training plan was revised to recommend training in two communities to 24 students for nine weeks.  18 students completed the course.
Red Crow Community College Training the Youth on the Blackfoot Cultural Forestry and Environment $15,535 2009-10 The objective of the project was to train at least 20 youth on the Blackfoot cultural ways of forestry care, fire management and environmental education. All twenty students completed the course and were awarded certificates of recognition.  The total result of the project was a combined 2,829 hours (or 76 person weeks) spent by the youth learning about the cultural heritage and surrounding environment.
Meadow Lake Tribal Council School to Work $20,000 2003-06 and 2007-11 The purpose of the project was to train First Nation youths from the communities in the various sectors concerning the forest industry. Nine First Nations youths were trained for six weeks in the various sectors connected to the forestry industry including basic firefighting, safety, map and compass work, regeneration surveys and planting.
Brokenhead Ojibway Nation Forest Management Skill Development & Geographic Information System Training Program $24,000 2006-07 The objective of the project was to continue skills development at the Brokenhead Ojibway Nation, and expand skills and knowledge within Geographic Information System technologies, a system that captures, stores, analyzes, manages and presents data with references to geographic locations. Two training programs were held.  The first (six trainees participated for six days) focused on forestry knowledge and necessary information for provincial certification, while the second (ten trainees for two weeks) offered instruction and application of the GIS system.  By 2007, two of the trainees had started their own contracting company.  By 2009, Tamarack Forestry Management Resources was conducting pre-harvest assessments and free-to-grow surveys for Tembec Industries, and had hired an additional four Brokenhead Nation members.
Constance Lake First Nation Community Based Land and Resource Management Planning:  Communicating Knowledge and Values to the Constance Community $19,272 2009-10 The purpose of the project was to develop terms of reference towards submitting a large scale Far North Land Use Planning submission to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources for funding of the Community Land Use Planning project. Constance Lake First Nation enrolled a youth in a Forest Management Planning and Land use Planning Training Program with Confederation College.  Once training was completed, the individual assisted in coordinating an Education Workshop for community awareness; participated in regional tenure discussions between Constance Lake First Nation and local municipalities and industry; participated in a youth group in an attempt to get the young people involved in the communities future development; and completed research in land use planning that involved other First Nation communities, looking at what other First Nation communities are doing in differing industries and areas across the country.
Fort William First Nations First Nations Natural Resources Youth Employment Program $50,000 2003-2010 The objective of this project was to create awareness, generate interest and provide the pathway for First Nations youth to pursue education, skills training and employment in natural resource science-based sectors such as forestry.  This would be achieved by youth from several First Nations Communities receiving training and certification in areas related to the forestry sector.  The project took place in the summer of 2006 over the course of five weeks and included the participation of 70 First Nations youth from four treaty territories in Northern Ontario.  For the first time in project history (since 2000), the majority of supervisory positions were held by First Nations youth who had previously graduated from the Program.
Eagle Vlillage First Nation - Kipawa Forest Activities Harmonization Process and Forest Stewardship Council Certification Process $33,269 2007-08 The purpose was to allow the community to enforce the harmonization process within the traditional land of Eagle Village.  Specifically in 2007-08, the forestry team was intensively implicated in the FSC certification process with Tembec Industries. A communication initiative allowed the exchange about the process with other communities implicated in a similar process.  A member of the community attended the provincial annual conference of the First Nations Forestry Program and the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Sustainable Development Institute conference on partnership models.
Fort Folly First Nation Mi’kmaq Medicine Trail Development and Sustainable Forest Management $27,500 2009-10 The objective of the project was to complete an interpretive trail and, based on the trail, develop a forest-based business. The completed trail is 1.9 kilometres long with four entry points located within the reserve.  Fort Folly eventually hopes to be able to open an interpretive centre on the trail.