Strength in diversity: Market opportunities and benefits from small forest tenures
Keywords:community forestry, environmental services, forest products, forest product markets, non-timber forest products, value-added
AbstractHolders of small forest tenures are largely “market loggers,” selling undifferentiated raw logs into fluctuating local and regional markets at low margins. However, these tenure holders have potential advantages in responding to the changes currently under way in British Columbia?s forest industry. Their community networks and local forest knowledge can be helpful in identifying specialty products and niche markets, but they need to collaborate with new partners to share value-added investments and to tap into specialized market opportunities which build on their strengths. Innovative responses may find support from a range of government funding programs (existing or new) and private capital sources. Opportunities may arise from value-chain management, or from collaboration on shared-facility investments. Holders of Community Forest Agreements and private woodlot owners also have rights to botanical products or non-timber forest products. Commercial markets for these and related products are growing, but changes to the current system should be undertaken cautiously so as not to jeopardize the benefits and expertise of knowledgeable local users, or the rights of First Nations. Payment for environmental services is an emerging concept that may provide future commercial benefits to holders of small forest tenures. To take advantage of the widest range of these diverse opportunities will probably require adjustments to provincial forest management policies as well as small tenure operations.
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