As demonstrated by over 58 community forests across BC, the benefits of a community forest include:
- Local Decision Making: Community Forests are managed by community-based organizations, with decisions reflecting local values and priorities. Decisions take into account the unique local social, economic, ecological and cultural context.
- Accountability: Local-level decision making supports locally appropriate decisions and improves the incentives to consider the long-term benefits of sustainable management.
- Profits Remain Local: Earnings from the Community Forest are shared between Lil’wat Nation and the Village of Pemberton. Each community can determine how those profits are used based on their own priorities
- Local Employment and Economic Development: Community forests create local jobs, enabling people to stay and work locally. They also create economic opportunities for local businesses, community partnerships and contributions from those businesses in the future.
- Local Engagement and Stewardship: The Speĺkúmtn Community Forest provides local communities with the opportunity to participate in stewarding the local forests and have a say in how forestry looks in our area. Community participation can improve awareness and understanding of forest management.
- Relationship Building: A Community Forest supports improved communication and collaboration between all who value and use the forest. It provides a strong opportunity for growing relationships among community members and between Pemberton and Lil’wat communities.
- Wildfire Risk Management: Some areas overlap with identified ‘high-priority’ areas (areas that have higher values at risk due to locations directly adjacent to the community) in the Village of Pemberton’s Community Wildfire Protection Plan. In some cases, wildfire hazard mitigation treatments to reduce forest fuels can include harvesting of some of the timber within these areas, resulting in income for the community forest and increased community safety.