Forestry is embedded in our culture on the North Island and whether you enjoy the forests for hiking and exploring, work in forestry, or grew up surrounded by the forest, it is close to your heart in some way.
The economy has changed, the climate is changing and more people are moving from rural communities to the cities. These and many other factors will contribute to changes in our small communities over the next few decades, including reduced demand for forest products, less people employed by the forest industry and a change in our attitudes and behaviours demanding communities and forests to be sustainable.
How do we become a resilient community that provides for its people and ensures overall health and well-being? How do we ensure that our forests are healthy and sustainable?
The process starts by bringing people together, listening to what everyone has to say and ensuring that all perspectives, values and interests are respected. Communities should be truly involved in the decision-making and then use the vision created to move towards sustainability.
Progressive leadership with an effective governance model and a strong sustainable ethic can help to meet the goals for overall community and forest health and well-being.
Once the community decides what the long-term vision is and how to meet that vision then the work begins.
What do you want to see, what do you think will take us to 2050 with a healthy community and a healthy forest? Everyone is welcome to take part in the dialogue.
The Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities Dialogue Session took place last week in Port McNeill. If you missed it, your may go to www.bcforestconversation.com and learn about this volunteer initiative and provide comments online.
Ione Brown is a professional forester who has 17 years experience both in government and the forest industry, 12 of those years on northern Vancouver Island.