Aspen Institute Releases Report on Community Forestry
WASHINGTON The Aspen Institute announced that its Community-based Forestry Demonstration Program will release the report, Growth Rings: Communities and Trees, the product of a six-year effort funded by the Ford Foundation. The report's findings address the integrated components of sustainable communities, including fostering viable local economies, maintaining healthy forests, building capacity, and promoting collaborative processes with public and private land managers. Growth Rings will be the focus of a two-day conference to be held in Washington, DC on September 22-23, 2005.
"We have evidence that when communities work with land managers to ensure sustainable forest management practices, stronger local economies and healthier environments can be realized, said Barbara Wyckoff-Baird, director of the Institute's Community-based Forestry Demonstration Program. She added: "These projects show how conservation objectives can be achieved in a manner that is socially responsible and economically equitable. The participants are the pioneers of new conservation era in America."
The report's major findings include:
-- Rural communities have the passion and on-the-ground expertise to make real forest restoration happen. Federal and state governments cannot accomplish their mandates without their involvement.
-- Declining forest health and rural economic growth will continue to decline without federal investment and commitment for restoration, collaboration, and community capacity building. When there is such investment, current trends are reversed.
-- Markets for environmentally and socially responsible products can be developed and used to further forest restoration and community development goals, but they require public and private investment and commitment.
The Thirteen demonstration projects that are to be showcased at the Washington conference have occurred on public, private, and tribal forestlands, employing non-traditional economic strategies to turn forest resources into sustainable livelihoods. Combined, these projects have leveraged nearly $12.2 million in federal, state, and other private funds. They provide excellent examples of the growing movement toward collaborative conservation efforts that meet the needs of the land while improving the economic and social vitality of rural communities.
These 13 demonstration projects reflect some of the broad cultural, ethnic, and geographic diversity of communities dependent on forest resources. Through the provision of technical assistance, experimentation and peer learning, this Aspen Institute program has led the way in strengthening community institutions, developing new technologies, testing products, opening markets, restoring forests, stalling development pressures, and building partnerships.
The two-day conference, "Five Years of Innovation: Findings and Recommendations," will convene at the Academy for Educational Development, located at 1825 Connecticut Avenue, NW in Washington, DC on September 22-23, 2005. Leaders of the 13 pilot projects will be available for interviews throughout the conference.
For information concerning the conference, the Growth Rings: Communities and Trees report, or the Community-based Forestry Demonstration Program, please contact Barbara Wyckoff-Baird at 301-587-3249 or at email@example.com, or visit the program's website: http://www.aspencsg.org/cbf.
The Aspen Institute, founded in 1950, is an international nonprofit dedicated to fostering enlightened leadership and open-minded dialogue. Through seminars, policy programs, conferences and leadership development initiatives, the Institute and its international partners seek to promote nonpartisan inquiry and an appreciation for timeless values. The Institute is headquartered in Washington, DC, and has campuses in Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Its international network includes partner Aspen Institutes in Berlin, Rome, Lyon, Tokyo, and New Delhi, and leadership programs in Africa and Central America.
Source: CSRwire, The Aspen Institute