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Ferns in Redwood Forest, photo credit: Greg Jirak  


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Community Forestry
The RFFI Model

Working Community Forests

Ferns & Forest: Usal Redwood Forest RFFI believes that in order to achieve a Working Community Forest the guiding principles for responsible management must be based on the principles of transparency, accountability, communications, interaction and trust. These beliefs shape RFFI's governance structure, forest management philosophies, financial and community commitments.

Articles on Community Forestry

Articles on the topic of community forestry -- including several written by members of the RFFI Board of Directors:

Presentation to Sonoma Land Trust:

Article published in the Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America:

Poster presented at the Ecological Society of America's Millennium Conference on Water:

Articles published in the Trees Foundation's Forest & River News:

What is unique about the RFFI model?

The RFFI model leverages private equity, "tapping the power of Wall Street," to invest in conservation transactions. In this way, the RFFI model uses free market strategies to focus private capital towards investments that benefit the common good.

Leverages conservation dollars over large tracks of land
Mossy trees in the coastal portion of the Usal Redwood Forest Conservation purchases do not provide enough capital to acquire areas of land large enough to keep entire ecosystems intact. High land values for development in the Redwood region threaten to fractionalize forest land making the purchase of large tracts of land urgent and invaluable. By combining conservation funding with private equity, RFFI is able to purchase and conserve forest land on a scale that is unattainable through conservation funding alone.

Empowers communities
There is a sense of helplessness when absentee landowners make decisions that have negative environmental, economic and social impacts on local communities. The RFFI model provides an opportunity for community groups, individuals and other stakeholders to be involved in decisions about how the forest should be managed. This "sense of ownership" empowers local citizens to be part of shaping a future that will result in a healthier community for them to live and raise their families.

Sustains communities
Once the debt has been repaid the net profit from the ongoing sustainable harvest will go back into the community. This will create a social infrastructure and economic independence that has never existed in these rural communities before.

October, 2008
Community Forestry Conference

Redwood Forest Foundation, Inc.
Forest Management Principles*

The Redwood Forest Foundation, Inc. (RFFI) promotes ecologically, economically, and socially responsible forestry as a means of sustaining the integrity of forest ecosystems and the human communities dependent upon them. RFFI will engage our community in the challenges of forest conservation and management. RFFI's first duty is to the forest and its future. Therefore the manager will incorporate the following principles in managing the Usal Redwood Forest.

  • The well-being of human society is dependent on responsible forest management that places high priority on maintenance and enhancement of the entire forest ecosystem.
  • The natural forest provides a model for sustainable resource management; therefore, responsible forest management imitates nature's dynamic processes and minimizes impacts when harvesting trees and other products.
  • The forest has value in its own right, independent of human intention and needs.
  • Human knowledge of forest ecosystems is limited. Responsible management that sustains the forest requires continuous learning.
  • The practice of forestry must be grounded in field observation and experience as well as in the biological sciences. This practical knowledge should be developed and incorporated into its forest management.

*These principles were initially developed by the Forest Guild.

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