Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations

History of Community Forests

The foundation for the community forest agreement program was developed by the Ministry of Forests and stakeholders interested in creating opportunities for greater participation by communities and First Nations in the management of local forests. This resulted in the decision to create a community forest “pilot” program to test the viability of community-based Crown tenures in B.C.

In July 1998, amendments to the Forest Act came into force creating this new form of tenure.

In September 1998, the Ministry of Forests issued a Request for Proposals, inviting communities throughout the province to apply for a 5-year “pilot” community forest agreement. Twenty-seven community-driven proposals were received.

Of the 27 proposals, seven communities were offered community forest pilot agreements: Burns Lake Community Forest Ltd., Harrop-Procter Watershed Protection Society Corp., Bamfield Huu-ay-aht Community Forest Society, North Island Woodlot Association, Islands Community Stability Initiative, District of Fort St. James and Esketemc First Nation.
In October 2000, three additional community forest pilot agreements were offered: Likely Community Forest Corp., Village of McBride and Nuxalk First Nation.

On Dec. 4, 2000, the Community Forest Agreement Regulation of the Forest Practices Code Act was made effective, setting out forest practices specific to community forest agreements.

The Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA) was later introduced in November 2002. FRPA introduced a “results-based” framework for planning and managing forestry activities.

In March 2003, the Minister introduced the Forestry Revitalization Plan. A key component of the plan is timber reallocation – the takeback of 20 per cent of long-term replaceable logging rights held by major licensees to support a more diversified forest economy and expand opportunities for uses such as community forests and woodlots.

In July 2004, government deposited the Community Tenures Regulation under the Forest Act, which allows the Minister to directly invite a community to apply for a probationary community forest agreement, without competition. The regulation also allows for the conversion of other tenures, such as tree farm licences or forest licences, to probationary community forest agreements.

Probationary agreements, carrying a five-year initial term, would allow both communities and the ministry an assessment period. If successful, the agreement-holder could be offered a long-term community forest agreement, which carries a 25-99 year term and is replaceable every 10 years.

On March 31, 2009, the Forest Act was amended to remove the "probationary" form of community forests and provide for existing 5 year probationary agreements to transition to 25 year Community Forest Agreements (CFAs).  CFAs are currently held by communities, community partnerships and First Nations. 

To date, 50 CFAs have been issued provincially.  A list of issued CFAs, as well as those currently invited and awaiting issuance, can be viewed via the following link: Community Forests Reports & Publications

Introducing the Forestry Revitalization Plan

Timber harvests help fund community projects