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Canada's Model Forests: public involvement through partnership.

Abstract

This paper considers the development and implementation of partnerships through the Canadian Model Forest (MF) program. A typology of partnerships is used to consider those that have evolved through the program and the contribution that the MF Network is making to highlight non-traditional approaches to public involvement in forest management. The governing structure of MFs and ensuing partnerships are explored and a discussion of their strengths and challenges--in the context of their role as collaborative partnerships--is provided. New partnerships that have formed--either at the initiation of an MF, or to which they play a central role--are also outlined. The final discussion identifies a collaborative partnership arrangement between individual MFs and the Canadian Forest Service and a contributory relationship between MFs and the broader forest policy community. It is also revealed that the MFs have attracted a range of forest interests to their discussions and research through promoting high levels of involvement in interactive decision making. However, public and ENGO involvement is still minimal and the adoption of MF partnership approaches to public involvement within the broader forest policy community is not clear.

Les auteurs de cet article examinent l'elaboration et la mise en oeuvre de partenariats par le biais du programme canadien de forets modeles (FM). Ils utilisent une typologie des partenariats pour examiner ceux qui ont qui ont ete mis au point dans le cadre du programme et la contribution que fait le reseau des FM a la mise en lumiere d'approches non traditionnelles en matiere de participation publique a la gestion des forets. Ils explorent la structure administrative des FM et des partenariats qui en decoulent et fournissent une analyse de leurs forces et de leurs defis, dans le contexte de leur role a titre de partenariats de collaboration. Ils donnent egalement un apercu des nouveaux partenariats qui ont vu le jour, soit lors de la mise au point d'une FM ou dans laquelle ils jouent un role central. Dans leur analyse finale, ils revelent un arrangement de partenariat de collaboration entre les FM individuelles et le Service canadien des forets et un lien entre les FM et la communaute plus generale des politiques forestieres. Ils revelent egalement que les FM ont attire une gamme d'interets lies a la foret a leurs analyses et leur recherche en favorisant des niveaux eleves de participation en matiere de prise de decision participative. Cependant, la participation publique et des ONGE est encore minime et l'adoption d'approches de partenariat des FM relativement a la participation publique au sein de la communaute plus generale des politiques forestieres n'est pas tout a fait claire.

Keywords

Model Forests, partnerships, public involvement, sustainable forest management, Canada

Introduction

For at least a decade there has been clear recognition of the need to find ways to involve the public more directly in forest management decision-making. The fact that 95% of the forest is publicly owned in Canada underscored the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers' (CCFM 1992) recognition that the "public has a vital interest in the way forests are managed" and "a right to a more direct say, particularly in setting objectives, developing policies and planning forest management." Many other government and non-government agencies have since made similarly direct statements about enhancing the role of the public in forest management as Wellstead et al. (2003) outline. The common theme among these is that public values and interests must be recognized as we make decisions about the future of our forests. As Shindler et al. (2003: 7) note, "More traditional foresters tend to say that we just need to do a better job of educating the public. But policy makers do not need to manage the public better; rather they need to allow their actions and decisions to be grounded more in public values."

Involving the public more meaningfully in the development of forest policy and management of the forest is, however, still very much in its infancy in Canada. There is a long history of forest industries, especially in the pulp and paper sector, working in close collaboration with provincial governments (Beckley and Korber 1995; Beckley 2003) and creating, in Grant's (1990) words, "company states" that have been provided with favourable working environments as a result. Ryan (2003: 195) takes this further in indicating, "powerful timber companies have historically controlled timber management in Canada." Howlett and Rayner (1995; 1997; 2001) trace the evolution of forest policy in Canada and argue that,
 The fundamental features of provincial forest policies have remained
 remarkably stable over the past fifty years. Canadian forests remain
 managed primarily for the purposes of commercial timber production
 through incentive-base tenure arrangements with large forest
 products corporations (Howlett and Rayner 1997:36).


Numerous authors have considered the role of the public in decision making within such structures and indicate that communication is often one-way and adversarial in nature, using mechanisms such as formal hearings and invitations for gathering comment on draft forest management plans. (See for example Moote et al. 1997; Cortner and Shannon 1993; Sirmon et al. 1993.)

The evolution of the management of Canadian forests from a process that is largely bilateral and closed to one that is meaningful and inclusive is iterative and slow. As Duinker (1998) notes, "public participation in forest management in Canada is evolving through adolescence." Wellstead et al. (2003), however, establish that improvement and or expansion of public involvement activities is necessary to meet the goals of sustainable forest management decision-making. So the focus is no longer on whether the public should be involved and company states challenged, but rather how best to involve interested individuals and groups in decision making activities (Bengston 1994; Magill 1995; Duinker 1998; Robinson et al. 2001; Wellstead et al. 2003; Shindler et al. 2003).

One approach that is currently being tested to improve public involvement in forest management is 'partnership'. As Mitchell (2002) establishes, forming partnerships can be an effective way of bringing people together to participate in decision processes about natural resources and, in so doing, discuss and resolve complex issues characterized by uncertainty. Such partnerships can fill a multitude of management functions and "can be used regarding policy development; data collection; research; analysis and planning; programme development; design and delivery; evaluation; monitoring; enforcement; administration; and fund raising" (Mitchell 2002:185). Ayling (2001:158) indicates "effective partnership provides its members and their constituencies with the opportunity to experiment with new approaches to resource management recognizing and sharing the risk of failure."

Langford (2002: 69) contends, however, that partnership is "one of the most abused words in the contemporary administrative lexicon." He goes on to note that it can be used to "dress up" any working relationship between organizations from limited funding arrangements to straightforward contract-for-service relationships. Given this, Langford (2002) and Mitchell (2002) both signal that opportunities for participation in decision making vary considerably depending on the design of the partnership. In considering the varying degrees of participation that partnership arrangements can provide, both use a typology based on the work of other Canadian authors (Kernaghan 1993; also Boase 2000; Write and Rodal 1997; Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources 1995). The typology distinguishes four types of partnership:

* Collaborative partnerships where resource managers share vision, authority, information, planning, decision-making, financial risk, responsibility and accountability with partners thereby sharing real decision-making power.

* Consultative partnerships where resource managers seek advice from individuals, groups and organizations outside of government through committees etc. but retain control, ownership and risk.

* Operational partnerships where the work of resource managers is shared with participants, often through collaboration, in exchange for program delivery with the control over decisions being retained by the managers.

* Contributory partnerships where a public or private organization agrees to provide support, normally through funding, for groups and organizations to work together on activities in which it will have little or no direct operational participation.

Rodal and Mulder (1994) note that there is interest in categorizing different kinds of partnership to facilitate mapping the range of options, anticipate managerial implications and to provide a framework for evaluating the suitability or success of a specific partnership. They indicate further that for many environmental issues in Canada "a multidisciplinary approach, involving multiple partners--the private sector, NGOs, labour and citizens and other government organizations" (Rodal and Mulder 1994: 34)--at multiple levels, will be necessary. Further, Rodal and Mulder and other authors (e.g., Rodal 1994; Langford 2002) indicate that it is important to consider the mechanisms for facilitating partner interaction that are put in place to ensure appropriate coordination, consultation and communication among partners.

The focus of this paper is on an early adopter of the partnership concept in the Canadian forest policy community, the Model Forest (MF) program. Announced in mid-1991 the program got under way in 1992 after ten sites were chosen through a competitive process, including: Western Newfoundland MF; Fundy MF; Bas-Saint-Laurent MF (BSMF); Eastern Ontario MF; Lake Abitibi MF; Manitoba MF (MBMF); Prince Albert MF; Foothills MF; McGregor MF; and Long Beach MF (Figure 1). At the time, these covered over six million hectares of land and were representative of five major eco-regions in Canada. The Network was expanded in 1997 with the addition of the Waswanippi Cree MF and again in 1998 with the Nova Forest Alliance. As discussed below, the Long Beach MF was dropped from the program in 2002. Even with this loss the program now covers almost 20 million hectares of land due to the addition of the Waswanippi Cree MF, the Nova Forest Alliance and the expansion of existing MFs.

The MF program in Canada is intended to respond to the issues of sustainable forest management by establishing a series of representative situations within which forest management conflicts can be addressed and resolved at local and perhaps regional levels among local stakeholders that include traditionally adversarial groups. In fact, the initiative was designed to accelerate the implementation of "sustainable development in forestry" through "promoting local partnerships to formulate and implement their own working vision of sustainable forest management", emphasizing "working together" in a climate of "consensus multi-stakeholder participation" (Natural Resources Canada 1994: 5). As Ryan (2003) notes, a fundamental goal of the MF program is the broader inclusion of citizens in forest management decision-making processes. The overall program objectives for Phase II (1997-2002) and III (2002-2007) reflect these involvement ideals: to encourage representation of a broad range of forest values in each Model Forest (Phase II) and to increase local-level participation in sustainable forest management (Phase III).

Given that partnership is central to MF design, the purpose of this paper is to define the type of partnerships that have evolved through the program and thereby the contribution that the MF Network is making to highlight non-traditional approaches to public involvement in forest management.

Study Approach

The approach used was qualitative, involving informal interviews, a survey, an extensive document review, and first hand experience with the MF program. The biannual meeting of MF presidents and general managers, held in Saskatoon in the fall of 2002, was attended to introduce the research project and explore various aspects of MF partnerships with attendees. In addition, informal discussions with MF staff and board members were held at this meeting regarding board structure and decision making in the MF more broadly. This initial exploratory work resulted in the development of an electronic survey that was sent to all MF presidents and general managers as well as to MF Network personnel in order to obtain further information on partnership activities, board structure and specific projects. Questions on the survey included requests for details on the number of board members, their institutional affiliation (e.g., private sector, government, first nation, environmental non-government organization) and the change in composition of board and partners in recent years as well as about working relationships. The survey also asked for details on MF projects that went beyond the board level to implement partnerships on the ground. This survey was followed up with telephone interviews to clarify information provided and to further explore the survey questions with MFs that did not respond to the original survey. Representatives from all MF's participated in the study. An in-depth review of MF documents was further undertaken to establish the current operations and activities of each MF including information such as annual reports and the 2001 evaluation of the MF program. This research was combined with a long-standing history of research and participation with the MF program that includes detailed interviews with tens of board members across the Network as well as direct participation in the Manitoba MF (see for example Sinclair 2000; Sinclair and Smith 1999; Sinclair et al. 1998a, b; Sinclair and Smith 1995).

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

Model Forest Governance and Partnership

To tackle emerging sustainable forest management issues each MF needs to attract people with a wide range of interests to develop and implement plans that recognize a diversity of forest values as well as their individual program goals and ideals. Such diversity is necessary to enable discussion of the complex relationships and dynamics that characterize the forest landscape. It is also essential that stakeholders central to the forest management policy community participate, since MFs do not supersede the rights, interests and responsibilities of individual landowners and managers (Ayling 2001). As Sinclair and Smith (1999:125) note, "Each MF relies on its partners, especially government and industry, to take up and implement the good ideas from the discussions and studies undertaken since provincial governments and forest industry maintain forest management authority."

In responding to this and other issues of agency, each MF organization has developed a unique approach to governance. As LaPierre (2002: 615) establishes "Each MF is unique ... representing a specifically designed neutral forum that is respectful of individual interests and united in the task of addressing sustainable forest management." In practice, the neutral forums established in each MF include a Board of Directors, a management or executive committee, working groups or sub-committees and a broader partners group. The resulting governance arrangements vary greatly across the MF Network but allow individuals and organizations to participate at a number of levels within the overall MF structure--from being board members to participating in project research. While it is impossible to detail here the governance structure and decision making procedures of each MF, Table 1 indicates size and composition of the different MF boards and the following examples provide brief descriptions, indicating the range of governance approaches and resulting partnership profiles.

For example, the Manitoba MF is structured around a large Board of Directors of twenty-nine members (Table 1) who meet monthly to direct the business of the organization. While the board has an Executive Committee made up of five elected positions, the organization works with a flat decision-making structure with issues being discussed face to face and at length at board meetings before decisions are taken. The board is supported in their efforts by a working group structure that includes: Forest Stewardship, Woodlot Management, Education/Communication, Local Involvement and International Programs. These working groups include a variety of individuals and organizations--many of which are not represented on the board. Each group brings forward ideas for projects and also reports on findings of completed projects to board members. The twenty-three Manitoba MF partners (Table 1) act in a volunteer capacity to support the Board of Directors and the program (Manitoba MF Phase III Proposal 2002; Natural Resources Canada 2002; Sinclair et al. 1988a; Sinclair and Smith 1995; Pers. Com., Manitoba MF President 2003).

At the Eastern Ontario MF, operations are structured around a large group of partners consisting of 185 members. Given the large urban population within the boundaries of the Eastern Ontario MF a membership structure has been created to allow interested individuals to participate on the partners group. Six of ten members of the board are chosen from this partner organization in annual elections. The other four represent government and forest industry--as recorded in Table 1. Five permanent working committees report to the board: Forest Science, Communications, Landowner and Economic Benefits, Equity Generation and Nomination and Awards. Partners not on the board are welcome to participate in working group activity and project collaboration (Natural Resources Canada 2002; Eastern Ontario MF Phase III Proposal 2002; Pers. Com., Eastern Ontario MF Communications Officer 2003).

The McGregor MF increased its Board of Directors from ten to eighteen people as its land base grew to 7.7 million hectares at the start of Phase III of the program. The board recognized the expanded land base would create challenges, which would be difficult to manage under the existing structure, hence the addition of eight seats to the board. The board envisions a new governance system--which they are still developing--that would see their current "corporate form and style of governance modified (Pers. Com., McGregor MF Communications Officer 2003). Currently the board has seventeen active members with one First Nation seat vacant (Table 1). The partners group has fifty members that are categorized into ten classes including government (federal, provincial, municipal), industry, practitioner, First Nation, research, general interest, sustaining and founding. Each class, with the exception of the founding and sustaining members, is represented on the board with a minimum of two seats, but not all members of a class are on the board. For example, there are currently seven forest industries that are partners who hold three board seats. The board is supported by a program area committee structure that develops projects for the annual workplan. There are currently four committees including Science and Technology Support for SFM Planning and Technology, Knowledge Management, Community Involvement, and Communications and Outreach (MGMF Phase III Proposal 2002; Natural Resources Canada 2002; McGregor MF Communications Officer 2003).

Partnership mechanisms -- Board/management committees

Within the MF governance structures, the clearest point of analysis for partnership and participation is the board or management committee level. These entities are the best defined in terms of structure, operations and responsibility as required by the provincial laws under which each is set up as a not-for-profit corporation. They are also charged with the tasks of developing and overseeing the implementation of a yearly workplan, reviewing the results of projects under-taken and encouraging the appropriate forest managers to implement any new approaches to sustainable forest management identified through MF research.

Table 1 was developed in an attempt to provide clear evidence of who participates on each MF board, to get a clear sense of the diversity of interests leading each MF and the extent to which forest industry and government--the traditional forest managers--are represented. It was also developed to understand the differentiation between the board partnership and partners of the board. The table reveals that there is currently a range of interest in forests reflected n the membership of boards and partners. As Ayling (2001) notes, change in board structure (as reflected in Table 1) is the result of a considerable "ramping up" effort by MFs over the first five years of the program to broaden the base of interest in their programs. As the authors of the evaluation of the first five-years (Phase I) of the MF program indicated "the creation of partnerships was a major accomplishment and a more difficult and time consuming task than expected" (Gardner-Pinfold 1996: 2).

The evolution of the Manitoba MF partnership provides a good example of this. The original board, not unlike others in the Network, had eight members that were drawn largely from government, business and forest industry organizations representing traditional forest interests. Over the years, board members worked hard to diversify representation to the point where it is now the largest board responsible for day-to-day operations in the Network and includes a diverse range of local interests including First Nation (Sinclair et al. 1998a). Enlisting the support of the four First Nation communities in the Manitoba MF area was a significant challenge that was not overcome until well into the second phase of the program. This was due, in part, to the long history of animosity in the area between the forest industry and First Nations communities and differing understandings of the term "partnership." At the core of this disagreement was the amount of representation different governments and other organizations should hold on the board. Some felt that the partnership should be between First Nations governments and other governments and stakeholders, with the First Nations governments holding the balance of power. This was resolved through discussion and eventual agreement that partnership can take a variety of forms.

As might be expected, developing robust decision-making structures at the board or management committee through which partners decide what programs and projects to implement, also proved challenging. This was the case because the type of structure adopted would dictate how much voice each partner had in decisions and the extent to which the decision-making structure would reflect the values of each participant. Most have opted to operate through a modified voting procedure where time is taken before any vote for an open dialogue on issues in an attempt to reach agreement. At the Manitoba MF the board makes decisions using a modified Roberts Rules of Order technique where members try to achieve consensus through discussion before voting on any issues. The vote is viewed by most as being merely perfunctory and "for the books." The Eastern Ontario MF is the only one that diverges from this model, making their decisions by following a traditional Mohawk management and decision-making process that places consensus as central.

Sinclair and Smith (1999) took an early cut at considering how decisions are made at each MF board and noted that attempts were made at all MFs to foster open dialogue and to provide very detailed background information prior to meetings--often followed with supporting presentations to members--to enhance discussion. These findings were supported further in the survey under-taken for this study. Sinclair and Smith (1999) conclude, however, that while consensus was often the goal of the discussions that took place, considerable time constraints frequently created an environment that was not conducive to consensus building.

An important aspect of partnership is the exchange among partners, the organizations they represent and the MF. Previous studies (Byers 2001; Sinclair and Smith 1999) and the more recent input of some General Managers indicates that in cases where board members are representatives of other organizations there is an acknowledged lack of feedback to those organizations. In some cases, this has resulted in questions about the degree to which a board member represents their organization and/or about the degree to which input from the broader community that the organization represents is making it to the board table.

Partnership mechanisms -- Partner and working groups

While a complete picture of partnership and governance does include working groups and/or sub-committees and partner groups, the membership, decision-making responsibilities and general operations of these bodies are not at all well defined. Further, while the membership on the partner groups is clear, complexity is added by the different ways through which they are engaged in MF activities throughout the Network and the lack of documentation that accounts for such activities. The partner groups and working groups or sub-committees of each MF do, however, bring more varied interests to the table primarily in the course of project planning.

Table 1 establishes the sectors that are currently involved across the MF Network at the partners level. As noted, some MFs draw their board members directly from these partner groups while others now have their full partner group acting as the Board of Directors (Table 1). Most MFs call on this broader network of people and organizations to assist with yearly program development and planning, other partners may be asked to get involved in specific projects or lend some other sort of expertise to the board. The fact that such a variety of groups and individuals have leant their name to the MF program bodes well for improving the mixture of approaches to sustainable forest management that are discussed. The expected and precise contributions of the partners is, however, not clear. In responding to the survey, two General Managers indicated that a significant challenge their MF faces is finding ways to better involve partners in their activities. Further, the evaluation of Phase II MF programs noted instances across the Network where MFs needed to improve linkages with their partners.

The working groups or sub-committees provide another opportunity within MF governance to involve a broader range of interests in project planning. In fact, some have argued that the real work of developing the program occurs at this level of the organizational structure and that the boards have significantly less input in what projects are actually carried out (Manitoba MF General Manager Pers. Com. 2003). Across the MF Network, the membership and general operations of the working groups and subcommittees, as well as the number of subcommittees, have also changed over time, as have the names of the committees. Most of these changes, and more importantly the reason for them, are not documented making a review and comparison of their activities very difficult, in part because one is relying on the memory of individuals who may no longer be involved in the MF.

Partnership mechanisms -- Learning from working together

The clearest evidence of the success of the MF partners being able to dialogue and work together--whether through participation on working groups or boards--is the tremendous variety of research, workshops, and model demonstrations they have initiated. Table 2 gives a sense of the types of projects that have been initiated. These, and the other projects undertaken by each MF, have broad appeal and considerable implication for sustainable forest management if implemented. Some of this work has been carried out in focus areas established by Natural Resources Canada, such as the development of local criteria and indicators, but much has also been directed toward local issues and problems. The list of project areas is far too long to outline here. Each MF has their own web site that can be accessed through The Canadian Model Forest Network Website (CMFN 2005) and should be considered for a complete overview.

There is also evidence across the network of partners picking up and implementing the management approaches revealed through MF research. In the Foothills MF, a PhD program was initiated on caribou population dynamics. The results from this research have subsequently been incorporated into detailed Forest Management Plans for four of the Foothills MF partners--Weldwood of Canada Ltd, Weyerhauser Canada Ltd., Alberta Newsprint Company and Canfor Corporation. Foothills MF also produced 39 Local Level Indicators of Sustainable Forest Management. Weldwood of Canada Ltd. used this indicator set in its development of indicators for its successful bid to the Canadian Standards Association (FHMF 2001-2002 Annual Report). In 1999, Western Newfoundland MF published a Criteria and Indicators Framework (developed by their C and I Steering Committee). The Framework is based on social, economic and ecological forest values identified through a multistakeholder process throughout Newfoundland and has since been adopted as a "basic structure for forest management planning in all forest districts in Newfoundland" (WNMF Phase III Proposal, 2002:2). The Lake Abitibi MF developed the Community Development Impact Model, a decision support model developed for the towns of Cochrane and Iroquois Falls. This model helped to assess the economic impacts of activities like mill upgrades on the community and has been used extensively in each of the communities, both of whom are Lake Abitibi MF partners.

MF partnerships also have a lot to learn from the partnership/governance failure of the Long Beach MF in 2002. During Phases I and II of the MF program, the Long Beach MF was a very active organization with over forty partners that encompassed a variety of interests including a strong contingent of First Nations communities and the only active youth caucus forum. The Long Beach MF included in its boundaries one of the most controversial forest landscapes in Canada, Clayoquot Sound, the site of massive anti-logging protests in the early 1990s, making the MF fertile ground for partnership building. Like other MFs, government and industry had seats on the board with other seats being filled by election from partnership categories that included social and cultural resources (2), economic and resource products (2), members at large (2) and youth (1).

Despite the accomplishments that the Long Beach MF made in their years of operation, an evaluation carried out by the Audit and Evaluation Branch of Natural Resources Canada in 2001 concluded that that Long Beach MF was an underperformer that was managed by factions clinging to their own agendas at the expense of its overall goals and that there were "few effective partnerships established over the lifespan of this model forest" (NRCan 2001: 2). The conclusions of the audit branch are somewhat surprising in that most, if not all, MFs carry out projects that fit the agendas or are of direct applicability to individual partners, from snowmobile trails to new forest harvesting technology. Despite inconsistencies such as this, and the calls of board members that the Natural Resources Canada evaluation had "factual errors" and "subjective commentary," Phase III funding was not awarded by the MF Network.

Much of the blame for the problems of the Long Beach MF has been levied at a dysfunctional board partnership. There is no doubt that the board faced considerable challenges since, as one might expect and hope, it incorporated in its membership people with varying views on the very polarized forestry debate in the region. This made the task of program and project development significantly more challenging than in other MFs (Sinclair et al. 1998b). No other MF, for example, has within its boundaries communities that have taken strong and vocal opposing views to the whole notion of forestry. Leadership was important to the Long Beach MF but an almost constant change-over of General Managers and a lack of support for alternative programming from the Canadian Forest Service (CFS) staff overseeing the MF program created a considerable leadership void. The Long Beach MF also did not enjoy the full cooperation of the provincial government in that they generally opposed anything that might be seen as planning and therefore within provincial jurisdiction. This underscores the importance of partnership to each MF since one powerful partner and stakeholder in the forest policy community was able to scuttle many of the ideas of the board.

Partnership Building Beyond MF Governance

The partnerships that have been fostered through MF activities have also been the seed for developing broader, productive relationships that operate outside of the MF structure. Such activity has resulted in some interesting new partnerships that continue to thrive and impact the activities of forest managers outside of the board. Two good examples of this type of activity include the Manitoba MF Moose Management Committee and the Western Newfoundland MF Pine Marten Conflict Resolution Working Group.

Moose Management Committee -- Manitoba MF

The Moose Management Committee (MMC) has participated in decisions about moose management in the Manitoba MF since 1994. One of the first projects supported by the Manitoba MF in 1992 considered the population dynamics of moose in the MF area. First Nation partners had expressed concerns that the population of moose was declining due to forestry operations. The inventory studies undertaken in 1992 eventually lead to proposals by the Manitoba MF to set up a stakeholder committee to oversee research and management issues for moose. The Moose Management Committee (MMC) was struck with the goal of "bringing stakeholders together to find mutually acceptable approaches to ensuring moose have a place in the forests of the Manitoba MF" (MBMF 2002: 26). The MMC is now an independent entity that gets support from the Manitoba MF.

Table 3 outlines the current active membership of the MMC. It was agreed at the outset that the committee would be a group of individuals and organizations providing information and recommendations to all interested parties from a multi-stakeholder perspective. The hope was, however, that Manitoba Conservation would be more likely to implement new management approaches if recommendations for such came from a multi-stakeholder committee independent of government and forest industry. Among other things, studies undertaken have resulted in consensus recommendations regarding restricting access and/or recommending the closure of certain areas. Government has implemented these recommendations. The Committee has a newsletter (Moose News see www. manitobamodelforest.net) and holds community workshops and consultations to get input from the local communities in developing their positions.

Pine Marten Conflict Resolution Working Group -- Western Newfoundland MF

The Pine Marten Conflict Resolution Working Group (PMWG) was formed in 1995 in response to two decades of efforts to provide protected habitat areas for the Newfoundland pine marten--one of the longest standing environmental issues in the history of the province. Beginning in 1973, concerns regarding the viability of the pine marten populations were being discussed, but no agreed approach to management was defined. In 1992, the newly formed Western Newfoundland MF was encouraged to bring the ongoing issue to the table with the hope of resolving the disputes over specific reserves for the pine marten. In July of 1995, the first meeting of the PMWG was held (Western Newfoundland MF--Path of the Pine Marten, 2000).

The 21 partners listed in Table 4 attest to the broad range of interests brought together by this working group. Working on a consensus model for decision making that often involved considerable dialogue and many meetings, the working group reached a compromise recommendation in late 1999 for the creation of a pine marten reserve around the Little Grand Lake area. The resolution was submitted to the province and was subsequently adopted and announced from the lobby of the Forest Centre, where the Western Newfoundland MF offices are housed. Laura Jackson, executive director of the Protected Areas Association of Newfoundland and Labrador said, "it really required the participation of various stakeholders, who forged working relationships under the MF umbrella, to secure the reserve." Jackson concluded "one tangible benefit of our involvement with the MF has been the opportunity to work on issues with various stakeholders" (Canadian Model Forest Network 2000: 7).

Comments and Conclusions

The MF Program has provided a good opportunity for a diverse range of stakeholders, other groups and individuals with an interest in forests, and forest management to meet and work together. Activities at individual MFs have also put groups and individuals not traditionally involved in forest policy or management at the same table with government, forest product companies and researchers. This has allowed the traditional forest interests--provincial governments and the forest industry--to work together with others in a constructive environment. As Ayling (2001:167) concludes, "the composition, values and interrelationships of a rich assortment of stakeholders makes for a fascinating experiment in collective learning and decision making." The efforts of the Canadian Forest Service to provide for such opportunities through encouraging the development of partnerships by funding the individual MF programs was innovative. It was also very strategic since the CFS does not possess land management authority for the forests being considered. Reflecting back on the partnership typology in Section one, a few comments can be made about the partnerships that are exemplified in Canadian Model Forests. It is clear that the partnership mechanisms utilized by each MF have fostered collaborative partnerships between the CFS and each MF and its partners. That is, through funding from a public agency, a group of stakeholders, other groups and individuals have come together through partnership mechanisms with the common goal of finding ways to make forest resource use more sustainable. The decision-making authority for the program dollars that have come from the CFS, and the risks attached to spending them, rest with each MF, within which the CFS participates as a member of the Board. As such, each MF has the power to "implement decisions and execute, deliver and monitor programs", all vital characteristics of collaborative partnerships (Rodal and Mulder 1994). As well, each MF also carries out many of the partnership functions that Mitchell (2002) establishes, including data collection, research, analysis and planning, fund raising and in some cases policy development.

It would not be fair, however, to simply characterize the MF partnerships as collaborative. The story is more complex because, as noted above, and at various points in the paper, the MFs and their senior collaborative partner, the CFS, do not share forest management authority as part of the program. For the most part, the power to manage the forest still rests with provincial governments and the forest industries to which they have awarded forest management authority. In designing the MF program the CFS tried to deal in part with this power imbalance by requiring that each MF have an active industrial partner. They took this a step further in Phase II of the program by reducing the amount of funding they were providing to the program and requiring that the forest industry partners in each MF fund the shortfall. Rodal and Muldar (1994) indicate that this can actually be a sign of a maturing partnership arrangement. Despite this change, the MFs still do not share power for forest management decisions with the key land managers. Given this, the MFs are contributory partners to the forest management policy community.

As noted, a contributory partnership is one where government and, in this case, the forest industry retain control over decisions but agree to the objectives of the partnership arrangement. As revealed by Table 1, provincial land mangers and forest industries are represented throughout the MF board partnership mechanisms. This strengthens the foundation of the contributory partnership and is in part responsible for the fact that some of the MF partnerships have matured to the point that the advice they provide through their programs is actually being implemented, albeit selectively, by provincial governments and forest product companies. This has been achieved in part through involving both micro and macro level forest stakeholders at the board table and by the partnership being "consultative" in nature. The demise of the Long Beach MF also exemplifies however, that if one senior partner, in this case the provincial government, feels little ownership in the program the partnership itself can be eroded. Rodal and Mulder (1994: 38) identify that this problem impacts the "likelihood of success of a partnership."

Further, while the mechanisms used to foster partnership arrangements at each MF are sound and the processes of involvement evolving, there are still significant challenges. Developing Table 1 took considerable effort, yet such information should be transparent and available. Some will also likely argue that the table is static and does not recognize the shifts and changes made in MF governance over time. Understanding the dynamics at play in each MF and the governance structures that have resulted is difficult. While a strength of the program is that governance has largely been allowed to evolve at each MF, keeping track of the current status, procedures and reasons for change is something that has not been given priority, making it difficult to evaluate and learn from. The goals, operations and activities of the "partners" component of Table 1 are, for example, still very vague in MF documentation.

A lot could be learned from MFs, however, about developing partnerships and decision-making structures aimed at consensus in a multi-stakeholder situation. Unfortunately, how each organization arrived at the governance and decision-making approach they currently use is not well documented in the MF literature and should be corrected. The techniques that have been used to build lasting relationships should be made clearer so that learning beyond the boundaries of each MF can occur. This will require a much more concerted effort to ponder the challenges each MF has faced--and is facing--in partnership building and decision making as well as an effort to learn from failed attempts as highlighted by the Long Beach MF.

It can also be concluded that the degree that the MF boards are representative of the Natural Resources Canada ideal regarding the range of interests at the table is still variable--as revealed by Table 1--despite the program being in its eleventh year. MFs with smaller boards and management committees tend to put the direction of the organization in the hands of a few partners and often the organizations central to these are the traditional interests--forest industry, government and academia. A conspicuous weakness in board structure is the almost total absence of Environmental Non-Governmental Organization (ENGO) representation on boards and across the Network. Even some of those listed in Table 1, as ENGO representatives, are in fact individuals who have an "interest" in environmental issues but are not representing ENGO organizations. Another important gap is local involvement, and while not omnipresent, some boards still need to take steps to enhance the voice of local people and groups at the board or management level. The CFS recognizes shortcomings in involvement and has gone as far as telling at least one MF that they needed to more meaningfully involve the ENGO community in their area. Some MFs (e.g. McGregor MF, Foothills MF) have already started to differentiate their partnership by sector. This is a useful step in a learning process that would facilitate reflection with regards to where their partners are coming from.

Despite these issues, the degree of involvement achieved through the MF program exemplifies what Arnstein (1969) described as "partnership", where individuals have the opportunity to negotiate tradeoffs, and share power, ownership and risks. MF Presidents and General Managers report that participants in the MF program are generally satisfied with the level of face-to-face dialogue that occurs and the opportunity to share in MF decisions. Decision-making structures that are more inclusive and meaningful have evolved through interactive discussion and relationship-building events like field tours. This is supported, in part, by the self-reporting of board members as documented by Sinclair and Smith (1999). So it can be concluded that the MFs are providing working examples of how to move public involvement in forest management beyond "tokenism" to more participatory approaches. What remains to be seen is whether this experience can be translated beyond the boundaries of the MF. Thus far, there is little hard evidence of this form of participation moving into more traditional forest decision-making forums, such as planning and environmental assessment.

Building on these points, it is apparent that the MF program and individual MFs need to do more to avoid overarching generalizations about MF partnerships. Sinclair (2000) suggested the establishment of models or frameworks, like the ones used in this paper, to help define partnership and avoid what Langford (2002) terms "abuse" of the term. Developing more qualitative indicators of the success of MF partnerships would also add depth to the partnership discussion. As Von Mirbach (1999: 3) indicates, "qualitative indicators such as reports of change in forest management activity" would be welcome additions to the quantitative indicators we currently use. Such indicators should include consideration of the impact of MF partnership approaches to public involvement and decision making in the broader forest policy community. This would allow needed consideration of whether getting traditional and non-traditional forest interests together has had a larger benefit.

Despite these challenges, the longevity of the partnerships, the success they have had working together defining and completing projects and getting good ideas implemented, and the role they have played in the formation of other active partnerships, such as the Moose Management committee, signals that some of the partnerships have matured to the point where they should enter into collaborative partnership arrangements with provincial land managers and forest industries. Rodal and Mulder (1994:36) establish that consultative partnerships in particular "can, over time, become more collaborative, involving increased power sharing." Moving to this new level of partnership would be the best test of the strength of established decision-making approaches and the will of some partners. Some MFs tried to initiate this at the outset of their programs without success. Government land managers and forest industries were not willing to share forest management authority in different ways and some still seem unwilling to do so. Given the program success that MFs have had since Phase I, it is clearly time for land managers to revisit such decisions and attempt to level the forest management playing field by broadening the base of involvement and sharing the risk of failure.

References

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Shindler, B.A., T.M. Beckley and C. Finley. 2003. Seeking Sustainable Forests in North America. In: Two Paths Toward Sustainable Forests: Public Values in Canada and the United States, B.A. Shindler, T.M. Beckley and C. Finley, eds. Oregon State University Press: 4-17.

Sinclair, A.J. 2000. Partnerships: The Foundation for Model Forest Success. Proceedings of the Canadian Model Forest Network's Partnership Meeting. Canadian Forest Service, Ottawa: 53-59.

Sinclair, A.J. and D. Smith. 1999. The Model Forest Program in Canada: Building Consensus on Sustainable Forest Management? Society and Natural Resources 12: 121-138.

Sinclair, A.J., D. Smith and A. Bidinosti. 1998a. Canada's Model Forest Network: How Individual Model Forests are Working Together to Achieve Sustainable Forest Management. Manitoba Model Forest Inc. Pine Falls, MB 96-2-25.

Sinclair, A.J., D. Smith and A. Bidinosti. 1998b. Results of the Survey of Views on Long Beach Model Forest Activities Aimed at Achieving Sustainable Forest Management. Manitoba Model Forest Inc. Pine Falls, MB 96-2-25.

Sinclair, A.J. and D. Smith. 1995. Multi-Stakeholder Decision Making and Management in the Manitoba Model Forest. Manitoba Model Forest Inc. Pine Falls, MB.

Sirmon, J., W.E. Shands and C. Liggett 1993. Communities of Interest and Open Decision Making. Journal of Forestry 91(7): 17-21.

Von Mirbach, M. 1999. Model Forests and Local Level Indicators: Facing Common Challenges. Canadian Model Forest Network, Canadian Forest Service, Ottawa.

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Western Newfoundland Model Forest (WNMF). 2002. Phase III Proposal. http://www.wnmf.com/main/reports/compendium/fullcompendiumindex.html [Accessed in February 2004].

Write, J.D. and A.B. Rodal. 1997. Partnerships and Alliances. In New Public Management and Public Administration in Canada, M. Charih and A. Daniels, eds. IPAC, Toronto, ON.

John Sinclair is a professor at the Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba. His main research interest focuses on community involvement and learning in the process of resource and environmental decision-making. He was a founding member of the Manitoba Model Forest. John can be reached through the Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada R3T 2N2 and at jsincla@cc.umanitoba.ca

Kenton Lobe teaches international development and environmental studies at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg and serves as policy advisor at The Canadian Foodgrains Bank. He completed a Master's in Natural Resource Management at the University of Manitoba in 2003. His research examined community-based approaches to small-scale fisheries management in Kerala, South India. He can be reached through Menno Simons College, 899 Warsaw Avenue, Winnipeg, MB, Canada R3M 1B8 and at lobedl@mts.net
Table 1: Model Forest Board Members and Partners

Model Forest BSMF WNMF FMF NFA WCMF EOMF

Years in Operation 10 10 10 5 5 10
# Staff 5 5 5 4 2 8+2
# on Board 7 9 (1) 34 (2) 40 (3) 13 10

Affiliation
Fed. Govt 1 2 6 2 1 2
Prov. Govt 1* 2 3 2 1 1
Muni. Govt - 1 3 3 - 1
First Nations Govt - - 2 2 2 1
Consultants - - - 1 - 1
NGO 1* - 4 4 1 2
ENGO - - 4 3 - -
Forest Industry 3 2 2 18 4 1
Other Industry - - - - - -
Academic/Research 1 2 8 4 1 -
Other - - 2 1 3 1

Change in Board +2* 0 0 0 -17 0
 Membership
 (Phase III)
# of Partners 45 16 34# 40# 10 185

Affiliation
Government 7 6 12 7 3 52
First Nations - - 2 2 1 4
Forest Industry 6 2 2 18 4 9
Other Industry 2 - - - - 3
Consultants 10 - - 1 - 13
ENGO 3 - 4 3 - 22
NGO 2 4 4 4 - 11
Academic/Research 7 4 8 4 1 29
Other 8 - 2 1 1 42

Model Forest LAMF MBMF PAMF FHMF MMF

Years in Operation 10 10 10 10 10
# Staff 5 4 4 11 4+2
# on Board 18 29 11 16 18 (4)

Affiliation
Fed. Govt 1 1 2 3 2
Prov. Govt 2 3 2* 5* 3
Muni. Govt 3 7 - 1 2*
First Nations Govt 1 8 4 - 1
Consultants - 0 - - 2
NGO 1 3 - - -
ENGO 1 2 - - -
Forest Industry 2 2 1 4 3*
Other Industry - - - 2 -
Academic/Research 1 2 1 1 4*
Other 6 1 1 - -

Change in Board 0 0 +1 +1* +8*
 Membership
 (Phase III)
# of Partners 18# 23 11# 105 50

Affiliation
Government 6 9 4 27 10
First Nations 1 4 4 - 2
Forest Industry 2 2 1 19 7
Other Industry - - - 18 -
Consultants - - - 5 9
ENGO 1 2 - 2 3
NGO 1 3 - 9 3
Academic/Research 1 2 1 18 5
Other 6 1 1 7 11

Table 1 footnotes

(1) WNMF has a board of 9 members that meets twice per year, with much
of the "active" work being done by the Management Group, which has 18
members from diverse backgrounds (Forest Industry -- 2 members;
Academic/Research -- 5 members; Federal Government -- 4 members;
Municipal Government -- 1 member; ENGO -- 1 member; NGO -- 3 members;
Provincial Government -- 2 members). The Management Group has increased
from 7 members in phase 1 to 18 members in phase 3.
(2) FMF has an executive committee (formerly known as management
committee), which is the "active" leadership group. It is made up of 12
members who are appointed by the board and includes sector
representatives from the following: President; General Manger;
Secretary; 4 "landowner" seats (2 Forest Industry, 1 Provincial
Government, 1 Federal Government); 4 "elected sector" members (1
education, 1 Environmental, 1 'public at large', 1 research); and 1 seat
from Natural Resources Canada. (refer to pg 20 of 2002-2003 Working Plan
for details).
(3) NFA has a board (partnership committee) that meets quarterly and
incorporates one seat for each partner organization. A Management
Committee, with one representative from each of the 12 "sectors" manages
much of the day to day activities of the MF (refer to annual report).
The 12 sectors are: Federal Government, Education, Municipal Government,
Environment, Tourism, Provincial Government, Mi'kmaq, Pulp and Paper
Industry, Lumber Industry and Affiliated, Small Private Landowners,
Research, General Forestry (NFA 2001-2002 Working Plan).
(4) MMF has 18 seats available but only 17 are currently filled--one
First Nation seat was empty at the time of the study.
* Indicates change in board membership. Each * represents one board
member and is placed in the category in which the member was either
added or removed. The total number of board members given incorporates
these changes.
# Indicates those Model Forests where each partner organization has a
representative on the board.

Sources: Annual Reports, Phase 3 Proposals, Interviews and email
exchanges with General Managers and Communication Officers

Table 2 -- Model Forest Projects

Model Forest Projects

Bas-Saint ** Forest Tenant Farms
Laurent ** Group Management
Model Forest ** Multi-Resource Management Planning
Western ** Pine Marten Habitat Modeling Tool
Newfoundland ** Biodiversity of Alternative Forest Management
 Strategies
Model Forest ** Main River Landscape Design Project
Fundy Model ** Finding Solutions to Water Quality Issues in Fundy
Forest Model Forest Aquatic Habitat Assessment
Nova Forest ** Contractors and Operators Best Management Practices
 Program
Alliance ** Harvest Practices: What is Right for Nova Scotia
 ** Youth Initiatives
Eastern ** Biodiversity Database Project
Ontario ** Local Level Criteria and Indicator Research
Model Forest ** Biodiversity Observer Network Project
Lake Abitibi ** Effect of Harvesting Systems on the Nutritional Status
 of Peatland
Model Forest ** Biodiversity of Old Growth Forests of the LAMF
 ** Fire History and Landscape Level Forest Dynamics
Manitoba ** Alternative Vegetation Management Re-Measurement
Model Forest ** Eco-site Based Decision Support System
 ** Archaeological Predictive Model
Prince Albert ** Montreal Lake Elk Restoration Project
Model Forest ** Economic Aspects of Recreation Activity at the PA
 National Park
 ** Effects of Disturbances on Plant Diversity
Foothills ** Sustainable Forest Management Indicators for the FHMF
Model Forest ** An Analysis of Camping in Foothills Model Forest
 ** Montane Fire Effects--Vegetation, Fire, and Ungulate
 Dynamics
McGregor ** The Robson Valley Enhanced Forest Management Pilot
 Project
Model Forest ** The Morice and Lakes Innovative Forest Practices
 Agreement
 ** Tree Farm Licence (TFL) 30 Scenario Planning Project

Table 3 -- Groups involved in Moose Management Committee (MBMF)

Groups/Partners Involved Sector/Affiliation

 1. Hollow Water First Nation** First Nation
 2. Little Black River First Nation** First Nation
 3. Brokenhead First Nation** First Nation
 4. Sagkeeng First Nation** First Nation
 5. Time to Respect Earths Ecosystems** ENGO
 6. Tembec Pine Falls Division** Forest Industry
 7. LDB Game and Fish Association* NGO
 8. Pinawa Wildlife Association* ENGO
 9. Brokenhead Game and Fish* NGO
10. St. Jo's Wildlife Association* ENGO
11. Manitoba Trapper's Association** NGO
12. Manitoba Conservation** Provincial Government

* Represents non-partners of MBMF
** Represents organizations with seats on the MBMF board

Table 4 -- Groups involved in Pine Marten Conflict Resolution Working
Group (WNMF)

Groups/Partners Involved Sector/Affiliation

 1. Parks and Protected Areas Division* Provincial Government
 2. Protected Areas Association* ENGO
 3. Forestry and Wildlife Division* Provincial Government
 4. Sir Wilfred Grenfell College** Academic/Research
 5. Abitibi-Consolidated Inc.** Forest Industry
 6. Wilderness Ecological Reserve Advisory Other
 Council*
 7. Cornerbrook Pulp and Paper** Forest Industry
 8. Ecosystem Health Division** Provincial Government
 9. Natural Resources Canada** Federal Government
10. Gros Morne National Park** Federal Government
11. Inland Fish and Wildlife Division** Provincial Government
12. Newfoundland and Labrador Trappers NGO
 Association
13. Terra Nova National Park* Federal Government
14. Centre for Forest and Environmental Studies* Academic/Research
15. Department of Mines and Energy* Provincial Government
16. V.A. French Geological Consultants* Consultants
17. Newfoundland and Labrador Chamber of Mineral Other
 Resources*
18. Western Newfoundland Model Forest NGO
19. Department of Forests, Resources and Provincial Government
 Agrifoods*
20. Department of Tourism, Culture and Provincial Government
 Recreation*
21. MHA for Humber East* Provincial Government

* Represents non-partners of WNMF
** Represents organizations with seats on the WNMF board
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Date:Nov 1, 2005
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