"COMMUNITY LINKAGE FORGING OUR FUTURE"
www.fallsbrookcentre.ca COMMUNITY LINKAGE: FORGING OUR FUTURE Issue 33 · Winter edition · 2008 Forging Our Future By Jean Arnold We are so lucky to be living here in the Up- per St. John River Valley, with our rolling hills, farm- lands and forests, all the fresh water we need and small communities of people living close to the wild- ness that is found in our forest lands. Historically we have mostly been dependent on forest harvesting and growing potatoes. Now our forests no longer have the market value they once CONTENT: had and we have overcut them. Our farmlands no longer support our food needs and we are depend- Now is the Time for Change if We Want a Thriving Forest Industry in 25 Years Time 2-6-7 ent on food from far away. Mixed farming is no longer practiced in our region; we mostly grow pota- Public Land Coalition 3 toes for the export market. Juniper Case Study: The Path That Leads to Yet times are changing and we need to re- Being Heard by Decision-Makers 4 evaluate our circumstances, plan for the future and Revelstoke Community Forestry Corporation: decide what our long term plan for our region will be. A Community Taking its Future in its Hands 5 Falls Brook Centre has embarked on a Community Asset mapping process, a way of discussing with Community Asset Mapping 8-9 communities and individuals, talking to organizations Upper St. John River Valley—Future and associations to map the assets we have, to dis- Community Planning Workshops 10-11 cuss the values we share and to see how all of this Nackawic Case Study: Initiative Needs to 12 will lead us forward. This is a work of a lifetime, Arise From Inside the Community communities need to continually review their plan, Connecting Canada to Costa Rica 13 adjust and move forward. In the meantime we are doing this consultation, this asset mapping work be- Santa Cruz: A Community in Action 14 tween now and Spring, to get a start on bringing us Community Forestry in Spain: Exploring together in the face of the various dilemmas we the Possibilities 15 have around us. With forest communities losing Managing Forest Assets for the Benefit their mills, people agonizing about leaving their fami- of New Brunswickers 17 lies and heading west, we owe it to ourselves to be- Challenges in Atlántida Model Forest 18 gin to plan for a vibrant healthy future. A future with The Macphail Woods: An Example From strong local communities, Atlantic Canada 18 This issue of the County Bridge brings some The Politics of Possibility Opens Many articles to share with you. I hope you will find them Doors in N.B. 19 stimulating to your own thinking. Onwards and forwards for 2008 Resources and Announcement 20 WINTER EDITION, JANUARY, 2008 NOW IS THE TIME FOR CHANGE IF WE WANT A THE COUNTY BRIDGE Issue no. 33 THRIVING FOREST INDUSTRY IN 25 YEARS TIME By Simon J. Mitchell MISSION STATEMENT Falls Brook Centre is working to demonstrate and I t is 1982 and the New Brunswick forest industry is thriving. The Province has just established the legislation to govern how Crown forests will be managed, the Crown Lands and Forest Act. communicate traditional skills In the new Act, the Crown forest pie is divided among 8 licensees and wisdom, combined with and 140 sub-licensees. This is a consolidation at the top: only 10 appropriate technology, to licenses, down from 84 prior to 1982. make the abstract concept of sustainable development a The 1982 Act flowed from a 10-year process that included the Tweedale Report (1974) living reality of sustainable and established the relationships and responsibilities of the major players in New Bruns- communities. wick’s forest economy: predominantly the industry and the Department of Natural Re- sources. Private woodlot owners are in the mix: the Act describes them as the primary source of supply, meaning that the mills must come to woodlot owners for wood before CONTRIBUTORS accessing any of their wood allocation from Crown land. Viewed as a seminal piece of Carly Armstrong legislation at the time, the Crown Lands and Forest Act receives considerable acclaim Jean Arnold both inside and outside New Brunswick. It is heralded as a new direction in forestry, Shannon Clohosey and has subsequently been drawn upon by other regions of Canada and internationally. Tom Coates That, of course, is not the only point of view. Sophie-Michèle Cyr Beth McLaughlin Over the two and a half decades since the Act was created, there have been recurring Simon J. Mitchell crises in the forest industry and with management of Crown Lands. Woodlot owners Carole Preston have been deprived of their right of primary supply. Clearcutting – the standard man- Sue Rickards agement practice – has been extensive. Continuing government bailouts have been re- quired by the industry for survival. EDITING AND LAYOUT The Crown Lands and Forest Act is the institutional framework for the management of Sophie-Michèle Cyr the province’s 3 million hectares of public forest resource. The Act covers everything from Administration, to Crown Timber Licenses, to Royalties, to Roads. Many in the DIRECTOR forestry sector say it has worked quite well as the industry has grown and changed over Jean Arnold the past 25 years. FALLS BROOK CENTRE The Act is supported by a planning system that includes the development of industrial 125 South Knowlesville Rd plans, 25-year management plans, and operating plans. Lease agreements and financial Knowlesville, NB E7L 1B1 arrangements provide industry access to the resource. New Brunswickers have shoul- Tel: (506) 375-4310 dered the costs: precommercial thinning, planting, road building, infrastructure and for- Fax: (506) 375-4221 est management responsibilities. Stumpage fees (royalty rates) are adjusted on a regular Email: email@example.com basis. www.fallsbrookcentre.ca Since 1982, numerous policies affecting Crown land have been implemented by DNR. Many of these are a direct result of a changing understanding of the forest resource and how it should be used. Some reflect changing public values: leasing arrangements have been created for sugar bushes, camps, and other non-timber forest uses – there are 1100 hectares for campsite leases, for example; 8300 hectares for maple sugar leases, and 6200 hectares for blueberry leases. More than 4500 km of hiking, snowmobile and ATV trails are on public land. A new Protected Natural Areas Act has been implemented – 10 large and 20 small protected areas total more than 150,000 hectares. New Brunswick’s This newsletter was printed on First Nations have secured a 5% volume allocation from the Crown lands, although to 100% post-consumer date this does not include any management responsibility for the resource. Criteria have recycled paper. been developed and implemented for the management of over 800 deer wintering areas covering 280,000 hectares of forest; 260,000 hectares are managed for wildlife that need (Continued on page 6) WINTER EDITION, JANUARY, 2008 2 Public Land Coalition: To endorse this statement by the Public Lands Responsible Forest Management for Campaign, email: firstname.lastname@example.org New Brunswick’s Rural Communities • Many rural communities in New Brunswick depend on natural resources such as forestry and fisheries • A record-breaking volume of timber, 5.4 million cubic meters, was harvested from NewBrunswick’s public forest during 2006 - 2007. • Logging in the public forest is increasing, while logging on private woodlots is decreasing. • The record-breaking harvesting on public land is occur ring at a time of ever-increasing mill closures and shutdowns. • The provincial government is allowing timber allocated o the closed Weyerhaeuser mill in Miramichi to Endorsers to November 28 Statement: be cut and exported out of the province. • The provincial government's timber transfer scheme, set 1.Campaign for Pesticides Reduction- NB to expire December 31, 2007, transfers the forest 2.Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice NB Chapter resource from one community to another while 3.Citizens Press providing a one-time -payment of $10.00/cubic 4.Coalition Stillwater meter, a small fraction of the economic benefit an 5.Committee Against the Transfer of Crown Allocations operating mill provides to a community. 6.Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of • According to Natural Resources Canada, New Bruns Canada Local 113 Kedgwick Mill wick employs the fewest number of people per 7.Le Conseil municipal de la Ville de Saint-Quentin unit of timber harvested in all of Canada. 8.Conservation Council of New Brunswick • The number of people employed per unit of timber har 9.Dames Auxillaires, Saint-Quentin, N.B vested has steadily decreased for decades 10.Environnement Vie throughout the province. 11.Falls Brook Centre • Smaller and medium-sized mills are employing more 12.Good Life Gathering people per unit of timber harvested relative to 13.Hammond River Angling Association larger mills. 14.Les Intendants du Madawaska [= Madawaska Caretakers] • New Brunswickers value the forest as a source of fresh 15.New Brunswick Federation of Woodlot Owners water, a place of diverse ecosystems and habitat, 16.New Brunswick Federation of Labour a critical part in the fight against climate change 17.PANE for a new perspective on energy and a source of meaningful employment. 18.Public for the Protection of the Forests of NB 19.Saint John Citizens Coalition for Clean Air We the undersigned organizations urge the provincial 20.Tantramar Environmental Alliance government to: 21.Village of Petit Rocher 22.City of Bathurst 1. Tie timber allocations to communities. Local forest 23.Village of Belledune resources provide the foundation for local economies. 24.Village of Pointe-Verte Individuals: 2. Establish a moratorium on logging timber from 1.Marcel Theriault, Enseignant, Saint-Quentin public land allocated to closed mills and immediately 2.Peregrine Riley, Saint John halt raw timber exports. 3.Sandy MacKay, Nauwigewauk 4.Roger Roy, Deschenes Drilling Limited 3. Ensure that the harvesting of wood from public 5.Bertin Chouinard, Saint-Quentin, N.B lands does not interfere with the ability of private 6.Rejeanne Chouinard, Saint-Quentin, N.B woodlot owners to sell their wood. WINTER EDITION, JANUARY, 2008 3 Juniper Case Study: The Path That Leads to Being Heard by Decision-Makers By Sophie-Michele Cyr O rganized community action is often catalyzed by a common crisis that affects the community dynamic. This is the case for the community of Juniper. This article presents the story of the transition from laid off mill workers to the formation of the Committee Against Transfer of Crown Land Allocation (CATCA). On September 18th 2007, Fraser Paper, the major employer of the village, announced they would close the Juniper mill operations for an undetermined time leaving 175 people out of work. This was the second closure the community had experienced this year; the first one being the Norbord I- Joist. Fraser Paper Ltd. entered into a one-year deal that allows the sawmill in Deersdale (owned by Irving Ltd.) to harvest on Fraser’s Juniper Crown allocation. In return, the Deersdale mill will sup- ply Fraser Paper’s pulp mill in Edmundston with wood chips. In response to the mill closure announcement, Marla Mills, the owner of the Juniper Convenience Store, organized a public rally at the Juniper recreation center on September 18th. About 200 people attended the rally, including Jeannot Volpé (Opposition leader & Progressive Conservative MLA from Madawaska-les-Lacs), Dale Graham (Progressive Conservative MLA for Carleton), David Alward (Progressive Conservative MLA for Woodstock), Keith Ashfield (Progressive Conservative MLA for New Maryland-Sunbury East) and some media representatives. The majority of the rally participants were mill workers; woodlot owners and concerned citizens from surrounding communities also attended. The audience’s largest concern was the loss of high paying jobs and the effect it would have on Juniper and surrounding communities. At the end of the rally, Marla gathered the people who wanted to get involved and later announced another meeting. The major concerns of the newly formed committee were the job losses and the effect on the local economy. Most thought that meeting with the Minister of Natural Resources would fix the problem. Some others felt that they needed to take action by protests and civil disobedience. The unsuccessful meeting with the Minister of Natural Resources that followed provides an example of the breakdown in communication between communities and decision-makers. There are two major facts that explain this miscommunication: first, the grassroots committee often don’t have the organizational capacity for effective strategic planning; second, they are often easily caught up in the emotional side of their community’s crisis, becoming distracted from the negotiations and finding it difficult to express their ideas clearly. Nevertheless the members of such grassroots committees are first-hand witnesses to the problems that emerge in their communities, and as such, they are valuable agents in working towards a solution. At first, the common interest that brought the 200 people together was the loss of employment. Then, as the group started organizing itself, the group vision and mission took form and fewer people remained involved, considering they had to leave the community to find other jobs. A smaller committee was form to oversee the issue and their focus was taking a more extensive direction. The group felt that they had to focus their attention on the cause of the mill clo- sure, namely the policy that allowed the mill closure and the transfer of crown land allocation, rather than its conse- quences. They called themselves The Committee Againt Crown Land Allocation. This transition allowed them to take part in a much bigger movement that was already taking form at the provincial level, the Public Land Coalition. This involvement allowed them to understand, represent and inform their community about the whole provincial crisis, pro- viding context to the local situation. The cooperation among the provincial coalition gave them the tools and the voice they needed to be heard by the decision-makers. The Juniper community is now in the process of working with many possibilities for the future. Communities are a component and a valuable tool for developing solutions to resource manage- ment. Society has to find ways to reach those important and valuable inputs as they are a part of the global solution to the broader crisis. The communities should not be kept in the dark when decision- makers are assessing their future. The grassroot committee CATCA is a great example of how a com- munity can be involved in a larger network that can provide the resources and tools to present and de- bate a common goal with the decision-makers. WINTER EDITION, JANUARY, 2008 4 Revelstoke Community Forest Corporation: A community Taking its Future in its Hands By Sophie-Michele Cyr T he city of Revelstoke is situated in the southeastern of British Columbia. Like New Bruns- wick, the community’s economic history has long been tied to the natural resources trough timber industries. In 1993, the city became the single shareholder of the Rev- elstoke Community Forest Corporation (RCFC), a private corporation established by the city to purchase and manage an area of public forest land known as Tree Farm License 56. British Columbia has different types of licenses that give access to the public land (TFL-Tree Farm Licenses and TSA-Timber Supply Areas) and that, since 1995, the province has introduced a new FPC-Forest Prac- tices Code to give legal relationship between province and licensee. In the mid-1980’s, the end of a mega dam project, the town was experiencing a severe economic downturn. When the major sawmill closed the town population decreased from 11,000 to 7,500 and had 25% unemployment. A small amount of timer harvesting continued, but these logs were trucked outside Revelstoke. This situation was not acceptable to the community. Between 1987 and 1990, the City of Revelstoke and community groups worked together to catalyze a different vision of the regional forestry, one would ensure that more local timber would be processed in the community. How did they get there? The City convinced the Ministry of Forests to cancel TSA and reduce TFL licenses due to inadequate harvestings and to lack of local processing. In 1988, the City made sure they had a voice in the awarding of the new TSA license. They demanded that the decision be made with regard to an assessment of community, social and economic benefits. They also demanded that community-based processors receive cutting rights. The Minister of Forests agreed and awarded tenures to two local mill. Having inserted itself into the forestry decision-making process, the community con- tinued to make its presence and authority felt. In the 1988-1990, the City of Revelstoke and the Economic Development Commission (a body funded by the City and Regional District) reviewed in detail the management and working plans for the still operating license. They submitted to the Forest Resources Commission a series of recommendations: -Communities should have more input on the management plans for licenses. -Local processing could improve utilization and management. -Improved forest management would increase benefits and reduce the allowable annual cut. -Utilization standards should be improved. -Better recreational and tourism use of the forest should be encouraged. -Consistent application of the Forest Act was needed. In 1992 the license came up for sale and the City made a proposal for transfer of harvest rights. They specifically demanded that 35,000 cubic meters of the forestland up for sale was a crucial source of supply for the local mills. The City partnered with three different local milling industries to purchase the license and to share the risk with the City in return for secure timber supply, 50% of the wood they harvest on the license. Based on this progress, the province agreed for the transfer of the allocation. What are the benefits? The Revelstoke Community Forest Corporation is creating jobs by logging contracts and assuring the supply of wood for the smaller local mills. There is now the potential that 76% of the timber harvested from public land can be processed in Revelstoke compared to 4 % in 1986. The corporation’s benefits are reinvested into the community through donations to local projects. The corporation’s most valuable practice reside in there specialty Sorted Wood, which con- sist of separating the kinds of wood that allows a small local niche markets. “Having many sizes of mills helps to adjust and cushion the impact of the global market” Said RCFC’s Manager Del Williams If you want information about the Revelstoke Community Forest Corporation, visit there web site and contact them. http://www.rcfc.bc.ca/ WINTER EDITION, JANUARY, 2008 5 (Continued from page 3) large areas of old softwood forest; over 190,000 hectares are managed for wildlife that need older pine, hardwood and mixed forests, and 400,000 hectares of buffer zones exist around lakes, rivers, and streams. Some of this – the Protected Areas, for example – is a permanent removal from the total area open to harvesting of timber. In others, timber harvest- ing is a secondary objective and permitted only under certain conditions. Overall, all activities undertaken on Crown Land by the licensees, sub-licensees and contractors are contained within DNR’s Forest Management Manual. On-the- ground performance is measured via an auditing process that identifies issues of non-compliance. None of these policies have been written into the existing Act. In 2004, the industry decided it was time for a change – from their point-of-view, wood supply had become a major is- sue, costs were increasing, and the future no longer looked rosy. To stimulate change, industry commissioned the JPMC report, whose recommendations included: •A timber supply objective should be set for each license area that would be binding on the Government and on the licensee; •The industry and DNR should jointly fund and support research and development of science-based forest management practices applicable in New Brunswick; •The public should participate in reviewing the objectives of management for New Brunswick’s Crown lands to provide a mandate for the direction and magnitude of change in forest management; • DNR should reduce overlap in management and oversight of Crown lands; • Special management zones should be critically reviewed and where possible, additional harvesting per- mitted; •Conservation values of private lands should be taken into account when evaluating the need for set- asides and special management on public lands. This prompted numerous other reports and led to the Legislative Select Committee hearings on Wood Supply which gave New Brunswickers the first opportunity in 27 years to directly provide the government with input on the manage- ment of Crown Land. They spoke loudly. And, to some extent, were heard. Some recommendations from the Select Committee were adopted by the Government of the time. The issues that were of paramount concern to New Brunswickers: meaningful and on-going public participation process; that the amount of clearcutting be reduced and that DNR implement wood allocation mechanisms to promote and stabilize local employ- ment opportunities in the event that a mill ceases operation, remain unaddressed. The committee did not recommend cre- ating new tenure options that would allow for community forestry, instead opting for the recommendation that “up to 10% of the total annual harvest volume of all species be made available for harvest by small, qualified contrac- tors.” Wood supply for industry remains an issue whose root cause is really overcapacity on the processing and manufac- turing side – a result of too many mills being expanded, even though there is not enough wood in the province to feed them. This has been further compounded by changing habitat requirements, the increase in protected areas and the exist- ing forest composition, which is constrained in the coming decades. Although we have a considerable amount of wood going to the mills (5.1 millions m3/year) from Crown Lands, they remain uncompetitive because they are relatively small by Canadian and international standards. Now, in early 2008, the NB forest industry is in a different place. There are 3 licensees, and 63 sub-licensees, which are currently supporting the operation of 16 mills operating at full capacity. There have been huge employment losses, 1000’s of jobs and counting, mills have shut-down and you don’t have to look far to see communities disappearing. This is a direct result of the Crown Lands and Forest Act of 1982, the industry changes over the last 25 years, and now the “perfect storm”: the higher dollar; competition from foreign markets via cheap trees and labour and newer, more ad- vanced, efficient mills; energy costs; and the falling demand for key products (paper, building materials). In our future we certainly don’t want to see a lowering of labour or resource costs in order to compete. The former will negatively impact workers, while the latter will only decrease the revenue New Brunswickers realize from our Crown Lands. Continued investments in larger, more efficient mills will not help, as we are still unable to compete in an inter- national market place. Our inability to control exchange rates, energy costs and market demand for the traditional prod- ucts further impacts the forest industry. And, that is why the industry that we see in 2008 will look quite similar to the industry we have into the indefinite future, less a few more mills, towns, and jobs of course! Where the economics of this is going, nobody can be certain. What will be certain though, is that the industry will benefit fewer and fewer New Brunswickers all the time. WINTER EDITION, JANUARY, 2008 6 It was only 4 years ago that the Select Committee report stated “The Committee believes the founding principles and structure of the Crown Lands and Forests Act continue to provide a solid foundation for Crown forest management in New Brunswick and…” That clearly is no longer the case and is precisely why now is the time for change. It is time to rewrite the Crown Lands and Forest Act to achieve the following: a) citizens having direct involvement in the manage- ment and stewardship of Crown Lands; b) more direct employment benefits to communities and citizens; c) more access to Crown land resources for non-timber and timber enterprises, resulting in a greater diversity of products and potential markets. We will still have, in fact we need a forest industry and the myriad of jobs that it supports in the trucking industry and others, thereby insuring a diversified forestry sector. A new Act should allow us to have more people working in the woods and processing products locally, and creating even more employment through value-adding, encouraging more labour intensive operations such as maple syrup production, wreaths, recreation and tourism, the list is endless. A new Act should return primary source of supply to woodlot owners, because it would improve private volumes into the fu- ture, and could drastically improve quality, with the right incentives. A new Act should also consider and plan for cli- mate change. We need forest management to determine the types of forest we need to have in 50 years to respond to the changing climate, and to conserve the forests ability to respond. This could mean carbon storage reserves. It could mean limited harvesting and selective labour intensive harvesting that removes high-value trees. And, it could mean maximiz- ing non-timber values. A new Crown Lands and Forest Act will represent a paradigm shift that dictates what happens when, who benefits and how those benefits are derived. It will also determine what our forest looks like in another 25 years time. A change now is an acknowledgment of the changed industry, changed public values and the realization of opportunities now and for another 25 years. New Brunswickers have begun to verbalize what they want for Crown Lands through the Select Commit- tee hearings, and more recently as mills and communities have closed. Previous discussions have been nib- bling at the edges of this issue. We now need a formal discussion of how to re-write the Crown Lands and Forests Act, with government taking the lead, and involving the public in a meaningful way. The people of New Brunswick need to tell the government that it is time to get the ball rolling and begin working on a new Act. We also need to start the ball rolling ourselves, by having discussions with our communities and our MLAs. We – New Brunswickers, government officials, industry, academics, operators, and the own- ers, all have something to contribute. Written with contributions from George Peabody, Roberta Clowater and Steve Reid of CPAWS New Brunswick By Simon J. Mitchell No need to reinvent the wheel! The present New Brunswick wood crisis is a great opportunity to re-evaluate the accuracy of our Crown Land Act. But let’s not reinvent the wheel! To do so, we should take a good look at what has been done elsewhere. We are not the first human popula- tion having to adjust our practices and rethink our principles. Let’s get inspired by other provinces or countries by exploring their forest management politics and models. We don’t have to be at the mercy of companies; it has already been 300 years now! Let’s tackle our own initiative and create our future. WINTER EDITION, JANUARY, 2008 7 COMMUNITY ASSET MAPPING By Sophie-Michele Cyr What are community assets? Assets are defined as popularly recognized attributes and advantages of a community. They are considered essential for the maintenance of rural life and vital for the sustainability of the economy, society and environment in rural Canada. Assets are what we want to keep, build upon and sustain for future generations. These assets are bundled into groups: natural (such as environment and water), build (physical things we built, including infrastructures), social (the social aspect of living in the community), economic (jobs and a varied economy that people and communities draw on for their livelihoods), service (such as health and educational services) or they can be intangi- ble like the work of volunteers, people’s skills and expertise. What is asset mapping? It’s a process that helps you to think positively about the place in which you live and work. It also challenges you to rec- ognize how other people see and experience the same community. Mapping community assets means: • collecting an inventory of all the good things about your community; • ranking the most valued aspects of your community; and, • discovering the reasons why people place high value on assets in your community. Once you have this map of the valued aspects of your community, you can collectively strategize about how to build on the assets in order to sustain and enhance them for future generations. Why use it? Asset Mapping produces a common view of what is considered important in a community. It provides a useful starting point, potentially leading to a strategic planning process and/or community/organizational development. The process of asset mapping provides a critical element of community development – the engagement of people in the shaping of their community. From Needs to Assets: Needs Divide While Assets Provide. Recognizing common assets changes the way we think about our communities because it unites people around a positive identity and a collective cause. Needs ap- proach tends to divide people and communities. Articulating needs often becomes a competitive process and frequently pits communities and organizations against each other. Asset mapping celebrates diversity rather than homogeneity. Recognizing that different assets are important to different populations and interest groups is critical when selecting the strategies necessary to sustain these assets. The asset mapping process has the potential to be inclusive of all community dimensions, features and interests. People from the rural area are the best tool; communities already know a lot about how to mobilize their assets to deal with rural difficulties (distance between places, services and amenities). It is critical to have a broad spectrum of the community, including: youth people and elderly, people with different eco- nomic means, occupations, languages and ethnic identities. It is a major step to establishment of common cause and vital for strategies and action plans. This kind of session is based on the assumption that all Canadians should have an equal opportunity to access asset wealth. The process will summarize the many items that we cherish and that are positive for the community. WINTER EDITION, JANUARY, 2008 8 Illustrating the Asset Mapping process: Remembering the goals of Asset Mapping: • Get to know the assets within communities. • Share an appreciation for the value of these assets. • Understand what supports and threatens them. • Plan how the groups can sustain and build upon the collective values of these community assets. Bibliography from Rural Secretariat: http://www.rural.gc.ca/conference/documents/mapping_e.phtml#1 Canada day parade in Glassville Enjoyable times along the St. John River WINTER EDITION, JANUARY, 2008 9 Upper St. John River Valley – Future Community Planning Community Asset Mapping Project O ur region stretches from Nackawic to Perth-Andover. Many communities in this region are facing challenges in today’s changing world. Confronting these challenges can be accomplished when local residents get together, envision and plan for a better future. The Upper St-John River Valley - Community Asset Mapping Project aims to facilitate this process by bringing together the regional communities to engage in positive planning based on an appreciation of all the valuable qualities the region has to offer. The first step is to identify what we already have - our existing assets. They may be natural resources, they may be people, or buildings, or expertise, or ideas. Once we know what we have to work with, we can explore how to utilize our as- sets in productive and sustainable ways. Falls Brook Centre (FBC) is now able to offer you the opportunity to identify your assets in a Community Planning Workshop at no cost to your community. We invite you to participate in the workshops that are focused on building local con- tacts, discussing community assets and as an outcome, envision and plan for a sustainable future for your community. There will be a total of five workshops; the first one has already taken place the 14th of December at FBC. Your support and partici- pation will be important as we move forward and engage in building solutions. What? Where? When? Community Planning Workshop – Nackawic February 20th Action Planning Community Planning Workshop – Hartland March 5th Asset Mapping Community Planning Workshop – Perth-Andover March 12th Asset Mapping Wrap-up session – Where do we go Falls Brook Centre April 4th from here? Forest Fair Falls Brook Centre And all day April 5th Please fill out the registration form and forward it by mail, fax or e-mail to Sophie-Michele at the Falls Brook Centre. (Contact information below) Registration for Community Planning Workshop Name: _____________________________________________________________ Organization: ________________________________________________________ Contact Info.: (town) :_____________________________(tel.):_________________________ (E-mail):_____________________________(fax):_________________________ I will attend the session on February 27th in Nackawic ( ) March 5th in Hartland ( ) March 12th in Perth-Andover ( ) Any dietary concerns ____________________________________ Please submit by mail, e-mail or fax: Mail: E-mail: Any question? Falls Brook Centre email@example.com Contact Sophie-Michele Cyr : 125 South Knowlesville Road Tel.: 506-375-4310 Knowlesville, N.B. Fax: E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org E7L 1B1 1-506-375-4221 WINTER EDITION, JANUARY, 2008 10 Can’t come to the workshop? Give us your inputs for the Asset Mapping Project by responding to this simple questionnaire. Name:_______________________________________________________________________________________ What community do you live in? :________________________________________________________________ What organizations or groups are you part of? :____________________________________________________ Outline the six most important assets in your community: (we are looking for things such as physical, economic, cul- tural, people and natural assets) _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ Are these assets threatened? If so, how? ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________ What other opportunities could be developed to maintain and enhance the strength of your community? ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________ Please submit by mail, e-mail or fax: Mail: E-mail: Any question? Falls Brook Centre email@example.com Contact Sophie-Michele Cyr : 125 South Knowlesville Road Tel.: 506-375-4310 Knowlesville, N.B. Fax: 1-506-375-4221 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org E7L 1B1 WINTER EDITION, JANUARY, 2008 11 Nackawic Case Study: Initiative Needs to Arise From Inside the Community By Sue Rickards I n 2007, the Rural Secretariat funded an asset-mapping project in the town of Nackawic. It was facilitated by retired teacher Julie Stone on behalf of NANY (Neighbours’ Alliance of North York), a regional community association. This pro- ject was sparked by the closure of the St. Anne-Nackawic Pulp and Paper Co. mill in 2004, with the loss of 400 jobs. The mill re-opened in 2006 as AV Nackawic, but this rebirth did not signify a return to the good old days. Many former mill workers were not rehired, resulting in negative attitudes toward the new employer. The pension fund was found to be seriously under funded, creating uncertainty, anxiety and hostility in the community. Some moved away to work elsewhere, while others stuck it out in hopes of being employed at the mill once again. Others turned to local options, including jobs offered in a call centre. One result of the turmoil surrounding the mill closure was the recognition that the forest industry is in transition, and towns like Nackawic must diversify their economic base if they are to survive. This recognition was the impetus behind NANY’s asset-mapping project. Over a 10-week period, 5 formal meetings were held with interested citizens, as well as informal gatherings and tele- phone conversations. Several meetings took place in local community centres like the Lions Club and Curling, while others were less formal and held in coffee shops and restaurants. The facilitator had many casual conversations which also yielded important information, engaging well over 300 people in the process. The participants identified the major assets of Nackawic and the surrounding areas, in order of their priority, as 1. the St. John River and its tributaries, with their potential for recreation, education and economic development 2. the existing infrastructure, including recreation facilities (golf course, arena, ball diamonds, etc.) and public ser- vices such as the schools 3. economic assets other than the mill, particularly several small businesses with growth potential (eg Riverbend Log Homes) The report of this project contains several pages which list in detail the assets identified through this process, as well as lessons learned. It was found that this project - confirmed that citizens know what they want and have good ideas - demonstrated that people will get involved if asked to do a small part of a big project - identified potential community leaders by giving them the opportunity to show their skills and talents in group settings - stimulated broader community discussion about the future of Nackawic Since the project was completed in March 2007 and the announcement of the mill reopening, the process has stalled. Once the funded facilitator was gone, there were no resources to enable it to continue, although the participants showed strong interest in keeping the ball rolling. It takes dedicated leadership arising from the workshops to keep the process alive. We hope that the next workshop, organized by Falls Brook Centre, will pick up where NANY left off. “Every great socioeconomic movement began in a local neighbourhood.” Margaret Mead WINTER EDITION, JANUARY, 2008 12 Connecting Costa Rica to Canada By Carly Armstrong A s an intern at Falls Brook Centre, I was incredibly fortunate to be given an opportunity to travel to Costa Rica and study sustainable forestry at one of the leading universities in tropical forestry research. Upon arrival, I was indeed wide-eyed at the beauty of the Costa Rican countryside. The rolling hills which gave way to mountains and volcanoes, gushing rivers and waterfalls around every corner. However, one thing that really struck me was the intensity of land management that I saw throughout the nation. Steep slopes delving into deep gorges, terraced to grow vegetables and fruits, fields lined with banana trees filled with row upon row of pineapple, coffee plantations scattered with Eucalyptus trees, and large areas devoted to the cultivation of various tree species. This picture is the reality for much of Costa Rica- a utilitarian utopia? Costa Rica may be considered a leader in forest conservation with around 25% of its land area classified as park/ protected area (which is significantly more than Canada, a much larger nation; we protect not even 12% of our land area). But I still wonder, what is the cost of this conservation? One problem that many conservationists see with protected areas is that once an area is classified as protected, the people living within that area are prohibited from accessing the resources that lie within the forest. In many cases, this leads to a host of illegal activities occurring within the protected areas (whether it be tree felling, hunting, or gathering food and fuel-wood) and the level of exploitation is often higher than in an open access system. Another potential issue is that because a community or individual no longer has access to the goods that may be derived from the forest, they must look to other avenues for survival. As a result, more pressure is placed on the surrounding land area. What good is a protected area, if all the surrounding countryside is deforested, nearby water sources are contaminated with industrial or agro chemicals, and local flora and fauna only have chances for survival within that isolated, protected area? Unfortunately, this situation exists the world over. Wildlife becomes trapped within the protected zone, unable to migrate between areas, stunting genetic diversity. Edge effects (species differ significantly on the edge of forest systems from what lies deep within a forest) are magnified and species composition is altered, thus changing the overall composition and function of the forest ecosystem. In Costa Rica, certainly, areas are managed intensively; much of their vegetable and fruit cultivation is carried out in the conventional manner with the heavy use of agrochemicals. A great portion of their countryside has been deforested and replaced with other land-uses. Illegal logging occurs in protected areas. These challenges and land-use characteristics are not unique to Costa Rica. Simultaneously, many Costa Rican farmers are also taking care to reforest their land and maintain existing forests within their property lines; this, however, is somewhat of a curious phenomenon. What, you may ask, is the motivation for this? One simple answer, Payments for Environmental Services (PES) and without doubt, Costa Rica is a leader in this emerging field. PES is a concept whereby landowners are financially compensated for maintaining or increasing the forest ecosystems on their property. A growing recognition of the important role forests play in improving water quality, ameliorating air pollution, mitigating climate change, protecting soil resources, promoting tourism and maintaining biodiversity (to state a few of the benefits of forests), has prompted the Costa Rican government (among many others) to devise a system that encourages people to plant trees and to think twice before cutting them down. This concept also helps to combat many of the issues discussed above. With PES, farmland can be used to create biological corridors (areas of natural forest that act as a conduit for plant and animal life between larger patches of forest, to ensure adequate mixing of populations in order to maintain genetic and biological diversity), protect water resources, sequester carbon, and provide relief from the intensive land-use systems occurring throughout the remaining countryside. WINTER EDITION, JANUARY, 2008 13 Until now, there has been little economic incentive to utilize land in such a way and as a result much of our Earth has been deforested and degraded. The impacts of such activity are devastating and PES is one way to begin growing back our forests. So, just where does the Costa Rican government acquire the funds to pay the farmers that plant (or maintain) the trees? The money comes from the country’s gas tax, 4% of which is devoted to PES and paying landowners for their efforts in forest conservation. Therefore, the people that are buying the most gas (and thus contributing the most to climate change and other environmental issues) are essentially funding PES. In Canada, we once had vast forest resources, but they are slowly and steadily being whittled away by industry for export and by developers for land conversion. New Brunswick is home to some of the oldest, most diverse forests in Atlantic Canada; forests are an important part of our national identity and environmental survival. At this time, many of our forest dependent communities face the threats of unemployment and relocation because industry has decided it is no longer economical to run mills. We need to assess as communities what is important and how we would like to utilize our resources, rather than having our future dictated to us by the industry’s economic experts. A concept like PES could be adapted and applied to Canadian circumstances providing alternatives (or additions) to conventional forestry operations. PES is not only applicable to the individual landowner; it can also be applied at the community level. PES programs achieve recognition of a very important fact, a truth that has been ignored far too long in Canadian forestry: there is value in our standing forests, value in the diversity, and in the environmental services these systems provide. Imagine if you or your community were able to retain a yearly income by saving portions of forest from the feller or by planting more trees and enhancing existing forests. This would safeguard the future of the forest and the future of your community as well. In order to effectively incorporate PES into our communities, it will be essential to work together to identify community assets - those which are best conserved and those which are best utilized (and in what ways). No doubt, each community will have different assets from environmental (a stand of old growth) to social (strong community leaders) or economic (a lucrative contract with industry). Through the identification of these assets we can develop plans for moving forward and as communities we can manage our forest resources holistically, ensuring sustainability. Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Centre: http://www.catie.ac.cr Santa Cruz: A Community in Action By Carole Preston S anta Cruz is located in the skirt of Turrialba Volcano National Park in Costa Rica. It has a small population and is dealing with similar problems that every small community deals with: insufficient and low paying jobs, declining population, aging population, and limited and under-funded services within the community. Santa Cruz used to be home to large sugar mills which employed much of the community, though these days are long since gone and only remnants of the mills remain. Currently, Santa Cruz is a very large dairy producer with small family farms dotting the hillside. Many of the citizens also pick coffee and various types of vegetables, bringing children as young as 8 along to help out when there is no school. Many people who live in Santa Cruz work two jobs to make ends meet and produce what they can in kitchen gardens or on their farms. Due to the fact that most of their income and livelihoods come from agricultural resources and the threat of floods and a volcanic ash explosion, the community has decided to mobilize. To prepare and plan for disaster so if it happens they’ll be ready and organized. WINTER EDITION, JANUARY, 2008 14 With the help of the Model Forest Reventazon, they have done community mapping of their assets in order to diversify and reap the benefits from their surrounding forests and natural areas. From this map they have found that there is a need to organize into development groups in the areas of tourism, capacity building, and production. Each of these groups has their own roles and ideas yet all are intertwined and the progress of one will affect the progress of another; such is the way of community. The tourism group would like to build upon the idea of rural tourism by inviting tourists to come to the community and experience Costa Rican culture and natural areas (waterfalls, swimming holes, dairy farms). This involves the producers preparing their farms in a sustainable and ecological manner in order to demonstrate good practice (good for the environment and for business). This would require capacity building and workshops within the community (business courses, language lessons, and food safety for example). In order to raise funds for their projects and directly affect the entire community, they have formed an official association (made up of some of the members of each of the tourism, capacity building and production groups) which will bid for control of a developing tourist centre closer to the National Park. With the money raised from running the centre, the association would give a large portion of its funds to community enhancement projects (rural tourism projects, infrastructure improvements, and capacity building projects), improving their community and opportunities within it. Thus, when we talk about the management and creation of sustainable forests and forest practices, we are not just talking about preserving trees and the diversity that lies within the forest, but we are also talking about preserving communities and cultures which rely on these natural places for livelihood and survival. Community Forestry in Spain: Exploring the Possibilities By Daniel Ruiz I n March 2007 the area of Burgos-Soria became the first ecosystem in Spain to be incorpo- rated into the Model Forest International Network. This new model forest is called Urbion and is under the jurisdiction of the Junta de Castilla y Leon, a regional government that oversees the work of provincial and local governments. Within the regional government the Consejeria Ambiental is responsible for defining and implementing forestry policy in the area. The region has nearly 5 million hectares of forest land. Broadleaf trees constitute 54% of the trees, while conifers make up 38%, the rest is a mixture of both. Of this area two hundred thousand hectares have been incorporated into the Urbion Model Forest. Unlike New Brunswick, where most of the public forest land is managed by the province under the Crown Lands Act, in Castilla y Leon 85% of the forest land is owned by the munici- palities themselves or local governments called Juntas Vecinales. These lands, however, are actually managed by the regional government due to the lack of organizational capacity of the Municipalities and Town Councils. Only 1% of the forest land is owned privately and the rest is owned by the regional and national governments. The main forest products are: wood, resin, grass, mushrooms and fruits. The region hosts around 5,000 forestry operations such as wood extraction, mushroom collection and cattle ranching in grass- lands. There are two types of enterprises directly linked to the forests: production enterprises, and services and physical works enterprises. These ventures provide most of the jobs in the sector. Pro- duction enterprises employ nearly 11,500 people in the different stages of the production process: sawmills, lumber, furniture and plywood factories. The forestry service companies (surveying, man- aging, consulting, etc) developed over the last 20 years due to the demand from the Consejeria for such services. Taking into account the jobs in wood cutting the total amount of people employed in the sector amounts to 16,000. WINTER EDITION, JANUARY, 2008 15 The Forestry Plan of Castilla and Leon states that current wood extraction is far below the potential sustainable cut level so, according to this assessment, there is ample room to increase production, but this view could be challenged by inde- pendent analysts and environmental organizations. The stakeholders can be grouped as owners, government, enterprises and users. The Consejeria de Medio Ambiente is responsible for the management of the regional forest land and the municipal land that has been contracted by the local governments to be managed by the Consejeria. The Consejeria also supervises and regulates the operations going on in the private forest land which are very small. The users group includes cattle ranchers, mushroom collectors, hunters, fishermen, campers, etc. One of the ways the population benefits from the forest are the Contracts for Forest Restoration, which enable the Conse- jeria to engage in ecological restoration activities on municipal land. These operations, however, focus on planting one species only and can encompass areas of 20,000 hectares, thus greatly altering the original composition of the forest. Other benefits flow from traditional distribution mechanisms such as the “suerte de pinos”. This traditional resource ac- cess system allocates a number of trees to each community member every year. Beneficiaries can then decide to sell the timber, use it for their own purposes or leave the trees standing. To be eligible beneficiaries must produce proof that they permanently reside in the area or that they are descendants of former beneficiaries. The “suerte de pinos”, widely prac- ticed in Soria and Burgos (area of the Model Forest), is highly praised due to its positive conservation effects by creating a bond between the population and the forest. As the local dwellers receive payments in kind (wood) or cash, they have a stake in keeping the forest clean and well managed. However, this traditional distribution mechanism has no legal basis and is the source of frequent conflicts between municipalities, forest managing agencies and dweller representation bod- ies since it is not clearly defined who has the decision making power, who the beneficiaries are or what forest lands are subject to this governance practice. The Plan advises to incorporate this customary system into the environmental legis- lation to adapt it to the prevailing circumstances in the forestry sector in order to take advantage of the incentives it pro- vides to the local population to act as stewards of the forest, and the economic benefits accruing to the local economy. But the most important way in which the local population benefits from the forestry sector seems to be job creation. The wood transformation industry (mostly sawmill operations and furniture manufacturing) is well developed and integrated, so the majority of the jobs can be found in this area; wood cutting jobs represent a smaller portion of total employment in the sector. Although, municipalities and local governments (Juntas Vecinales) hold most of the property rights in the region, how- ever they are characterized by very small and aging populations. They lack inventories, record keeping and accounting systems. Their most common decision making mechanism is an open meeting where the town dwellers discuss the issues at hand. The forest land is their only asset and revenue source, so they very rarely make investments to upgrade their for- estry operations. Given the aging population factor it is estimated that 60% of the Juntas Vecinales will have disappeared in 25 years. This in turn would prompt the Municipal governments to take over their land but it has been observed that Municipal govern- ments allocate most of the revenues to the town in which they are located, further intensifying the process of rural depopulation. One of the options being evaluated at the moment is the creation of a new property type which would encompass “the people” of the region. The revenues generated by these lands would then be administered by an entity in charge of distributing them among the towns to which they used to belong. As the permanent population dwindles, the younger generation is turning those towns into summer time retreats, to enjoy nature and practice nature-related sports, giving birth to a new kind of stake holder which is also interested in the sustainable use of the forest but for differ- ent reasons. The Forestry Plan of Castilla and Leon encompasses a 27 year implementation period in which consid- erable investments will be made in training, economic upgrading, capacity building and land survey- ing in order to consolidate the region as a sustainable forest-based economy. There is no way to know if this plan will be successful but at least having a plan to rely on makes people feel more optimistic about their future. WINTER EDITION, JANUARY, 2008 16 Managing Forest Assets for the Benefit of New Brunswickers By Beth McLaughlin, Public Land Coalition T he Public Lands Coalition is comprised of the NB Federation of Private Woodlot Owners (40,000), the NB Federation of Labour, the Conservation Council, the Committee Against the Transfer of Al- locations of Juniper, Falls Brook Centre and many others. The Coalition is requesting a moratorium in two areas: no cutting of wood in an area assigned to a presently closed mill (instead of permitting the transfer of allocation to another company), and a moratorium on the exportation of raw wood to another country. Mark Arsenault, CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of NB Forest Products Association, recently wrote a letter of response to the Public Lands Coalition’s call for a moratorium on the new government policy of permitting “transfer of allocation” which he calls “movement of Crown wood to mills in the province”. Mr. Arsenault speaks for the 5 multinational forestry companies (including Bahama-based Irving) which manage our publicly-owned forests (our ‘oil’). A similar story faced Atlantic fishermen (and continues) - with big factory fishing boats plying our waters. The result? Will we allow this to happen to our Crown Lands, our ‘oil’? Is this new policy good long term management for the benefit of New Brunswickers or for the benefit of a handful of foreign-based companies? The Coalition’s call for a moratorium is based on keeping jobs in small towns and villages, keeping money in those communities to contribute to the economy of that community. The ‘transfer of allocation’ has a corollary: once the transfer is made, the mill must be dismantled. The wood will go to big lumber mills in a couple of communities. The Crown Lands and Forest Act of 1982 provided a balanced management of our ‘oil’ – first, pulp mills had to buy from private woodlot owners for their wood supply. Since 1992, this “primary source of supply” was cut from the Act. Last year, the income of Private Woodlot Owners plunged by 50%, from 98 million to 50 million – money which would be spent in their own communities. Contrast that to Mr. Arsenault’s employers who answer to their out of country share- holders. While the number of jobs in the forestry industry has declined for decades, New Brunswickers have also expressed great distress at the method of management, clearcutting at a rate of 75% +, yearly. This past year, with so many mill closures, (Bathurst, Edmundston, Fredericton, Juniper, Miramichi, Petitcodiac, St. Quentin…) twice as much wood has been cut. How can this be? This bleeding of our assets, our wood, out of communities, out of the country, is for whose profit? Mr. Arsenault asserts that these forestry revenues go to values like health care and education. But our taxes, to the tune of 40 million last year, topped up those profit-making forest companies. This NB stumpage scandal has been recurring annually since 1977 when the forest industry was to finally pay Fair Market Value for wood harvested off Crown forests. In fact, the Prov- ince has foregone collecting some $50 to $80 million annually! See the Auditor General’s annual reports. The Public Lands Coalition is saying: Keep communities intact, manage our assets for the profit of New Brunswickers. WINTER EDITION, JANUARY, 2008 17 Challenges in Atlántida Model Forest By Shannon Clohosey E ach time I hike up in the lush mountains outside of La Ceiba, the city in Northern Honduras where I am currently living, I am amazed by the creations and inventions of nature. Multiple layers of vegetation – from ground cover to the highest trees in the canopy – envelop the land- scape; bromeliads, epiphytes and orchids climb tree trunks, cluster in nooks and knolls, vines curl and twist in wondrous and drooping shapes; and the scurrying of the forest's creatures provides constant background chatter. The remaining forests in those mountains are incredible and aching reminders of the wild jungles that once dominated this area. The mountain forests also hold and filter the various streams and rivers that drain down to the coast and provide the area with fresh water. Follow some of these rivers down the mountains, under the highway and past the built-up and industrialized corridor of the province, and you may come across some sparse remnants of the beautiful and ecologically diverse and complex mangrove forests that follow these rivers as they flow towards the ocean. The communities – both ecological and human – in the Caribbean department of Atlántida face significant chal- lenges. According to a recent study, 80% of the people living in the area of MAMUCA – an organization that encom- passes five of the eight municipalities in Atlántida – live at risk of floods, landslides, and health risks due to inadequate treatment of solid wastes. Fifty eight percent of people live in poverty, and there are high incidences of malnutrition and other health issues. Ecological difficulties are also significant. According to this same study, forest coverage is being lost at an annual rate of 0.2%-0.5%; this contributes to soil erosion, contamination of water sources, a loss of biodiversity and fragmentation of the landscape. Such figures can only begin to hint at the severity and complexity of the many diffi- culties this region is facing. The causes for these challenges are innumerable, labyrinthine, and impossible to outline briefly in words, or to comprehend after a few months working in the region. It seems to me that power, influence and resources are held in the hands of the few. While industrial fruit export companies, such as Standard Fruit, own and control a considerable amount of land along the fertile, flat valley between the mountains and the ocean, land ownership for most campesinos (rural dwellers) is limited and tenuous at best. The highway that runs the length of Atlántida, and many of the side roads as well, are bordered by industrial plantations of pineapple, coconut and African Palm for processing and export. Ranch- ers are buying up increasing amounts of land for cattle ranching, as campesinos are pushed higher up into the steep hills, where they farm small amounts of rice and corn, which are used to feed their families and sell to middlemen for a minute income. Industrial agriculture and cattle ranching strip the land of its fertility, pollute water sources with fertilizers and chemicals, reduce biodiversity through monocropping, and only provide few unskilled, insecure, dangerous and poorly paying jobs to local inhabitants. Many days it is difficult to find hope in the face of such challenges, especially as the status quo seems so entrenched and impossible to influence. Solutions and answers seem elu- sive, nebulous and contested. The alternative, however, is to be defeated in the face of these challenges and then change will never occur. Hopefully, some of the efforts of campesinos, NGOs, government programs and other activities can create pockets of change, which will then spread and fuel larger change. When I think of my mountain hikes through the forests of Honduras, I have to believe that it is possible. The Macphail Woods: An Example From Atlantic Canada Located in Orwell, Prince Edward Island Canada, the Macphail Woods Ecological Forestry Project combines protection of the natural area along the streams with wildlife enhancement, forest steward- ship, watershed protection, environmental education and ecological research. The sale of native trees and shrubs from our nursery helps fund many programs, including a children's program, school tours and talks, guided walks, breeding bird survey and plantings at schools, on community land, for forest restoration, and within riparian zones. Visit: http://www.macphailwoods.org WINTER EDITION, JANUARY, 2008 18 The Politics of Possibility Opens Many Doors in N.B. By Tim Coates I n 2008, New Brunswick needs the politics of possibility. There's no more important thing that could happen. When we think of politics we usually think about things that happen inside the legislature. At its best, this is where our elected representatives get down to the business of finding solutions to our prov- ince's most pressing challenges. These challenges are no secret; New Brunswick is at or close to the bottom among Canadian prov- inces on many indices including income, education and wellness. Add in the compounding impacts of globalization, and it seems our politicians and civil servants tasked with solving these challenges have an impossible job. Of course, it's not impossible. But first we have to recognize that traditional government policy levers no longer have the influence they once did. Therefore, turning the corner on our challenge means changing the way we do politics, particularly in how we relate to each other. The politics of possibility moves government from a perceived leader or manager over provincial affairs to an enabler and partner. It must now lead from behind by engaging citizens, communities, the private sector and other stake- holders to create a better future. Let's imagine what this might look in one of the province's most beleaguered areas, for- estry. The recent string of mill closures has been devastating for communities across the province. It's symbolic of how globalization is affecting New Brunswick in unsettling ways. The traditional government response to a mill closure is to find ways to keep it open. According to economic development consultant and economic columnist David Campbell, millions of dollars in subsides, tax credits and cheap power; have been spent to help keep them competitive. We need and want government to work with these firms to increase their competitive position. But this hasn't stopped mills from closing. And just postponing bad news for a couple years is untenable. We need the politics of possibility to find alterna- tives. One week ago, I attended a meeting of Falls Brook Centre of the Community Asset Mapping project. This group includes leaders from the public, private and nonprofit sectors in a region spanning Perth-Andover to Nackawic, about 20 communities in all. Over the next three months, community leaders from the public, private and nonprofit sectors in the region will create an inventory of the strengths on which it can build a diversified and sustainable economy. Assets include physical things such as schools, businesses, personnel and trees and more intangible, but no less important things, such as experiences, skills and culture. The initiative will engage about 20 community organizations, including academics, business agencies, woodlot owners, all levels of government, non-profit groups and First Nations, as well as 50 innovative entrepreneurs seeking diverse business opportunities. When it's done at the end of March, participants will have created a network of communities with shared knowledge of their assets and a consensus around a plan of action. A similar community-based initiative is underway in the Miramichi, following the closure and downsizing of mills there. Leaders had experienced enough forestry-related downturns to know that a lasting solution required transfor- mational change. Similar to the Upper Saint John River Valley initiative, the Miramichi Action Committee was formed to help the community take ownership of their future. These initiatives represent an important opportunity for government to practice the politics of possibility. They can empower communities and stakeholders by supporting their planning, and they can strategically partner with organi- zations based on action items that emerge from the planning process. These are just two examples of government and the politics of possibility. It's an approach that uses communities' strengths and helps foster a culture of risk-taking and inno- vation. It will help break down the cynicism that surrounds our politics. Moreover, with government support, communi- ties will be better prepared to capture the opportunities provided by globalization instead of continually reacting to them. We enter 2008 with a lot of potential for this approach. Premier Shawn Graham and his current government have recognized the need to work with communities, non-profit and private sector organizations to reach self-sufficiency by 2026. The Conservative opposition has plenty of government experience and has promised to be focused on the future. Recognizing that our greatest potential lies in a deeper engagement between government and communities, we could look back at 2008 as the start of something very special. Fredericton resident Tim Coates is Executive Director of 21inc. http://www.21inc.ca/ WINTER EDITION, JANUARY, 2008 19 Community Planning Workshops Community Asset Mapping What? Where? When? Community Planning Workshop – Nackawic February 20th Round Table Community Planning Workshop – Hartland March 5th Asset Mapping Community Planning Workshop – Perth-Andover March 12th Asset Mapping Wrap-up session – Where do we go Falls Brook Centre April 4th from here? Forest Fair Falls Brook Centre PM of April 4th and all day April 5th Registration, information and participatory survey in Useful Resources: FOREST FAIR Community Business Development Corporation (CBDC) http://www.cbdc.ca/ Do you know anybody who makes a value added forest product? Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) http://www.acoa.ca/ We would like to invite them to The Community Development Technical Assistance Pro- gram (CEDTAP) exhibit at our Forest Fair http://www.carleton.ca/cedtap/ For information INFOR: Education & Information in NB Contact Sophie-Michele Cyr http://www.infor.ca/ Tel.: 506-375-4310 New Brunswick Environmental Network (NBEN) or RENB E-mail: email@example.com http://www.nben.ca/ New Brunswick Community Land Trust http://www.nbclt.org/ “Insanity is doing the same thing the same Crown Lands in Public Hands: Crown Lands Network way and expecting different results.” http://www.forestsfornb.org/ Murphy’s Law Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation (CRRF) http://www.crrf.ca/ The Community Tool Box http://ctb.ku.edu/tools/en 4-H New Brunswick/4-H Nouveau-Brunswick http:// Would you like to see French ar- www.nb4h.com/ ticles in The County Bridge? Connect NB Branché http://www.cnbb.org/ Please contact Alison Shurvell at : Tel.: 506-375-4310 With support from: Canadian International Development Agency E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Rural Secretariat Fundy Model Forest NANY—Nackawic WINTER EDITION, JANUARY, 2008 20