Lyman on using community forests to create wealth
Community forests are presented as a wealth creation strategy for rural communities. The Wealth Creation Framework offers a template for describing forms of capital associated with community forests and discussing their potential as a wealth creation strategy. The paper profiles six projects across northern New England and describes how investments by rural communities in local ownership and management of forestland build capital. While the concept of community ownership of forestland is not a new idea in northern New England, the community forest projects discussed here share characteristics that contribute to building multiple forms of wealth. Many of the projects are relatively young, however, and the opportunity to measure changes in wealth will continue over time. Without longitudinal studies of community forests to demonstrate how community forests build wealth, the paper presents some preliminary information on capital that has been preserved or created and suggests opportunities for further research on and analysis of the role and potential of community forests as a wealth creation strategy.