Community Forest Facilitators Partnership Project
Start Date: 1999
The Community Forestry Facilitators (CFF) Project came into being to support an increasing interest throughout Highland communities in active involvement in their local forests. It was recognised that with the wide range of aims and interests amongst people and groups in local communities close to forests in the Highlands, the success of any new measures would be heavily dependent on having people with the right ability and skills to function as full-time facilitators with local people. So the project was set up to put in place two full-time dedicated Community Forestry Facilitators (CCFs). One CFF was based in Skye covering the Fort Augustus Forest District (Skye & Lochalsh, Inverness and Ross & Cromarty), and the other covering the Dornoch Forest District (Sutherland and Caithness Areas and parts of Easter Ross).
The two year pilot project started in 1999 with part funding from the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund under the Highland and Islands Objective 1 Partnership Programme and is a partnership project between Forest Enterprise (FE), Highlands and Islands Enterprise Community Land Unit (CLU), Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Highland Birchwoods (HB). The pilot project was managed by Highland Birchwoods.
The pilot project, through the 2 CFFS, was set up to involve communities in forest management projects through promotion, demonstration and development of partnership arrangements between land owner and community. According to the original funding application, the aims and objectives of the pilot project included:
- Involving communities in forest management projects which provide socio-economic and environmental benefits to the participating community
- Developing new and existing community woodland projects, providing a range of case studies, including those on Forest Enterprise owned land, private land and community owned land and involving management contracts
- Evaluating community training and skills improvement needs in relation to forest management / ownership / exploitation
- Providing support and coaching to agency staff in the community development process
- Proactively engaging communities and encourage their involvement
- Improving the management of local forests by involving communities in the management of forests which affect them
- Supporting the reactivation of a forest culture in rural communities
- Supporting the establishment and development of new enterprises based on community forest outputs e.g. eco-tourism or craft products.
- Disseminating the lessons learned from the trials (which were designed to explore the merits of different approaches to involving local communities) beyond the trial localities and to wider audiences.
A review of the project is available on request.