SFI Is Helping Foster Innovation in Forestry

The Forest-Community Innovation Network
Why this project matters
Canada’s forest industry and the communities that depend on it must address economic transition, social pressures and environmental change to remain viable. In response, different forest groups are engaging in public debate, grassroots organizing, technological and product innovation, and policy reform processes. These efforts are focused on rethinking relationships among communities, governments, Indigenous peoples, industries and Canada’s forests. Although implementing creative and new collaborative approaches is proving to be a complex task, new arrangements involving Indigenous and community groups, companies and governments already offer a growing body of experience to draw upon.
Led by the Centre for Forest Interdisciplinary Research at the University of Winnipeg, the Forest-Community Innovation Network is an active collaborative knowledge forum to support ongoing networking and practical research work critical to engaging diverse forest groups in processes of innovation. The Innovation Network is dedicated to implementing a vision for an integrated knowledge network dedicated to community resilience, cross-cultural collaboration, adaptation to environmental change, and innovation.
Why is SFI involved?
One of SFI’s priorities is to bring diverse partners together to advance responsible forestry through training and education. SFI and the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business have had a long-standing partnership focused on enhancing collaborative business relationships and progressive aboriginal relations.
The Forest-Community Innovation Network will help SFI further engage with existing partners, such as the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, and build new partnerships, and will assist SFI in leveraging its cross-Canada scale at the community level. In addition, the Forest-Community Innovation Network recognizes that conventional forestry training is evolving and the network of partners needed to address complex forest issues is expanding and becoming more diverse.
More importantly perhaps, is the co-learning now taking place as a result of the collaborative engagements involving Indigenous groups, communities, companies and government, for example. Ultimately, the Forest-Community Innovation Network will create further opportunities to collaboratively investigate and develop training and education modules specifically targeted to sustainable forest management issues. Training resource professionals is a key focus for SFI. In 2015, more than 10,000 resource and harvesting professionals participated in training run by SFI Implementation Committees.
How the project builds SFI community engagement
The Forest-Community Innovation Network will give SFI Program Participants an avenue to support and promote Indigenous values through close partnerships with Indigenous organizations and representatives. The partnership will benefit from the guidance of Indigenous and non-Indigenous partners who are committed to working together and who have experience in cross-cultural collaborative forestry settings. This initiative will also enable Indigenous partners and other communities to enhance community and forest sustainability.
The Forest-Community Innovation Network is also designed to serve underserved communities by linking forest users of many stripes to knowledge and resources for improving sustainable management of forests. Target users are typically Indigenous and non-Indigenous community groups that do not have ready access to forest management extension services and expertise. The network will include opportunities to promote awareness of the SFI Program and forest management certification.
This partnership includes representatives from Indigenous groups and academia. These partners include:
  • Project lead: Centre for Forest Interdisciplinary Research, University of Winnipeg
  • Sustainable Forestry Initiative
  • Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business
Related information
About Centre for Forest Interdisciplinary Research, University of Winnipeg
The Centre for Forest Interdisciplinary Research (C-FIR) at The University of Winnipeg is dedicated to interdisciplinary research, education, and training in forest science, policy and management. Established in 1998, C-FIR focuses on understanding the ecological, economic, and socio-cultural conditions that shape forests and the natural resources provided by forest systems in Manitoba and around the world. C-FIR researchers carry out leading edge natural and social science research to advance understanding of past, present and future changes and impacts, as well as the links between forest ecosystems and society, in order to promote more sustainable use of forest environments.