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Social contracts and community forestry: how can we design policies and tenure arrangements to generate local benefits in the forestry sector?

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I examine the forest tenure system in British Columbia and evaluate recent attempts to create community-based forest tenures in a broader context of industrial forestry. I focus on whether community forests provide more local benefits compared to various other industrial tenure arrangements, and assess how indicators of local benefits have been affected by major changes in policy instituted in the 2003 Forest Revitalization Plan. Results demonstrate that at a large regional scale, the policy changes were not a large perturbation to indicators of local benefits. Additionally, although community forests do not necessarily meet all expectations in every community, taken as a group, they performed equal to or better than other types of tenures as measured by indicators of local benefits. However, large variation among individual community forests is evident, highlighting the disparate strategies used by communities to promote local benefits and the influence of market forces in the forestry sector.
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