Case Studies from around the World


These case studies present testimonials from Model Forest stakeholders around the world highlighting the International Model Forest Network’s ongoing contribution to the sustainable management and use of natural resources.

The Model Forest approach improves landscape management by allowing people to define what sustainable development looks like for them and for their area. Through Model Forests, the people profiled here are making a difference.

Corporate Social Responsibility, Kyoto-Style: An Approach to Collaborative Forest Management

Ranchers co-existing with wild plains bison in Canada

Renewable energy improves livelihoods in Chile

Improving women’s economic leadership in Cameroon

Mangrove restoration in the Philippines

Indigenous communities & landowners cooperate in Bolivia

Aboriginal youth learn from their Elders in Canada and Sweden

Forest certification for small landowners in Canada

Landowners in Costa Rica creating a plan for a protected area

Planting trees to strengthen resilience of Rwandan communities

Ecotourism cuts illegal logging in the Philippines

Reindeer herders, GIS and land-use planning in Sweden

Mainstreaming forest landscape restoration and biodiversity conservation

Landscape Approach in Action: Impact Notes


This occasional series of Impact Notes offers a graphical summary of recent news and resources from the IMFN, implementing landscape-level, participatory approaches to the sustainable management of natural resources.

Impact Note 10 • Impact Note 9 • Impact Note 8 • Impact Note 7 • Impact Note 6

Impact Note 5 • Impact Note 4 • Impact Note 3 • Impact Note 2 • Impact Note 1

Model Forest Toolkit

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The Model Forest Toolkit is a series of documents produced by the IMFNS to provide guidance to new and existing Model Forests.

The Model Forest Development Guide

Guide to Model Forest Governance

Framework for Model Forest Strategic Plan Development

Guide to Model Forest Annual Work Planning

Principles and Attributes of Model Forests


 Why use the toolkit?

  • It provides detailed but flexible guidance on key Model Forest planning, organizational and reporting issues
  • It is a source of examples being applied across the IMFN
  • It will help save you time, energy and resources

Tools and Guides

CMFN Users Guide e 2 0
Experiences from the Canadian Model Forest Network. The guide describes each Model Forest's approach to initiating a program on LLI, selecting indicators, gathering data, and using and reporting on indicators.

Pathways to Climate Change Resilience: A guidebook for Canadian forest-based communities

Building on the strengths of your community: A guide in 8 simple steps

Biomass Heating & Electricity Production: A Guide for Rural Communities in Canada

IMFN Charter

Annual Reports

Annual report cover EN
The stories which emerged in 2013 highlight the effectiveness of the Model Forest process at fostering innovative thinking and creating change.

Previous annual reports

2012 IMFN Annual Report: Celebrating 20 years of innovation and impact

2011 IMFN Annual Report: The IMFN on the world stage

2010 IMFN Annual Report


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ETFRN 56, Nov 2014
The Model Forest concept links high-level policy objectives of sustainable landscape management to local-level processes and tools that are anchored in inclusive, locally based governance mechanisms. This creates a framework for landscape management that is comprehensive in its approach, scalable in its operation and effective in the breadth and depth of the activities undertaken.

From Rio to Rwanda: Impacts of the IMFN over the past 20 years

The Forestry Chronicle 2012, 88(03): 245-253.

B Bonnell, R de Camino, C Diaw, M Johnston, P Majewski, I Montejo, M Segur, J Svensson

2012 represents the 20th anniversary of the Model Forest concept and the International Model Forest Network (IMFN). Since it was announced at UNCED in 1992, the network has grown to almost 60 Model Forests in 30 countries covering over 100 million hectares. Model Forests have been involved in a wide range of activities in support of sustainable natural resource management. In this paper, we will provide an overview of the context within which the Model Forest concept emerged in the early 1990s, describe the Model Forest approach and the IMFN, highlight the evolution of the regional Model Forest networks, and provide a few examples of the impacts of the IMFN and Model Forests over the past 20 years.

Participatory GIS to mitigate conflicts between reindeer husbandry and forestry in Vilhelmina Model Forest, Sweden

The Forestry Chronicle 2012, 88(03): 254-260.

P Sandström, C Sandström, J Svensson, L Jougda, K Baer

To improve communication between reindeer herders and other land users, we developed and implemented a system to produce reindeer husbandry plans together with Sami reindeer herding communities. A central component of our communications strategy was the introduction and use of a participatory GIS (pGIS). We evaluated the potential and limitations of pGIS as a tool for collaborative learning. We concluded that by merging traditional and scientific knowledge in a pGIS, the process of spatial communication has contributed to a more inclusive planning process, and to improved knowledge sharing. Furthermore, the process has contributed to a more efficient long-term perspective where land use planning focuses on key areas but with solutions applied to the landscape. The Model Forest offered an appropriate platform to facilitate the process.

Challenges in the Implementation of Conservation Policies in the Reventazón Model Forest, Costa Rica

The Forestry Chronicle 2012, 88(03): 261-265.

JAC Moya, L Quiros, M Jimenez

We present an analysis of the implementation of the main conservation policies in the Reventazón Model Forest in Costa Rica, and its contribution to the sustainability of environmental services. The existing environmental legislation has helped to curtail environmental degradation and loss of forest cover. The Reventazón Model Forest is an initiative created as a means of implementing Costa Rica's commitment to the application of the ecosystem approach, and has served as a framework for putting into practice sustainable development policies with broad participation by communities in Cartago Province. The Payment for Environmental Services (PES) program has played a role in forest conservation and reforestation in 9% of the Model Forest. The challenge now is to increase the impact of this program in the Reventazón Model Forest, above all in the biological corridors, and we analyze some of the causes that could be limiting the PES program.

Community-linked conservation using Devakad (sacred groves) in the Kodagu Model Forest, India

The Forestry Chronicle 2012, 88(03): 266-273.

CG Kushalappa, S Raghavendra

Kodagu District in Karnataka State, South India, part of the Western Ghats region, described as one of the hottest hot spots of biodiversity in the world. This district can also be called a hot spot of sacred forest tradition due to the density and diversity of deities and communities that are part of an informal conservation concept based on Devakad, or sacred groves. This paper discusses the current status, threats and conservation initiatives undertaken by different stakeholders to revive this unique conservation concept and highlights the role of the Kodagu Model Forest as a key facilitator in the conservation effort.

Trends in research and collaboration in the Canadian Model Forest Network, 1993-2010

The Forestry Chronicle 2012, 88(03): 274-282.

B Bonnell

A fundamental principle of the Model Forest concept focuses on the generation and sharing of knowledge through research, innovation and collaboration. Over 380 papers, published in journals, have been identified that are based on research and other activities supported by a Model Forest in Canada. Bibliometrics is a research method used to measure scientific output, level of influence of a researcher or organization, changes in research focus and levels of collaboration between researchers and organizations. This study presents an analysis of research trends and collaborative research activity within the Canadian Model Forest Network from 1993–2010 based on journal articles produced during that time period. The analysis shows publication of research varies among Model Forests and individual projects. The most significant result is a clear trend towards increased national-level collaboration in research activities with the Canadian Forest Service and various universities acting as key hubs in the publication of the results of Model Forest-supported research.

Social dynamics and women’s strategies in the Campo-Ma’an Model Forest, Cameroon (available in French only)

The Forestry Chronicle 2012, 88(03): 283-290.

AM Tiani, JG Tchoko, H Eboto, JC Njomkap, T Bouki, A Ndo, MC Diaw

Located in the southwestern corner of Cameroon, Campo-Ma’an Model Forest is part of the vast Congo Basin forest.  Previously, a variety of interventions in the area have had different effects, some of them negative, on the lives of the local residents including women who are the main providers of household income in rural areas. With the inauguration of the Campo-Ma’an Model Forest in 2005—a platform based on a voluntary partnership of all public, private and community actors—was established. This led to collaboration capable of addressing sustainable development and conservation issues within this region. The goal of this paper is to show that, in this ever-changing context, the Model Forest concept is bringing about changes in the vision, structuring and strategies of the different social groups, particularly amongst women.

Sustainable landscape management in the Vilhelmina Model Forest, Sweden

The Forestry Chronicle 2012, 88(03): 291-297.

J Svensson, P Sandström, C Sandström, L Jougda, K Baer

The aim of this paper is to outline current foundations for sustainable landscape management in the Vilhelmina Model Forest, northwest Sweden. A case study revealed that the remaining patches of undisturbed or less disturbed boreal forest ecosystems comprise multiple values and, thus, constitute the basis for landscape planning. By identifying these patches, it is also possible to construct a spatial planning infrastructure for implementing sustainable management and land use. A more comprehensive toolbox needs to be developed, however, including monitoring and inventory schemes for relevant biophysical and socio-economic data, better temporal resolution for cause and effect analyses, and functioning scale-flexible planning and governance instruments.

Stakeholder identification and analysis for adaptive governance in the Kovdozersky Model Forest, Russian Federation

The Forestry Chronicle 2012, 88(03): 298-305.

M Elbakidze, P Angelstam, R Axelsson

The Model Forest is a concept developed to facilitate implementation of sustainable forest management (SFM). The key functions of a Model Forest are to develop innovations and test new ideas related to SFM, driven by the needs, interests and challenges of Model Forest stakeholders and local communities. Russia is an important global actor when it comes to the boreal forest biome and forestry, but also has several challenges related to development of adaptive governance and the introduction of SFM. The purpose of this study is to identify landscape stakeholders─their values, needs and interests─in order to develop and adapt the governance of forest landscapes in the Kovdozersky Model Forest. The location of the Kovdozersky Model Forest in the Barents region presents opportunities for learning between Nordic countries and Russia.

IMFN Publications

IMFN Recipe Book e.thumbnail
Featuring Non-Timber Forest Products from Model Forests around the World!
The IMFN present you with a variety of interesting recipes that come from all corners of the globe. Each recipe includes at least one non-timber forest product (NTFP) that is found in the associated Model Forest.

More publications

The International Model Forest Network. A Global Approach to Ecosystem Sustainability

Partnerships to Success in Sustainable Forest Management

Shared solutions to shared challenges: Posters from the 2008 IMFN Global Forum

Model Forest Profiles 2005

IMFN Brochure 2010

African Model Forest Network Brochure 2010

Conference Proceedings

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The IMFN held its 2011 Global Forum on March 24-27, in Burgos, Spain. The triennial meeting gathered 225 participants from 32 countries, including Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas.
A key innovation of the 2011 Global Forum was the development and sponsorship by the IMFN and its host partners in Spain of an International Symposium on Ecosystem and Landscape-level Approaches to Sustainability. The Symposium preceded the IMFN Global Forum and was attended by approximately 400 participants. It was co-organized with FAO, CBD Secretariat, CIFOR, and IUCN. It offered an exceptional opportunity for Model Forest delegates to share their experiences and learn from like-minded organizations and approaches.

In addition, through these joint events the IMFN was able to substantially increase its visibility and profile with external partners and audiences, particularly in Europe.

Global Forum 2008, Hinton, Canada

Global Forum 2005, Turrialba, Costa Rica

International Model Forest Forum 1999: Report on the International Model Forest Network Forum Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Oregon Consultation (1998)

Russian Consultation: Perspectives on the Development of a National Network of Model Forests in the Russian Federation (1998)

The International Workshop On China's Model Forest Network Program (1999)

Tokyo Consultation: International Workshop on Model Forests for Field-Level Application of Sustainable Forest Management (1998)

Yale Presentation (1998)

Chile-Argentina Consultation (1998)