FRST 270:  Community Forests and Community Forestry
Faculty of Forestry, UBC

Term 1 – 2014-2015

3 credit hours, MWF 1400-1500 hours
Room 214, MacLeod, 2356 Main Mall

Download PDF course syllabus

Dr Janette Bulkan
Room 2021 – 2424 Main Mall, Forest Sciences Centre

Phone: 604-822-8089
Office hours: Mondays and Wednesdays: 1500-1700 hours

TA: Aneeta Gauchan
Room 2619– 2424 Main Mall, Forest Sciences Centre
Office hours: Tuesdays and Fridays: 1400-1600 hours

Course Description

An introduction to the history and evolution of community forestry globally. Students will analyze forms of tenure, governance and power structures in a range of case studies, and the implications of these processes for the relative success or failure of specific examples of community forestry. Students will consider examples of co-management with different actors for a range of outcomes. Students will also explore the linkages between community forestry and national and international networks. We will review the current environmental politics of land use, examining issues such as common pool resources, customary law, and indigenous environmental knowledge in relation to traditional natural resource management and community forestry.

Students will gain understanding and appreciation of the local-to-international, and vice-versa, driving forces for resource management, and ecological change in community forestry. We will consider how evolution in national and international environmental politics shapes the ways in which indigenous and forest-dependent people(s) present themselves to the dominant cultures, and how such re-envisioning in turn contributes to political evolution.

The aim is to stimulate creative thinking about the construction and uses of community forestry to local communities and their forests, and to the range of governmental and non-governmental institutions with which they interact. This course will enable students to evaluate the constraints faced by indigenous and forest-dependent communities, and the challenges and opportunities opened for them by (re)engagement in community forestry.


No formal pre-requisites for taking this course.

Learning Objectives

  1. Students will be able to describe and analyze examples of community forestry arrangements from around the world, as well as the historical context of their emergence.
  1. Students will be able to evaluate distinct tenure/property arrangements, and levels of community participation and types of powers devolved to local forest users in community forestry.
  1. Students will be able to identify challenges and opportunities faced by communities in managing local forests and maintaining and growing small forest-related enterprises, and strategies to overcome the challenges.
  1. Students will understand how to apply their knowledge of institutions (rules and regulations) to a variety of case studies. The required analytical paper will allow the student to grapple in more depth with a self-chosen topic and to integrate the taught skills by explaining how the student would deal with the problem(s) in the topic.

Course format:

The course will use a combination of interactive lectures, and blended learning through structured blog postings on UBC Connect.


Bullock, R.C.L. and K.S. Hanna (2012) Community Forestry: local values, conflict and forest governance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press [available online through the ‘Library’ tab on the course’s Connect site.].

Menzies, N. K. (2007) Our Forest, Your Ecosystem, Their Timber: Communities, Conservation, and the State in Community-based Forest Management. New York: Columbia University Press.

All other readings can be accessed through the ‘Library’ tab on the course’s Connect site.

Many of the examples of community forestry in the following book, available as an e-book, can be further explored in your term paper:

Borrini-Feyerabend, G., Pimbert, M. P., Farvar, M. T., Kothari, A. and Y. Renard (2004) Sharing power: learning-by-doing in co-management of natural resources throughout the world. London: Earthscan.

Grading and Evaluation

Course evaluation will be based on five primary components:

  1. A written question or comment on Connect related to the week’s lectures or readings on each of the nine dates specified in the syllabus. Each post submitted by deadline will be assigned half a point. Participation in each of the discussion sessions on the days following the posts will be assigned half a point. One additional point will be awarded to all those who achieve at least 75 per cent in both blog postings and class participation.
  1. A one-page Commentary, based on the assigned readings on a date of your choice. In the commentary, you will summarize some key points of the readings. You can also offer comments, raise questions, suggest further lines of enquiry, etc., with the aim of stimulating class discussion. Commentaries must be posted to UBC Connect 24 hours in advance of the class session.  All students will be encouraged to participate in the discussions, online and in class.
  1. Mid-term examination, with short-essay questions
  1. An analytical paper (approximately 10 pages double spaced) applying concepts learned in class to evaluate a specific to evaluate a community forestry case study or the practice of community forestry in a named country. The paper will be written in three stages. Preliminary ideas should be discussed with the instructor during office hours by the end of the fourth week of the term. The structure of the paper and an annotated literature review will be submitted by 1 November. The final paper is due on 15 November. Guidelines on format will be distributed
  1. Final examination, with short-essay questions.

Grade breakdown

10%     Class participation – blog postings (5%), class participation (5%)
5%       Written commentary and class presentation
20%     Mid-term examination
5%       Draft Abstract and structure for term paper
5%       Annotated literature review for term paper
5%       Oral presentation on term paper
25%     Term paper
25%     Final examination

Week by week – Summary
Week 1 – Introduction to community forestry
Week 2 – Building blocks for research on community forestry
Week 3 – ­Introduction to common property
Week 4 – Networks, intermediary and representative organizations
Week 5 – The ejidos of Mexico
Week 6 – Community forestry in Western Europe
Week 7 – Power, equity and rights
Week 8 – Joint Forest Management in India
Week 9 – Community forestry in Canada
Week 10 – Governance issues in community forestry
Week 11–Rhetoric and reality
Week 12–Community forestry and forest certification
Week 13– Student presentations and Wrap-up