Monday, April 16, 2012

Building Agroforestry Capacity in Northern BC

Similar to many temperate areas across the globe, a vacuum exists in northern British Columbia with respect to the implementation and evolution of agroforestry as a viable element of integrated resource management. Diverse groups can benefit from agroforestry in this area including small forest and range tenure holders (woodlot licensees, community forests and ranchers) and private land owners (including farmers) as agroforestry provides an opportunity to diversify their business operations. In 2009, Resources North Association (RNA) held and agroforestry workshop which revealed a desire for:
  • "Northern” content when learning about agroforestry;
  • Maps indicating where certain cultivated plants grow the best;
  • More education opportunities;
  • Information about regulations regarding land management and processing; and,
  • Information about operational feasibility.
Resources North Association (RNA), with funding from the BC Agroforestry Industry Development Initiative, is working to address many of these issues and improve regional agroforestry awareness, education, and networking in northern BC.

Initially this project is focusing on bringing together a small groups of partners to engage in the community of practice and initiate extension, education and networking activities. Their experience and networks will add other key participants in various regions across the north, focusing on the area from Smithers to Valemont and Quesnel to Fort St. John. This core group will develop and deliver the remainder of the networking and education activities across the north. RNA will host 3-5 activities or events focused on improving agroforestry awareness, education and extension, and expanding and strengthening agroforestry partnerships.The project team will develop activities that will strive for the following project objectives:
  1. Awareness: Help agricultural and forestry practitioners in northern BC alike to build their awareness about agroforestry, including the science, practice and business opportunities.
  2. Regional networking: Identify currently known and previously unknown resources, facilities and practitioners of agroforestry. Develop contact lists and opportunities for networking through education and awareness activities. This might occur across the identified target region or the sub-regions within it.
  3. Knowledge and skills development: Hold workshops and field tours that provide current and potential practitioners with the skills and knowledge to implement agroforestry practices.
  4. Publications: publish hardcopy and online proceedings and summaries from workshops and networking activities.
RNA was established in 2007 and operates under the partnership of northern BC communities, First Nations, industry, small business, academia, and provincial government. RNA’s mandate is to promote healthy communities, economies and environment by enabling collaborative approaches to developing sustainable resource management solutions. Their project-based work is focused on northern BC and its resource-dependent communities. RNA has a membership of 60 partner organizations. For more information on RNA, please visit their website at


Funding for this work has been provided through the BC Agroforestry Industry Development Initiative (AGF1103)