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The state of the world’s forests affect us all. Although more people live in cities than ever before, we all depend upon forests for shared climate, water and food. The Indigenous and local peoples living and working in forests are key to protecting them from degradation and deforestation, and safeguarding biodiversity and ecosystem services. Faced with limited opportunities in their home towns and villages, and the lure of of work and education possibilities elsewhere, the global trend has been one of young people leaving their forest communities, often to cities. This places sustainable forests and forest cultures at risk.

How might this trend be reversed? What could happen if some of the world’s coolest jobs involved working with forests? How can youth be involved in creative solutions to drive positive forest futures?

 

Finding solutions that work for people and forests requires understanding the views, values, and hopes of those living in such places. The Future of Forest Work and Communities (FoFW) initiative and community of practice seeks to understand forests and forest communities through the eyes of young people, and invite their ideas for creating forest-based economies that can meet their aspirations for meaningful work – and a good life.

 

FoFW was established to bring researchers and practitioners from around the world together with grassroots organisations and community partners to co-create novel strategies in support of the next generation of local forest workers, leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs.


Our core team from Pilot Projects Design Collective, University of Saskatchewan, and IFRI/FLARE co-created a multi-day workshop methodology to engage young people in conversations about their lives, their ideas, and their visions for the future.

 

Encapsulating both the imaginary and the actual, these workshops provide a barometer of youth culture in forest communities and focus on:

  • What young people think about

  • What they would like to be/do 

  • Where that might take them

  • The role forests can and do play in this.

 

Through facilitated conversations and activities, FoFW learns about the role of forests and place in the life stories of young people, and provides a platform for participants to co-design conceptual ‘pilot projects’ for their communities. These are practical ideas for meaningful forest-related work that respond to the interests, needs and values of both workshop participants and their communities, while accounting for regional to global realities and opportunities. 

Poster describing the Future of Forest Work presented at IUFRO 2024

Click the image to view the poster presented at IUFRO 2024 in Stockholm. Sweden

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Meet the Youth!

Check out our inspiring communities to learn about local visions on the future of forest work.

Lwanunda

Lwanunda

Masaka, Uganda

Madre de Dios

Madre de Dios

Peru

Panauti

Panauti

Kavrepalanchowk, Nepal

Petcacab

Petcacab

Quintana Roo, Mexico

Interested in leading or sponsoring a workshop?

Do you know of a community that would benefit from a Youth Visioning Workshop?
Connect with us to discuss how the Future of Forest Work could support the future of your community, the communities you work with, or your organisation's mission.

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