Community Engagement & Development

Alternative Economic Opportunities

Non-Timber Forest Products

MBMF Information KioskThe primary economic base for many forest-based, rural communities is forestry and mining. In recent years, such communities have experienced significant loss of employment due to the downturn in both sectors.. One of the main objectives of the Forest Communities Program is to develop new forest-based economic opportunities. The development of both value-added timber and non-timber forest product (NTFP) businesses have been identified by the Manitoba Model Forest (MBMF) as areas of alternative economic opportunities to pursue for the region.

In pursuing alternative economic opportunities, the MBMF has assisted local people in the development of non-timber forest products businesses.  MushroomsWorkshops highlighting the key areas of NTFPs have been conducted in local communities. These workshops were presented with the assistance of the Canadian Non-Timber Forest Products Network and the Centre for Non-Timber Resources, based out of Royal Roads University in Victoria, British Columbia.

In order to train local entrepreneurs in NTFPs, the MBMF and Royal Roads University have developed the Non-timber Forest Products Certificate course offered through the Winnipeg River Learning Centre. The certificate course was utilized as a Canada-wide NTFP training curriculum, the development of which, the MBMF helped to fund. The intensive 2 week training course included an introduction to NTFPs, safety, regulations and ethics in the bush, Forest Resourcesharvesting equipment, sustainable harvesting practices, determining opportunities in region, business development, and marketing both locally and internationally. It is anticipated that this will become an on-going training course.

The MBMF will continue work in developing NTFP feasibility studies, conducting research on the distribution of certain NTFPs of interest, understanding the sustainable harvest levels of certain NTFPs, integrating NTFP harvesting with other forest-dependent industries and exploring NTFP marketing partnerships. We will also explore opportunities with local communities in areas of tourism and eco-tourism, and guiding and outfitting.