Mission, Vision & Beliefs
The Northern Forest Center advocates for the Northern Forest region and helps its communities benefit from forest-based economic and conservation initiatives.
Vision & Beliefs
Since 1997, The Center has worked to build a shared vision for the region based on three essential ingredients: thriving communities, healthy forests and innovative and resilient local economies that can support both. To advance its mission, The Center embraces and promotes the following beliefs:
- A robust regional economy is central to the long-term health of the Northern Forest region’s communities and forested ecosystems.
- Management and use of the region’s forests should deliver direct benefits to people in Northern Forest communities.
- Sound forest stewardship and conservation of natural resources lie at the heart of effective local, state and regional development efforts.
- Leveraging the energy of networks and collaborations is the best way for the Center to help unlock the region’s full intellectual, financial and creative capacity.
- Integrated thinking about economic, community and environmental issues is fundamental to reducing conflicts, and uncovering new opportunities for the Northern Forest.
- Leadership and investment in potentially transformational ideas are essential to the region’s ability to compete and succeed at the national and global scales.
A key strategy for realizing this vision is to create a new generation of conservation tools that can provide economic incentives for long-term forest stewardship. The Center is leading a team of organizations, each expert in its field, through the Northern Forest Investment Zone initiative to bring these new tools—such as income for maintaining forests that keep carbon out of the atmosphere (also known as carbon sequestration)—to the region. The Center believes these tools can have a profound positive impact on Northern Forest communities.
Picturing the Future
Picture an area like the Androscoggin Valley–Mahoosuc Range in northern New Hampshire and Maine, and imagine how local communities would benefit if schools there heated with the byproducts of local wood harvesting rather than oil, and invested their savings in teachers and facilities. Imagine a downtown heating district that generates inexpensive heat and electricity, which attract new businesses. Add to this scene a new Community Forest that earns income for the town by selling timber, carbon credits and biomass, while also providing easy access for hiking, biking, fishing and snowmobiling for residents and visitors. Tourists would spend longer vacations here, enjoying the culture, the outdoors, and top-notch hospitality.
Even more is possible. New programs could reward good stewardship through payments to landowners whose forests maintain clean water and eliminate the expense of new water treatment plants. Manufacturers—attracted by an ample wood supply and the reduced costs of renewable energy—could invest their savings in innovations and marketing to grow their businesses. The region’s success would draw more private investment into the region, employment would increase, and the community would be better able to invest in itself. The backbone of this vision is a healthy, productive forest, and the new economic opportunities are the catalyst to make this vision a reality.
The Northern Forest can be a proving ground for a new ideal: a strong economy that is compatible with conservation of the working landscape, built upon the region’s abundant natural resources.
Read about The Center’s programs in detail.