Case in Point: Collaboration in Silver City
Each community and FCSFP participants demonstrate their own particular expressions of collaboration. In Silver City, members of the Jobs and Biodiversity Coalition are bringing their diverse values and backgrounds together to achieve the commonly shared goal of a demonstration harvest at the Millsite on the Gila National Forest near Silver City. The five-member coalition has gradually moved towards implementing restoration harvest prescriptions on 800 acres of the 1,200-acre area during the past three to four years. They say the manner in which they have built a trusting relationship with each other has made on-the-ground progress possible. The real requirement for success, say Gordon West and Gerry Engel, is the “local” collaboration, which they describe as a “creative and flexible business relationship.” However, that collaboration is made stronger by the involvement of partners beyond the local area. The role of the Forest Service’s hierarchy of command is crucial in the ability of their community forestry effort to advance. While the district ranger, Gerry Engel, is the Forest Service’s main community contact, the forest supervisor and regional forester, who are less involved, need to be involved in a regular, steady manner to ensure success.