SW Community Forestry Caucus

Entrepreneurship in Community Forestry: Critical for Success

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"It's like fishing. You try different lures, maybe poles, then . . . fall in and a fish swims in your pocket. You just gotta be out there!"

-Gordon West, Gila WoodNet, Silver City , NM

When it looked like the Four Corners saw-timber industry was disappearing, many FCSFP members began to express that entrepreneurship held the energy to recreate a new forest-based industry. The FCSFP took on a character of an entrepreneurship support organization. Many believed, and still believe, that you can't have community based forest restoration without entrepreneurship. It is the essence of "hands-on."

The importance of supporting entrepreneurship for rebuilding capacity is "an absolute must," said Kim Kostelnik. "A spark in an individual or group that wants to get something accomplished. Gravitate towards a 'doer.' They have an ability to express problems, issues, barriers that affect what the agency might do."

Entrepreneurship is characterized by the commitment of local people who are creative, willing to take risks, and are adaptable. Entrepreneurship is the one thing many FCSFP partners have in common. They brought their inventive minds and a variety of skills into the network: an engineer, long-time loggers who learned what they know by experience, craftspeople, furniture builders, construction contractors to name a few. They saw an opportunity in the ecological needs of forests to develop business opportunities; particularly in the development of new products and tools (new technology) to harvest and process small diameter.


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