Provence Model Forest, France. ©Armand Yeker

The International Model Forest Network

The International Model Forest Network (IMFN) established in 1992, is the world’s largest network dedicated to sustainable landscape governance. It is a voluntary global community of practice whose members and supporters work toward the sustainable management of forest‐based landscapes and natural resources through the Model Forest approach. There are over 60 Model Forests in 35 countries covering over 70 million hectares around the globe comprising the IMFN.

Through the network structure and a commitment to knowledge sharing and capacity building, best practices and lessons learned in one Model Forest can be shared with others to accelerate learning and collectively make lasting progress to realize sustainable development, both locally and globally. Model Forests advance programs and projects on a variety of issues including forest and landscape restoration, sustainable livelihoods, food security, biodiversity, wildland fire management, climate change and agroforestry.

FAO and IMFN have collaborated on Model Forests since 1999 when FAO led on a project to launch a series of sites across Asia with funding from the Government of Japan. Since 2016, the FAO and the IMFN Secretariat have been formally collaborating on shared goals, including landscape level applications of sustainable forest management (SFM), strengthened natural resource governance, sharing of lessons learned and translation of these into integrated national policy frameworks.

In 2020, the collaboration was extended (FAO Press Release) to encompass emerging opportunities in areas such as forests and water and landscape restoration. Over the years, FAO has also actively participated in Asia and Latin America Model Forest Network Board Meetings and workshops.

Regional Networks

The IMFN is organized into six Regional Networks, which bring together all Model Forests within a larger geographical area to support and share common interests, challenges and findings among its members. Some Regional Networks are formalized with a Board of Directors who lead decision-making for the region in partnership with the IMFN Secretariat, while others are informal collectives of Model Forest members working in a given region. They are:

  • The Canadian Model Forest Network (CMFN)
  • The Latin-American Model Forest Network (RLABM)
  • The African Model Forest Network (AMFN)
  • The Mediterranean Model Forest Network (MMFN)
  • Northern Europe and Russia
  • The Regional Model Forest Network for Asia (RMFN-Asia)

IMFN Secretariat

The IMFN Secretariat, established and hosted by the Government of Canada at Natural Resources Canada, provides leadership and day-to-day coordination for the Network.

IMFN Secretariat activities include:

  • Technical and logistical support to establish and maintain Model Forests
  • Support for regional and global meetings, training and specialized workshops
  • Resource mobilization
  • Partnership growth and collaboration
  • International advocacy and communications
  • Knowledge sharing and capacity development
  • Documentation, monitoring and evaluation.

Choco Andino Model Forest, Ecuador. ©Fundacion ImaymanIn addition to the hundreds of local stakeholder groups engaged directly in Model Forests, the IMFN works with organizations and initiatives around the world, including but not limited to:

  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
  • The Global Partnership on Forest and Landscape Restoration (GPFLR)
  • Landscapes for People, Food and Nature (LPFN)
  • Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)
  • Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service (NRCan–CFS)
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
  • Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE)
  • Royal Forest Department of Thailand.

last updated:  Friday, July 23, 2021