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CASE STUDY
Harrop-Procter Community
Co-operative

A case study in converting Crown land forest tenure to
co-operative stewardship*

The Harrop-Procter Community Co-operative, which operates a community forest around the towns of Harrop and Procter on an arm of Kootenay Lake in British Columbia, is a shining example of a conversion, not from a previous business but from a non-profit “society” concerned with environmental protection and social wellbeing. The Harrop-Procter Community Co-operative tells a story of how legacies of oppositional politics can combine with neoliberal policy in paradoxical ways to create a political space for the emergence of co-management opportunities. It also reveals how a consistent emphasis on environmental protection, local community collaboration, and stewardship in the widest possible sense of the term - as opposed to merely the for-profit bottom line - can become a viable basis for managing a much-valued natural resource. 

Community forestry refers to a form of forest tenure that gives communities control over surrounding forests so they can manage them with a long-term view, as well as benefit directly from the use of forest resources. Community forests typically involve local participation in all stages of forest management and a consensual-voluntary-compliance rather than top-down-command-and-control type enforcement. Harrop-Procter Community Co-operative shows how co-ops can play an important part in this process.

*Case study research and writing by Pushpa Hamal, with Marcelo Vieta (2021)