HALIFAX - Nova Scotia's government is inviting non-profit groups, Mi'kmaq communities and local governments in the province's southwestern region to come up with proposals for local uses of forests.
The provincial Department of Natural Resources announced Monday that it is accepting expressions of interest under its community forestry program.
A news release says that community forestry projects can include small-scale commercial forestry, habitat protection, recreation, tourism and environmental research on Crown lands approved by the province.
The province says initial proposals will be limited to applicants from southwest Nova Scotia, the area where the Resolute Forest Products mill closed earlier this year.
Bruce Nunn, a spokesperson for the department, said in an interview that the size of the projects will vary widely.
"Community forests could be managed on forested lands of hundreds of hectares up to thousands of hectares," said Nunn.
"It would depend on the individual interest of the community group that comes forward with an expression of interest."
The Department of Natural Resources says it will work with the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq Chiefs "to ensure Mi'kmaq groups and entrepreneurs are fully involved in the community forest model."
There are 125 community forests in Canada and the model is already being used in British Columbia, Quebec and Ontario.