This handbook provides a guide for communities interested in establishing a community -owned forest. We hope that it will be useful for communities in various stages, whether just beginning to think about a project or re-engaging community residents around land already in community ownership. As the examples in this handbook show, each community forest effort is unique to the local forest and community. Most, however, have several elements in common: outreach and information gathering to engage local residents, partners and decision -makers; an open, inclusive process to determine community priorities and governance structures for the forest; establishing relationships with local, regional and national partners; arranging financing for the purchase; and long-term planning and management of the forest. These steps, outlined in more detail in this handbook, do not necessarily happen in chronological order. Rather, some of this work can take place in parallel depending on the needs of your community and the particular forestland in question.