By Allison Welde
SFI Director, Conservation Partnerships
Posted April 20, 2012
The goal for Earth Day 2012 this Sunday is to help Mobilize the Earth™ by collecting A Billion Acts of Green® and elevating the importance of environmental issues around the world. At SFI, we collaborate with many groups and individuals committed to responsible forestry because we know our collective efforts can make quite a difference.
SFI Program Participants and partners work hard every day to support good forestry, and Earth Day is a great time to recognize their efforts. We all believe that responsible forest management must meet more than just the needs of humans, and that’s why we incorporate wildlife habitat protection, support for biodiversity and water quality protection into the many standard requirements of the SFI program. In addition to biodiversity requirements included as part of our standard, SFI is dedicated to conservation research – both in our standard and through our Conservation and Community Grant Program. Launched in 2010, SFI has funded a total of 24 conservation projects to date through this program. Thanks to the over 125 partners involved in these projects, SFI is supporting real and tangible benefits on-the-ground.
We know that the conservation research we are investing in and those partnerships that we are forming today are helping to build a brighter future for our forests – and Earth Day is a great time to acknowledge some of the tremendous contributions of our grant recipients, including:
- The Land Trust for Tennessee, the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust and the Wildlands Network, who are showing landowners and governments how conservation easements can protect ecosystem services while generating a return from forestlands.
- Bird Studies Canada, which has collected scientific data forest companies are using to improve forest habitat management beyond regulatory compliance for the conservation of bird biodiversity and species-at-risk across Canada.
- Ducks Unlimited Canada and Dalhousie University which, along with a wide assortment of partners, are improving forest road crossings to protect the future of wetlands in the western boreal region and Atlantic Canada.
- Clemson University, which has created a demonstration forest and led workshops and webinars so landowners can learn how good forest management supports objectives like providing wildlife habitat.
It means so much to me to see these results – and to realize this is just a small sampling of what our grantees have accomplished so far is truly gratifying. And there is more to come – we’re about to announce 2012 grants that focus on protection for water resources.
And this is only one of our programs – about 2,000 organizations are directly involved in the SFI program; more than 200,000 individuals support us in different capacities, and everyone who chooses an SFI-certified forest product is joining in our good work. We work with forest professionals, indigenous communities, universities, tree farmers, conservation groups, government agencies, and companies of all sizes.
By celebrating Earth Day, we can reflect on the fact that the future is decided now – every company, every organization and every individual in North America can shape the future of our forests and our rural communities through their actions today. Asking for SFI-labeled wood and paper products is one way to help transform markets and support a healthy future for forests, for communities and for conservation.