Forest Management is Habitat Management: The Wildlife Society Annual Conference

WildlifeSociety_Booth2Forest management means many things to different people. For the small forest landowner, it may represent a financial investment or a personal refuge. For the angler, it means good clean water in a favorite fishing hole. For the wildlife biologist, forest management is habitat management: forests are host to tens of thousands of species and forest health directly impacts the quality of habitat and, ultimately, the survival of the species which reside there. This discussion of habitat was front and center at the annual conference of The Wildlife Society (TWS) which concluded this week in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

I had the opportunity to attend the conference, as did one of SFI’s newest board member, Jon Haufler, who was elected president of The Wildlife Society during the conference. We both attended the meeting of the Forestry and Wildlife Working Group during the conference and found opportunity to share some insights about SFI and the important intersection of both TWS and SFI in landscape-scale forest management and habitat conservation. The Forestry and Wildlife Working Group is one of the newest at TWS, but already one of the largest. I am encouraged by the broad recognition of the interplay of wildlife management and the role of sustainably managed forests among working group members.

Being new to the discussion amongst wildlife managers at the conference, I noticed that many of their conversations paralleled those taking place in the forest management community around issues affecting conservation of large landscapes. I was reminded throughout the conference that forest management is habitat management, and there is a role to play for SFI in bridging the dialogue between these communities. SFI has always been a champion for wildlife habitat; our forest management Standard addresses a range of key biodiversity and wildlife issues including reforestation, water quality, and species of concern to ensure that SFI certified lands provide maximum benefit to terrestrial and aquatic species across North America.

Congratulations to The Wildlife Society on their annual conference and their continued commitment to wildlife and habitat conservation, and to Jon in his new role as President of this worthy organization. I’m excited to see what future collaboration between SFI and TWS will bring to the big picture of forest management in the future.

Paul Trianosky
Senior Director, Conservation Partnerships

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