Fresh off SFI’s own annual conference, I had the great pleasure to participate in the National Association of State Foresters annual meeting last week, in Hot Springs, Virginia. The meeting brought together the directors of all the state forestry agencies and a range of partners from federal agencies, conservation organizations, and others. SFI was proud to participate as a sponsor, exhibitor, and partner.
Of note was a presentation by Bruce McIntyre with Pricewaterhouse Coopers, who highlighted major global economic and social trends affecting the forestry sector. A panel of experts followed representing different viewpoints from private and public forestry, forestry education, and forest technology. They offered insights on how the forestry community will respond to these global trends, what innovations are developing, and how we need to prepare future forestry leaders. The panel and ensuing discussion dovetailed nicely with the theme of SFI’s recent annual conference, Writing the Next Chapter.
Several challenges were noted by the panelists, but two in particular stood out for me: One was how we, the forestry community, struggle to tell “the story of forestry” and the importance of working forests – a struggle that will only get harder as our population shifts to an increasingly urban one and becomes further disconnected from the forest landscapes. A second challenge is how to address and embrace diversity. These challenges are clearly intertwined, and it is incumbent on us to search for solutions that allow for inclusiveness and a broadening of our community, so a greater number of people will appreciate the public benefits we derive from our healthy, thriving forests.
Another highlight of the event was witnessing Steve Koehn, State Forester of Maryland and member of the SFI Board of Directors, receive the award for Outstanding Forestry Regulation. The award was in recognition of the Maryland Forestry Protection Act of 2013, that committed the state to no net loss of forestland and also codified their commitment to sustainable forestry through the certification of their state lands to the SFI and FSC standards.
PHOTO – Steve Koehn (left), State Forester of Maryland, and Paul DeLong (right), State Forester of Wisconsin
SFI looks forward to joining NASF next year in Minnesota!Nadine Block VP, Government Affairs