National Report on Sustainable Forests Advances Understanding of Our Nation’s Forests

Posted by Ben Silvernail, SFI Intern

The 2010 National Report on Sustainable Forests was recently released, providing an excellent resource for current data and analysis from the US Forest Service. The content of the report is structured around the Montreal Process Criteria and Indicators for Forest Sustainability (MPC&I), which provide a comprehensive framework to assess and describe forest trends related to the ecological, social, and economic aspects of sustainability. The Canadian and U.S. governments are signatories to the Montréal Process, and the MP C&I are reflected in the SFI 2010-2014 Standard’s principles, objectives, performance measures, and indicators.

The review process of the report was organized by the Roundtable on Sustainable Forests, which includes organizations, such as SFI Inc., who are committed to responsible, long-term forest management. The insight and information included in this report should help analysts, land managers, and policy-makers address prevailing and increasingly complex issues surrounding long-term sustainability goals, such as the evolving relationship between forests, climate change, and bioenergy.

The 2010 report highlights several areas where the SFI program is helping to improve forest health and knowledge through its standard. The report’s assessment of Indicator 7.60, regarding the capacity to conduct and apply research and development aimed at improving forest management and delivery of forest goods and services, acknowledges that “forest certification standards, particularly the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, require demonstration of research.” This is excellent recognition of SFI’s contribution to research, including the $1.2 billion that SFI program participants have invested in research since 1995, and our Conservation and Community Partnerships Grants Program launched in 2010 that has provided over $1 million to date to improve forest management in the United States and Canada and responsible procurement globally.

The report also brings attention to the fact that forest certification systems provide a clear means to demonstrate that private and public forestry organizations conform to Best Management Practices, and also work as a market based mechanism to protect special sites.

While the report is national in scale, its success ultimately depends on action and innovation at all scales – national, state, and local – and coordination with those who may not traditionally be a part of the forestry community.  At SFI, we look forward to continuing to work with all our partners and all who care about our forests and this report lays the groundwork for us all to better understand and enhance forest health and productivity.

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