Well-Managed Forests Are the Answer

A condensed version of this post appeared in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Aborvitae April Newsletter

hazel-creek-in-the-fall_webAt the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), we believe well‑managed forests are the answer to many of the world’s most pressing sustainability challenges. We are an independent, non-profit organization that provides supply chain assurances, supports education and community engagement, and produces conservation outcomes. SFI is focusing on three key conservation themes where well‑managed forests play a central role: climate change, water quality and biodiversity. Known as the SFI Conservation Impact Project, these efforts aim to quantify the conservation benefits of SFI’s work, and the connection between well‑managed forests, sustainable supply chains and important conservation outcomes. SFI launched this project at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in September 2016 and continues to work with conservation and research leaders drawn from academia, public agencies, and the non-profit conservation community, to build understanding and to ensure conservation outcomes.

As a result of these efforts, the American Bird Conservancy’s Bringing Back the Forest Birds initiative recently determined that a single project area in eastern North Carolina may provide habitat for as many as 90,000 Prairie Warblers, an at-risk species, on forestlands certified to the SFI Forest Management Standard. In Canada, with support from SFI, the Boreal Avian Modelling (BAM) Project is helping natural resource managers identify important habitats for breeding birds. For example, BAM data on the olive‑sided flycatcher, which is listed as threatened in Canada, is being used in the Alberta Land Use Framework to understand how changes in forest age and type will influence its habitat and that of other breeding birds.

Collaboration is key to these and all our efforts. In 2018, SFI’s conservation grants featured collaboration from 45 different partner organizations, and our community grants involved 102 different groups. These grant programs illustrate the SFI commitment to research — SFI is the only forest certification standard in the world that requires participants to support and engage in research activities. We also work with a 1,000‑person grassroots network of SFI Implementation Committees, and our Project Learning Tree initiative reaches more than 20,000 educators annually to encourage youth to engage in environmental stewardship. SFI is focused on nature-based solutions that effectively link people’s lives and livelihoods with critical conservation outcomes across a variety of certified forestlands covering more than 121 million hectares in the U.S. and Canada.

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