This project builds on previous collaborations between the University of Georgia and SFI, and is part of SFI’s Conservation Impact research portfolio
Why This Project Matters
The Southern Coastal Plain of South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Alabama is home to many imperiled species including the gopher tortoise and red cockaded woodpecker. SFI is collaborating on research with the University of Georgia (UGA) to assess the positive impact of the SFI Fiber Sourcing Standard on water quality and biodiversity in the region. The SFI Fiber Sourcing Standard promotes sustainability on a wide range of ownerships and helps ensure that managed forests provide habitat for many species at risk in the region.
How the Project Contributes to Sustainability Objectives
By simultaneously analyzing the impact of the SFI Fiber Sourcing Standard on water quality and biodiversity best management practices, this project will establish the effectiveness of the SFI Fiber Sourcing Standard as a conservation tool in this important ecoregion.
The SFI Conservation Grant Program is supporting this project. This project builds on previous collaborations between UGA and SFI, and is part of SFI’s Conservation Impact research portfolio, which is working to enumerate conservation outcomes from SFI’s certification programs, relative to water quality, biodiversity and climate change.
In 2015, an SFI Conservation Grant led by UGA showed that 20 years of implementation of the SFI Fiber Sourcing Standard had a significant positive influence on non-certified forestlands across Georgia. Additional research from UGA has shown that the compliance rate of forestry best management practices for water quality was higher within the fiber sourcing areas of SFI‑certified mills. This is important because these millions of acres of managed forests provide watershed protections that directly benefit aquatic species and provide for the needs of millions of people downstream.
How the Project Helps Forest Managers
The project will illustrate the value of the SFI Fiber Sourcing Standard on water-quality and biodiversity related sustainability on a wide range of forest lands in Georgia. The methods developed for this study will be applicable to measuring the environmental benefits associated with application of the SFI Fiber Sourcing Standard in other states. UGA and partners will ultimately disseminate their findings to local and regional stakeholder groups and the general public. The project will also help prove the value of SFI objectives to protect water resources through the utilization of best management practices and promotion of logger training programs.
This partnership includes researchers, conservationists, and forestry sector representatives.
- Project lead: University of Georgia
- Sustainable Forestry Initiative
- Georgia SFI Implementation Committee