WINNIPEG– Ducks Unlimited Canada, in partnership with Louisiana Pacific Canada Ltd. and FPInnovations, will use a Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) conservation grant to determine best practices for designing and building forestry roads that protect wetland ecosystems in the western boreal forest.
“The SFI conservation grant means Ducks Unlimited Canada biologists, wetland ecologists and GIS specialists can share their expert knowledge about boreal wetlands with forestry professionals, then work with them to identify and test ways to build forest roads that maintain the unique ecological characteristics and functions of different classes of boreal wetlands,” Chris Smith, manager of industry and government relations for Ducks Unlimited Canada’s Western Boreal Program, said today.
The project will receive a total of $180,000 over three years through the SFI Conservation and Community Partnerships Grant program. SFI Inc., an independent third-party forest certification program, launched the grant program in 2010. The forestry road research will be led by Ducks Unlimited Canada and Louisiana-Pacific Canada, a certified SFI program participant, with resource road and engineering expertise from the Forest Operations division of FPInnovations, the world’s largest private, not-for-profit forest research institute. In 2009, Ducks Unlimited Canada and Louisiana-Pacific Canada (Swan River Forest Resources Division) received an SFI Leadership in Conservation Research award for activities leading to long-term conservation of important wetlands and watersheds in west-central Manitoba.
The new conservation project will identify existing or develop new best management practices most compatible with minimizing impacts on the different wetland types found in the western boreal forest. The results will be field tested, and the knowledge transferred back to project partners with the intent to provide information to modify planning and construction techniques as needed. During key stages of implementation, government representatives responsible for forest practices will be consulted regarding the feasibility of integrating recommendations into forest operations guidelines.
“This research will help program participants operating in the boreal region better implement our SFI standard requirements, such as protection of water resources and biodiversity,” SFI President and CEO Kathy Abusow said. “This is a wonderful example of why SFI launched the conservation grant program last year – it will bring together conservation and forest engineering expertise, foster collaboration, and build knowledge to improve practices and protect special areas.”
Last year, SFI Inc. created the Conservation and Community Partnerships Grant program to build upon the more than $1.1 billion Program Participants have contributed for research activities, including forestry research, science and technology since 1995. This partnership project is the first SFI Conservation and Community Partnerships Grant awarded for 2011, and brings the total for all of the grants awarded to-date to more than $850,000. Through the involvement of partners, these forestry research projects will leverage additional resources, achieving a total investment of almost $3 million.
The SFI 2010-2014 Standard is based on 14 core principles that promote sustainable forest management, including measures to protect water quality, biodiversity, wildlife habitat, species at risk, and Forests with Exceptional Conservation Value, and encourages community involvement. The SFI program is the only forest certification standard in North America that requires participants to support and engage in research activities to improve forestry forest health, productivity and sustainable management of forest resources.