SFI Is Helping Maine’s Family Forest Owners Keep Forests as Forests
A Guide to Harvesting Family Woodlands
Why this project matters
Healthy forests are important to the way of life in Maine. A healthy forest provides habitat for wildlife, clean water and air, recreational opportunities, and economic vitality for families and communities. In Maine, 88,000 individuals and families own 25% of its private woodlands, totaling about 4.5 million acres/1.8 million hectares, according to the Maine Forest Service.
The Maine SFI Implementation Committee is leading the development of a Guide to Harvesting Family Woodlands. Encouraging sustainable management of these family woodlands is one of Maine’s most promising strategies for conserving woodlands and their associated benefits throughout the state. Active forest management can provide incentives, financial and otherwise, to help woodland owners keep their land as forest versus converting it for other uses like real estate development. Woodland owners and land managers face significant challenges with management of these parcels and need insight into the complex nature of the ecological, social, operational, and economic aspects of small-scale harvesting.
Why is SFI involved?
This project will produce a guide and up to 10 workshops focused on helping family forest owners keep forests as forests. Supporting A Guide to Harvesting Family Woodlands and the related workshops is part of SFI’s efforts to provide communities with tools to make sustainable choices.
The guide will be a key tool in the project partners’ work to conserve forests, educate forest owners and build partnerships. It will serve as a foundation for educational and training programs aimed at family woodland owners, managers, and operators. The Maine Forest Service and the Maine SFI Implementation Committee, working with local partners, will also offer workshops based on case-studies of a range of successful family woodland operations.
How the project builds SFI community engagement
The Maine SFI Implementation Committee is leading a diverse group of government, conservation and university partners. The primary objective identified in this action plan is outreach and education to individuals and organizations influencing management decisions. A guide to harvesting family woodlands, with associated workshops and case studies, will guide family woodland owners and the professionals they work with through decisions to achieve a successful harvest.
Research from the Maine Forest Service shows these family landowners are very concerned with how their woods will look, and their ability to access their woods and trails when harvesting is complete. This accessible guide will show them what to expect from a harvesting operation, and it will discuss ways to communicate objectives with resource managers before harvesting begins. Helping harvesting professionals interact effectively with family forest owners will encourage wider acceptance of responsible forestry and broaden the understanding of its associated benefits in communities across Maine.
This partnership includes representatives from government, conservation groups, the University of Maine and SFI Program Participants. These partners include:
Project lead: Maine SFI Implementation Committee (consists of SFI Program Participants)
Sustainable Forestry Initiative
Maine Forest Service
Maine Healthy Forests Program
Maine Tree Farm Committee
Somerset County Soil and Water Conservation District
University of Maine, School of Forest Resources
Pine Tree Camp is a summer camp for Maine children and adults with disabilities that gives them a chance to enjoy Maine’s outdoors (video). The Maine SFI Implementation Committee led a project to donate materials to upgrade the camp.
More than a million acres/400,000 hectares of state lands, managed by the Bureau of Parks and Lands of the Maine Department of Agriculture, are certified to the SFI Forest Management Standard.
The Maine SFI Implementation Committee founded the Fisheries Improvement Network (FIN). It’s a forum where forest landowners and managers can interact with agency fishery managers and organizations interested in improving Maine’s fisheries.
The Maine SFI Implementation Committee (SIC) is comprised of representatives from various stakeholder groups, including the Maine Forest Service, an array of associations with interests in forest management and forest sustainability, and SFI Program Participants.
The Maine SIC works at the local level to promote the SFI Standard as a means to broaden the practice of sustainable forestry and ensure on-the-ground progress. These resource professionals volunteer a significant amount of time to assure that national SFI program objectives are consistently implemented and adapted to region-specific needs.