Vancouver, BC — The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) announced the winner of the 2023 SFI Implementation Committee Achievement Award at the 2023 SFI Annual Conference in collaboration with PEFC Week today. The Maine Committee was selected for its collaborative leadership in addressing key enhancements to the SFI Forest Management and Fiber Sourcing Standards related to climate smart forestry, fire resilience, and forests of exceptional conservation value.
This award recognizes SFI Implementation Committees for outstanding work in fostering community engagement by strengthening the connections between sustainable forests, thriving communities, and responsible purchasing. The award recognizes SFI Implementation Committees for implementing SFI Standards and programs locally, making a difference on-the-ground to advance sustainable forestry and promote the benefits of SFI certified forests and forest products. The award is designed to provide a positive incentive for SFI Committees to go above and beyond required efforts to increase SFI’s visibility across the U.S. and Canada.
“The Maine Committee has raised the bar on collaboration through the SFI network, working with SFI-certified organizations, state officials, conservationists, harvesters, and landowners to maximize the impact of enhancements to the SFI Forest Management Standard and Fiber Sourcing Standards,” said Nadine Block, Senior VP of Community and Government Relations, SFI. “This makes an important contribution to shared priorities like addressing climate change, wildfire, and conservation of biodiversity.”
Enhancing climate smart forestry
The Maine Committee helped secure an SFI conservation grant with partners at the Maine TREE Foundation and Manomet to conduct research on climate smart forestry in the Northeast covering Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York and produce a climate smart manual for forest managers. SFI-certified organizations are required to assess climate change risks to forests to meet the SFI Forest Management Standard. The Maine and New Hampshire committees worked directly with SFI to convene a regional workshop with the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science to develop a regional climate risk assessment for SFI-certified organizations, which set the stage for a series of six additional regional SFI Implementation Committee workshops across the U.S. and Canada. The outcomes of the first workshop were compiled into a Northeast SFI Implementation Committee Climate Smart Forestry Regional Assessment report to help SFI-certified organizations meet the Climate Smart Forestry Objective.
Building wildfire resilience
The Maine Committee initiated a process with the forest fire division of the Maine Forest Service to address fire resilience by developing a risk assessment and establishing an annual workshop to discuss risks, mitigations, and lessons learned. Organizations certified to the SFI Forest Management Standard are required to evaluate and address the risk of wildfire. Forest fire division staff offered fire prevention training for SFI‑certified landowners to improve fire awareness and readiness. This collaboration between the Maine Committee and the state agency will enable greater attention to wildfire risks on the landscape.
Supporting biodiversity in forests of exceptional conservation value
The Maine Committee worked with the Maine Natural Areas Program, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and Maine’s Certified Logging Professionals program to conduct an assessment of forests of exceptional conservation value — a new requirement of the SFI Fiber Sourcing Standard. The assessment produced a map of these forests and a list of nearby towns. A video explaining steps to take if forestry activities intersect with forests of exceptional conservation value was developed and shared broadly with Maine’s community of loggers, foresters, and landowners. The list of forests of exceptional conservation value will be revisited annually.
“SFI Standards are on the frontlines when it comes to the most pressing issues facing forest sector organizations and the lands they care for. It’s very gratifying for everyone connected to the Maine SFI Implementation Committee to be recognized for helping to maximize SFI’s leadership, reach, and impact,” said Pat Sirois, Maine SFI Implementation Committee Coordinator.