MONTREAL, Quebec — Michigan’s forests are expanding, even in unlikely places like Detroit. The Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI) Michigan Implementation Committee is part of this success story and a big reason why it won the SFI Implementation Committee Annual Achievement Award in 2014. The award was presented at SFI Inc.’s 2014 Annual Conference in Montreal.
“The Michigan committee’s work in Detroit isn’t just at the intersection of viable markets, healthy forests and sustainable communities in a conceptual way. The committee is actually working to make Detroit a more sustainable community at intersections, along streetscapes and in parks,” said Kathy Abusow, SFI Inc. President and CEO.
The Michigan committee worked with The Greening of Detroit and a variety of other partners to improve Detroit’s urban forests and revitalize the city through tree planting projects. Through the Greening of Detroit’s Citizen Forester Program, volunteers plant 4,000–6,000 trees annually. The program helps volunteers to identify and plant trees that improve the urban environment.
For now, Detroit still faces a shortage of trees, but there is an abundance of vacant land. That means there will be room for more trees, green open spaces, prairies, urban farms and pocket parks. It also means job opportunities for city kids and adult workforce trainees that support sustainable communities. The Greening of Detroit has helped place almost 80 percent of trainees in full-time jobs.
“We are pleased to accept this award. Our work covered a wide range of projects this year, including building SFI brand recognition and conducting a best management practice audit. But at the end of the day everything we do shares the goal of promoting sustainable forestry,” said Howard Lindberg, the Chair of the SFI Michigan Implementation Committee and Senior Resource Forester with the Plum Creek Timber Company.
Focusing on urban issues didn’t stop the SFI Implementation Committee from making serious statewide contributions as well. The Michigan committee’s commitment to healthy forests was recognized by the Michigan Legislature when it decided to fund a statewide best-‐management-‐practices program for monitoring soil integrity and water quality in relation to forestry operations. This ambitious project began in 2011 when the SFI Implementation Committee organized and implemented a statewide best management program audit and report.
“We also remained committed to encouraging sustainable forestry one person at a time. We provided sustainable forestry education training for more than 1,400 people in 2013,” said Scott Robbins, the Director of SFI and Public Affairs at the Michigan Forest Products Council.