Cary, NC (February 26, 2020) – The NCASI Foundation has received a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to help support a public/private effort to quantify the links between sustainable forest management and conservation of at-risk species. The grant is in support of the Wildlife Conservation Initiative and names National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, Inc. (NCASI), National Alliance of Forest Owners (NAFO), Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), and USFWS as collaborators on the project.
This partnership is built around a common vision for collaborative wildlife conservation revolving around three shared tenets. 1) Privately owned working forests are critical for conservation success. 2) Science- led efforts create better conservation plans. 3) Active forest management is a proven conservation tool.
The focus of the grant-funded project will be on private working forests, which comprise 58% of all forests in the United States and are vital for the conservation of biological diversity. Scientists, landowners, state and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), and forest-products sector representatives are currently collaborating to identify innovative, nonregulatory approaches to conservation.
“The effort to conserve species who make forests their home not only serves wildlife communities but also affects the wood supply chain that largely begins with working forests”, stated Dr. Darren Miller, Vice President of Forestry Program for NCASI and immediate past president and fellow of The Wildlife Society.
These organizations, as well as others, will come together to develop better management practices to obviate the need for further regulations which can add unnecessary costs. Finding ways to ensure conservation of rare species, while ensuring sustainable management and fiber supply, is critical to ensuring that forests can be maintained for a variety of purposes. Understanding the conservation value of working forests is also part of quantifying ecosystem services from forests (clean water, wildlife, carbon, recreation, etc.), which benefits everyone.
“SFI is proud to be involved in this effort, which will play a vital role in species conservation,” said Paul Trianosky, Chief Conservation Officer at the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, a partner in the project. “This project provides a needed focus on the intersection of managed lands, sustainable supply chains, and perpetuating habitat for a wide range of species.”
While the initial effort focuses on forests in the Eastern United States, all involved partners anticipate expanding this effort across the United States.