FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 21, 2022
Washington D.C. and Ottawa ON—The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) announced seven conservation grants today that will build on SFI’s commitment to conservation research and increase knowledge about the conservation benefits associated with forests influenced by the SFI 2022 Forest Management Standard and the SFI 2022 Fiber Sourcing Standard. The grants reflect the priorities of SFI’s innovative Conservation Impact Project, which advances understanding of climate change, biodiversity, and water in sustainably managed forests. The grants also highlight the key role that SFI‑certified organizations and other members of the SFI network play in collaborating on conservation projects.
MITIGATING CLIMATE CHANGE
The Boreal Avian Modelling Project (BAM) will conduct a three-year collaborative project to improve understanding of the value and resilience of SFI forests for eastern North American forest birds in a changing climate. Researchers will apply BAM’s large integrated avian database and expertise in developing avian density and forest landscape models to understand current and future species responses to forest management practices associated with climate change in the context of SFI‑certified forests. This research will guide the science of forest management planning to benefit a wide variety of birds. The Quebec SFI Implementation Committee is a project participant, as well as SFI-certified organizations Resolute Forestry Products, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and The Forestland Group.
The Maine TREE Foundation will assess climate change risks and mitigation opportunities through implementation of the SFI 2022 Forest Management Standard in forests in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York. The foundation will produce resources and data for landowners that will support sustainable, climate-smart forest management decisions to ensure alignment with the new SFI 2022 Forest Management Standard, which includes a new climate-smart forestry objective. The grant results will ultimately help forest managers manage tree species such as fir, spruce, beech, maple, pine, and birch in a changing climate. The Maine SFI Implementation Committee is a project participant.
SUPPORTING BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION AND RECOVERY
NatureServe will quantify evidence of imperiled forest-associated species on SFI‑certified lands across the U.S. and Canada. Researchers will illustrate the degree to which SFI‑certified forests are known or have potential to support the most critically imperiled species, a key requirement of the SFI 2022 Forest Management Standard. These results will support developing highly relevant biodiversity data for SFI‑certified organizations. Clemson University will participate in the project, with the SFI‑certified Clemson Experimental Forest serving as a proving ground for methods and concepts. In addition to Clemson University, Weyerhaeuser, an SFI-certified organization, is a project participant.
The National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, Inc. (NCASI) will lead a collaborative project involving the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Alliance of Forest Owners, and Tangled Bank Conservation to quantify the contribution of sustainable forest practices for at-risk terrestrial and aquatic species in south Alabama. Researchers will examine species from multiple taxonomic groups over an extended period of time across SFI‑certified private forests. Target at-risk species that will benefit from this research include the Alabama map turtle, alligator snapping turtle, gopher tortoise, Red Hills salamander, and eastern diamondback rattlesnake. Project participants include SFI‑certified organizations The Molpus Woodlands Group, PotlatchDeltic Corporation, Rayonier, The Westervelt Company, and Weyerhaeuser—as well as investment organizations Manulife Investment Management and Resource Management Service LLC.
ENHANCING WATER QUANTITY AND QUALITY
A new project with the Penticton Indian Band will link Indigenous knowledge with scientific knowledge by assessing the effectiveness of enhanced riparian management in the Penticton Indian Band area of responsibility in British Columbia. It will showcase how implementation of the SFI 2022 Forest Management Standard and PIB Enhanced Riparian Standards integrate recognition of Indigenous rights and drive improved management and outcomes for Indigenous values relating to water quality on SFI‑certified forestlands. Elders and Knowledge Keepers will play key roles in the project. SFI‑certified organizations B.C. Timber Sales Kootenay, BC Timber Sales Okanagan, and Interfor Corporation are project participants.
The National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, Inc (NCASI) in collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service, Weyerhaeuser, and Oregon State University will assess the effects of pre- and post-fire forest management on aquatic biodiversity on SFI‑certified forestlands in Oregon and Washington. Researchers will investigate which landscape and management factors are the most influential predictors of aquatic biological diversity in forested streams. NCASI will also evaluate biodiversity across unburned (control) watersheds. Fish, crayfish, amphibians, mussels, and macroinvertebrates will be identified using multi-species eDNA metabarcoding, an innovative and cutting-edge technique that can detect rare species. The project links to SFI’s new Fire Resiliency and Awareness Objective. The Washington SFI Implementation Committee, Oregon SFI Implementation Committee, Oregon Department of Forestry, Bureau of Land Management, and SFI‑certified organizations Rayonier, Port Blakely, Campbell Global, Yakama Nation Tribal Forestry, and Weyerhaeuser are project participants.