WASHINTON, D.C. and OTTAWA, ON—The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) is pleased to announce its new publication: SFI’s Conservation Impact: A Decade of Success. This succinct document provides an executive-level summary of the results of SFI’s Conservation Impact work over the past 10 years and how the science behind well managed forests and sustainable supply chains supports conservation goals. Readers will learn about 17 different conservation research projects that SFI has supported and participated in with numerous partners across its three main focus areas of climate change, biodiversity, and water quality and quantity.
“Identifying positive conservation outcomes, key learnings, and opportunities for improvement on SFI certified lands is a critical component of the SFI standards. SFI’s Conservation Impact: A Decade of Success is a testament to the dedication and collaboration we see across the SFI network when it comes to advancing forest science and sustainable solutions,” says Kathy Abusow, CEO and President of SFI.
SFI is the only forestry standard that requires certified organizations to support forest and conservation research. In total, SFI certified organizations invest over $60 million per year in forest and conservation research and have invested cumulatively over $1.8 billion since 1995.
This research, driven in part by requirements in the SFI standard, generates robust results with lasting benefits for the forest and conservation sector. SFI’s Conservation Impact work supports research over and above these investments by SFI-certified organizations.
SFI’s Conservation Impact work supports research that tests, evaluates, and validates the value and outcomes resulting from SFI Forest Management and Fiber Sourcing certification. Since Conservation Impact research is generated by SFI, rather than SFI certified organizations, Conservation Impact investments of SFI are above and beyond the $60 million annual investments noted above.
“Conservation Impact has generated clear learnings, which enable SFI certified organizations to convey and leverage conservation outcomes knowledgably. It helps conservationists have a deeper insight into the value of sustainable forest management, and helps consumers make better choices for the planet,” says Paul Trianosky, Chief Conservation Officer at SFI.
Innovative conservation research is critical to ensuring continued improvement in sustainable forestry. With over 350 million acres (140 million hectares) certified to the SFI 2022 Forest Management Standard in North America, and tens of millions more positively influenced by the SFI 2022 Fiber Sourcing Standard, SFI and SFI certified organizations have the scale and reach to generate meaningful results which advance sustainability in North America.

Three Research Project Highlights from SFI’s Conservation Impact: A Decade of Success
Climate change
SFI collaborated with American Forests to develop an approach to include soils in forest carbon calculations, because soils can account for a sizeable, at times unconsidered, amount of carbon storage. This allows for better understanding of whole-ecosystem carbon dynamics. One Conservation Impact study area showed that, when the cumulative harvest, including long-lived wood products, was added to the greenhouse gas balance, SFI-certified forests acted as carbon sinks. Learn more.

SFI collaborated with the American Bird Conservancy to examine the needs of a wide variety of bird species in decline, and their presence on select SFI certified pilot areas, to help build understanding of broader ecosystem health and sustainable forest management. Many of the focal species were more abundant within SFI certified forests, including Prairie Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, Kentucky Warbler, Brown-headed Nuthatch and Wood Thrush. Learn more.

Water quality and quantity
SFI collaborated with the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) to develop two management decision support tools to help plan activities around waterways to ensure protection of water quality and quantity. The Active River Area project helps identify riparian areas and freshwater conservation and restoration strategies and actions. Learn more.

Such management decision tools matter due to the reach and scale of water resources flowing from SFI Certified forestlands. A collaborative project of SFI and the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI) determined that waterways on SFI-certified forestlands are collectively long enough to reach around the world 50 times, underscoring the importance of these forests to water supplies throughout North America. Learn more.

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The Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI) advances sustainability through forest-focused collaborations. We are an independent, nonprofit organization that leverages four interconnected pillars of work: standards, conservation, community, and education. SFI works with the forest sector, conservation groups, academics, researchers, brand owners, resource professionals, landowners, educators, local communities, Indigenous Peoples, and governments. Collaborating with our network, we leverage SFI-certified forests and products as powerful tools to help solve sustainability challenges such as climate action, conservation of biodiversity, education of future generations, and sustainable economic development.

Christine Leduc
VP, Communications and Government Relations
Sustainable Forestry Initiative