Grant – Natureservesfiprogram2020-07-31T06:51:01-04:00
Quantifying Ecological Values Delivered by Forests Certified to SFI and SFI Fiber Sourcing
The Conservation Values of Forests Project
Why This Project Matters
More and more people want to know that the things they buy are sourced and manufactured in a responsible manner. To satisfy this growing demand, companies that can demonstrate and communicate that their products are responsibly sourced are in a stronger position.
In the forest products industry, well-managed forest ecosystems can claim impact on a wide range of important ecological values, including habitat for high priority species, such as endemic and at-risk plants and animals; unique or at-risk ecosystems; and intact forest landscapes, matrix-scale ecosystems and their associated ecosystem services, such as timber products, pollination, carbon sequestration, and freshwater provisions. But metrics to quantify and transparently demonstrate this are currently lacking. In response, NatureServe is developing metrics for quantifying the condition of species, ecosystems, landscapes, and ecological processes on forest lands certified to SFI in the U.S. Southeast.
How the project helps brand owners and consumers
The metrics being developed by NatureServe will help SFI to translate the conservation value of forests certified to SFI to brand owners seeking to communicate the positive qualities of their supply chain choices. This work will also provide credible, defensible assurances that customers are receiving the sustainability attributes they desire when buying forest products. It will also help build understanding about the relationship between these products and the forest values we all care about.
Through an inclusive process with diverse partners, NatureServe will develop and apply a set of metrics for rapidly assessing the relative condition and function of ecosystems, enabling consistent and objective evaluation of biodiversity attributes. The biodiversity metrics will incorporate critical ecosystem values such as:
locations of imperiled species and ecosystems
rarity-weighted species richness
fire regime condition classifications
landscape condition and habitat connectivity
By enabling measurement of biodiversity on forests managed to the SFI Standard, brand owners, consumers, and everyone interested in supply chain sustainability can gain a sense of the important role of forest management. With standards that ensure conservation attributes ranging from watershed conservation to rare species protection, forests certified to SFI effectively conserve habitat for North America’s most iconic species, from caribou and grizzly bears to gopher tortoises and monarch butterflies.
An SFI Conservation and Community Partnerships Grant is supporting NatureServe’s leadership of a diverse and highly qualified team in a pilot study to develop and apply quantifiable metrics of the biodiversity value of lands certified to SFI. NatureServe will partner with the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI), the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the Florida Natural Areas Inventory, the Maine Natural Areas Program, as well as SFI Program Participants Hancock Timber Resource Group, Resource Management Service, LLC, Rayonier, and Weyerhaeuser. Together, they will help to test biodiversity, ecosystem- and landscape-conservation metrics on open pine forest stands on forestlands certified to SFI.
At the stand scale, all four SFI project partners have agreed to share existing data on biodiversity and forest condition for the focal stands that will be collaboratively selected for the pilot metrics applications, ensuring our ability to develop metrics that are relevant, practical, and ultimately scalable to other forest ecosystem types. The involvement of NCASI and three Natural Heritage Program forest ecologists will further ensure the scientific credibility of the final metrics and their broad applicability beyond the pilot effort in Coastal Plain pine forests.
How the Project Helps Forest Managers
This work will also help individual SFI Program Participants to better understand and manage forest lands in a way that ensures the conservation of biodiversity. The project will use an inclusive and iterative process to refine metrics for use in other forest ecosystems managed under SFI Standards. Ultimately, this work will contribute to SFI’s Conservation Impact Project, which will make the link between well-managed forests and the public benefits that each of us enjoy every day. Quantifying this link will give forest managers the hard data they need to make more fully informed management decisions, and it will provide brand owners and consumers with facts supporting forest sustainability.
This partnership of public agencies, conservationists and forest products companies will deliver scientifically credible metrics, which will be broadly applicable across North America’s forests.
Project lead: NatureServe
Sustainable Forestry Initiative
Florida Natural Areas Inventory
Georgia Department of Natural Resources
Hancock Timber Resource Group (SFI Program Participant)
Maine Natural Areas Program
National Council for Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI)
Rayonier (SFI Program Participant)
Resource Management Service, LLC (SFI Program Participant)
NatureServe was a partner on a previous SFI-funded project — National Council for Air and Stream Improvement: Piloting a Habitat-Based Approach to At-risk Biodiversity Conservation on Lands Certified to SFI.
NatureServe Canada and SFI partnered on informational webinars to enhance the level of knowledge about NatureServe and its role in the SFI Standard.
The NatureServe Network empowers people to sustain biodiversity by making sure everyone has access to the knowledge they need to be better stewards of our shared lands and waters. We serve as an authoritative source of comprehensive, decision-quality biodiversity data.
We provide the scientific knowledge that supports informed decisions. Together, with our Network of over 80 programs, we collect decision-quality data about imperiled species and entire ecosystems, transform that data into knowledge products and visualizations, and provide meaning through expert analyses and support to guide decision-making, implement action, and enhance conservation outcomes.
Dear SFI Community,
I’d like to share an update from SFI on our strategies to ensure smooth operations as well as some adjustments we have made with regards to upcoming events in light of COVID-19. The following reflects our best efforts to keep our teams and our interactions with our community as safe and healthy as possible, and to provide you with some certainty with regards to upcoming events and dates.
REACHING SFI STAFF
SFI staff continue to be fully operational and able to support any needs or questions you may have about SFI programs. In order to ensure the health and safety of our team, all SFI employees are currently working remotely and we have the systems in place to allow us to be fully accessible by email, phone, and video call. You can find contact information for staff on our website or can send general inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
SFI AUDIT GUIDANCE
SFI has issued updated guidance regarding audit restrictions due to COVID-19. We recognize that other requirements related to implementing the SFI Standards, such as logger training, may be disrupted while travel and gatherings are restricted. SFI will issue further guidance as warranted. Questions about audits or standard requirements should be directed to Gregor Macintosh, SFI Senior Director of Standards, at Gregor.email@example.com.
SFI/PLT MEETINGS AND WORKSHOPS
In order to prioritize the health and safety of our community and prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, SFI is canceling all scheduled in-person meetings and workshops through June, with alternative virtual arrangements being developed, as follows:
PROJECT LEARNING TREE CANADA GREEN JOBS SUMMIT
The planned March 23-24 Summit has been redesigned as an e-summit on March 23, bringing youth together from across Canada to discuss green career pathways.
CONSERVATION IMPACT SOUNDING BOARD WORKSHOP
The planned May 20-21 workshop will be redesigned as a webinar on May 20 focused on the intersection of Conservation Impact research and the developing 2022 SFI Standards, with a particular focus on carbon and climate change.
PROJECT LEARNING TREE COORDINATORS’ CONFERENCE
The planned June 8-12 conference in Bremerton, WA, has been postponed until 2021 at the same location. In lieu of the 2020 conference, plans are underway to host a one-day virtual event on June 10 or 11 offering professional development and networking to the PLT Coordinators and partners.
STANDARD REVISION WORKSHOPS
These May/June workshops were designed as regional opportunities to comment on proposed revisions and enhancements to the SFI Standards. SFI still plans to release the next draft Standards by May 1 and conduct a 60-day comment period through the end of June. Instead of the in-person workshops, we will conduct dedicated webinars focused on specific themes and requirements in the Standards, as follows:
Logger Training and Education
Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation
Conservation of Biological Diversity
Chain of Custody, SFI Labels and Claims, and Controversial Sources
SFI IMPLEMENTATION COMMITTEE REGIONAL MEETINGS
These May/June meetings were planned to coincide with the Standard Revision Workshops and were designed to provide opportunities for SIC members to engage on bi-national SFI priorities and share best practices across committees. These will instead be conducted as regional webinars, with dates coming soon.
Join SFI’s E-Summit, Growing Solutions, to share ideas about how sustainably managed forests, and products sourced from those forests, are great tools in moving towards shared sustainability goals.
This year, SFI is hosting a one-day E-Summit on October 22 to bring our network together to engage around the work SFI is doing across its 4 pillars to achieve our mission of advancing sustainability through forest-focused collaborations.
We appreciate your continued support of SFI and look forward to connecting with you through one of these many opportunities.