Grant – Roanoke Centersfiprogram2020-07-31T08:11:56-04:00
Collaborating with African American Forest Landowners to Maintain Working Forests
Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Program
Why this project matters
Although African Americans had amassed 15 million acres/6 million hectares of land in the U.S. South between 1865 and 1919, today 97% of those lands have been lost, according to the Land Trust Alliance. Forestry offers many older farmers, landowners not living on their land, and multiple generations of heirs who want to keep their land together, an opportunity to keep their land in the family while generating income from it. Managed forestry can help landowners prosper in retirement and through multiple generations. It can also be a powerful tool to help resolve heirs’ property issues and ownership questions and it offers a means to help preserve the important social and cultural heritage of African American land ownership.
Why is SFI involved?
SFI is committed to identifying ways to support engaging African American forest owners in the U.S. South, including land retention. SFI, as an organization that stands for future forests, believes we can collaborate to help keep forests as forests and ensure that they are responsibly managed to provide conservation values as well as financial benefits to the African Americans who own these forestlands.
This is a collaborative community-based project aligns with two SFI focal areas. It leverages the engagement of Sustainable Forestry Initiative Implementation Committees (SICs) to enrich the link between people and forests; and it supports underserved communities through forestry, with a focus on rural communities and minority landowners.
How the project builds SFI community engagement
SFI has a stewardship responsibility to help maintain the heritage of African American connections to the land in the U.S. South. SFI is also committed to helping to elevate the management quality and asset value of African American forestland to the level that is enjoyed by many other southern landowners. Through partnership and support of others operating effectively on these issues, and by using the natural strength of SFI Implementation Committees and our network of Program Participants, SFI can become a vital piece of the solution to this important challenge.
The project involves a variety of activities through collaboration of non-profits, educational institutions, forestry agencies and the legal profession. Expected results will include African American forestland owners improving management of family forestlands and connecting families to forests across multiple generations. The project will also enrich understanding of the link between well-managed forests and conservation-related outcomes. And it will promote the use of forest products carrying the SFI label, which illustrates the values of well‑managed forests and their impact on our daily lives.
This partnership includes local business development volunteers, legal experts, government officials, SFI Program Participants and academics.
Project lead: The Roanoke Center
Sustainable Forestry Initiative
North Carolina SFI Implementation Committee
Enviva Biomass (SFI Program Participant)
US Endowment for Forestry and Communities
Natural Resources Conservation Service
North Carolina Forest Service — Stewardship Program
North Carolina Extension Forestry Program
Gragg Law Firm
Roanoke Electric Cooperative
North Carolina Tree Farm Program
North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
The Roanoke Center is part of Roanoke Economic Development, Inc. The center provides services to individuals and small businesses to the improve quality of life in in Virginia. The Roanoke Center strives to maximize the benefits of projects and activities that make the region a better place to live and work. It uses sustainable forestry initiatives to restore and conserve threatened African American forestland by increasing forest-owner income and land asset values. Landowners have access to many services, including outreach and education, technical and legal assistance, mapping, forest management planning and implementation, conservation and restoration, and access to new forestry technologies and emerging markets. The center also engages youth and young adults in learning what they need to know to advance sustainable forestry on their family lands and it provides role models, mentoring and internship opportunities to begin cultivating future natural resource professionals.
COPY LINK: https://www.forests.org/grantroanoke/
SFI UPDATE REGARDING COVID-19
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 email@example.com.
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.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.