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SFI invests in conservation and community partnerships

Press release from the issuing company

Washington - The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) forest certification program announced its new Conservation and Community Partnerships Grant program today, furthering its long-standing commitment to research and bringing together diverse partners, including SFI Program Participants, conservation groups, and several government agencies, to deliver conservation benefits across North America and tackle illegal logging issues globally.

SFI Inc.'s initial commitment of $675,000 to fund nine projects includes a contribution of $307,500 in 2010 alone.  SFI Inc. chose projects that met key criteria, which included, supporting requirements of the SFI 2010-2014 Standard, showing how SFI certification complements existing government initiatives in North America, and building partnerships which promote responsible forestry.  Through the involvement of partners, the projects are expected to leverage additional resources and achieve a total value of $2.7 million.  
"Key components of the SFI program are support for research and landowner outreach, and these requirements in our standard have already led to countless benefits in forests and communities across North America," SFI President and CEO Kathy Abusow said today. "These projects are directly linked to standard requirements and will facilitate partnerships so even more benefits are gained on-the-ground - they will reach far beyond certified lands."

The projects announced today include partnerships with numerous SFI Program Participants and are led by:
- Bird Studies Canada, along with the Canadian Wildlife Service and Regroupement QuébecOiseaux will work to conserve bird biodiversity across Canada.
- Clemson University will help South Carolina landowners adopt and implement practices to improve wildlife habitat on managed forest lands in partnership with local conservation organizations and government agencies.
- Forest Trends will hold the fourth Potomac Forum on Illegal Logging & Associated Trade, helping U.S. suppliers navigate legality in the global supply chain.
- South Coast Conservation Program, in partnership with nine First Nations holding tenure in British Columbia, will help identify and protect habitat and populations of forest-dependent species at risk along British Columbia's Pacific Coast.
- The American Chestnut Foundation will help restore the American Chestnut, including test plantings of blight-resistant trees.
- The National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, working with State Natural Heritage Programs,will pilot a habitat-based approach to protecting at-risk imperiled species and communities.
- The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, along with 11 state agencies and two Canadian provinces, will enhance the biodiversity of young forest habitats, helping to reverse the declines of some 80 species at risk.
- The Ruffed Grouse Society will hold six Wisconsin Coverts workshops, in partnership with the University of Wisconsin's Extension and the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology to help private landowners in the Great Lakes Region manage their land for wildlife.
- World Resources Institute will create an online dynamic risk assessment tool to reduce illegal wood imports into the United States.
Close to 200 million acres/80 million hectares are certified to the SFI forest management standard in North America - making it the largest single forest standard in the world. The SFI 2010-2014 Standard is based on 14 core principles that promote sustainable forest management, including measures to protect water quality, biodiversity, wildlife habitat, species at risk, and Forests with Exceptional Conservation Value. As well as helping program participants meet the SFI Standard's comprehensive requirements, the projects will build knowledge that will become part of future standards.
Since 1995, SFI-certified organizations have invested more than $1.1 billion US for research activities that improve the health, productivity and responsible management of forest resources. The program also responds to diverse local needs across the United States and Canada through a unique network of 37 SFI Implementation Committees.
Marvin Brown, Chair of the SFI Board of Directors and Oregon State Forester, said the Conservation and Community Partnerships Grants complement the work of state and provincial agencies in the United States and Canada. "SFI certification already achieves more on the ground by going beyond legal requirements, and these collaborative projects will take this even further," he said. "It is building on the enthusiasm, creativity and knowledge of conservation groups and others who are keen to find ways to protect all forest values and advance forest management practices."
"This grant initiative demonstrates SFI's leadership - it harnesses the power of its many partnerships to build knowledge and raise understanding that enables all those concerned about responsible forest management and procurement to more effectively deal with emerging issues and opportunities," said Dr. John A. Helms, Professor Emeritus in Forestry at the University of California, Berkeley, and a member of the SFI External Review Panel. "This initiative is one more example of how the SFI program reaches beyond land certification and leads to ensuring that North American forests remain diverse, healthy, and productive."