The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) held its annual conference in Ottawa at the end of September. It was the organization’s largest conference ever, with hundreds of attendees. SFI held a joint session with the Canadian Institute of Forestry that brought more than 500 people together. The Canadian Institute of Forestry annual meeting was co-located with the SFI event and the two organizations held several joint sessions.

Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Jim Carr, was present to discuss the importance of the Canadian forest sector, and told the audience: “there is no global solution to climate change without the forest sector.”

Presentations covered topics critical to the future of forests, including:

  • The Power of Community Partnerships
  • Boreal Watersheds and Wildlife Conservation
  • Progressive Aboriginal Relations
  • Driving Innovation in Canadian Forestry
  • Connecting Youth to Forests
  • Species at Risk
  • Provincial Perspectives
  • Conservation of Managed Forest Landscapes
  • Fiber Sourcing
  • Global Policies and Markets
  • Sustainable Building

The conference had multiple examples of innovation in the forest sector — from cross-laminated timber to new measurement tools in conservation, to discussions on maximizing opportunities in the bio-economy. Conservationists and government officials played a key role and their voices were represented on topics such as caribou, biodiversity, birds, and forest health.

In addition to representation from across Canada including the Assistant Deputy Ministers and other provincial officials from British Columbia, Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick, SFI had a wide range of speakers from leading international and conservation organizations. These speakers represented the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), and the Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP). Leaders from the Nature Conservancy of Canada, World Resources Institute (WRI), and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) also joined the program.

In 2018, SFI’s annual conference will be held in Colorado, Oct. 16-18.