Released today, the 2016 SFI Progress Report –Linking Future Forests to Communities – tells the story of how responsible forestry is helping improve our shared quality of life. The 400 different conservation and research projects reported by SFI Program Participants in 2015, up from 291 projects in 2014, is just one of the powerful stories outlined in this year’s report. These projects, involving more than 500 partner organizations, benefit communities, habitats and multiple species, ranging from woodpeckers and salmon to bears and caribou.
These projects are also part of a much bigger story. SFI is working toward a future where the global forest community has addressed deforestation and illegal logging and given people a sense of pride in purchasing forest products derived from a responsibly managed renewable resource. “I think our progress report can be viewed as a guidepost to delivering on the promise of that future forest,” said Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI Inc.
Well-managed forests store carbon, clean the air we breathe and the water we drink, provide habitat for a multitude of species and give us products and jobs that are vital to our economic success. They also give us almost unlimited possibilities for recreation.
“The more we appreciate how forests touch each of our lives every day, the more we will make responsible choices on their behalf. Our progress report helps get the message out that people in the SFI community care about forests and are doing great things for future forests,” Abusow said. The diverse SFI community includes landowners, land managers, brand owners, academics, community builders, Indigenous leaders, conservationists, youth, government officials, architects and many others. Their stories – and the story of the SFI Program – unfold in the pages of the report, presented this year in an 18-month calendar format. SFI Program Participants are required to complete detailed surveys that allow SFI to present a comprehensive picture of the ways our community addresses environmental, social and economic priorities.
Surveys of SFI Program Participants reflect a wealth of achievements. For example, SFI Program Participants invested $57 million in forest research. Training was provided for more than 10,000 resource and harvesting professionals. SFI standards were used by 31 Indigenous communities across North America. And 95% of land certified to SFI was available for recreation. Youth were engaged in a variety of ways, including through SFI partnerships with universities and Boy Scouts of America and by sponsoring students to attend the SFI annual conference.
The SFI Progress Report also reflects the critical role played by an arms-length external review panel comprised of independent experts from conservation, professional, academic and public organizations. One of its duties is to ensure the annual SFI Progress Report objectively and credibly states the status of SFI Program implementation.