OTTAWA – The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) has opened its annual request for proposals (RFP) for the SFI Conservation and Community Partnerships Grant Program. The grants program supports SFI’s work to promote sustainable forest management through partnerships with conservation groups that are contributing to the understanding of critical links between forests and communities across the range of American and Canadian forests, and community groups working at the intersection of sustainable forestry, responsible procurement and thriving communities.

“SFI is proud to stand with so many partners that lead the way on positively impacting the future of our forests. This new grant cycle allows us to reassert our role as a sustainability leader that is working beyond supply chain assurances to elevate conservation value and foster community engagement,” said Kathy Abusow, president and CEO of SFI. “We look forward to this round of proposals and how they will contribute to our scientific understanding, long-standing commitment to forest research, and shared quality of life.”

Since 2010, SFI has awarded more than 100 grants to foster conservation and community-building projects across North America. When leveraged with project partner contributions, the combined investment exceeds $13.2 million. Applications will be accepted until October 10, 2017. SFI grants are available to academic institutions, non-profit organizations and Indigenous groups.

Download this year’s RFP instructions and criteria.

For SFI Conservation Grant applications, SFI Inc. is placing a priority on projects that measure, demonstrate, or establish methodologies to demonstrate, the conservation-related values of SFI-certified forestlands, or values promoted by the SFI Fiber Sourcing Standard. Particular attention will be paid to applications focused on conservation values in the areas of water, climate change (including both carbon attributes and forest resiliency), and biodiversity.

SFI’s Community Partnerships Grant Program is focused on elevating and enriching the links between people and forests. SFI awards grants to collaborative community-based projects, activities or events that support SFI’s core mission to connect communities to forests. Applications that feature creative partnerships or high degrees of leverage (e.g., matching funds, scale of impact, etc.) are preferred.

In 2016 and 2017, SFI provided 13 conservation grants to academic and non-profit institutions, and 16 community grants.

Several highlights of these grants include:

The Canadian Forest Carbon Assessment, led by the Saskatchewan Research Council, is building a roadmap to conduct a comprehensive carbon-stock assessment for well-managed forests, including those certified to SFI. This project will quantify carbon storage in different forest ecosystems using national and regional data and examine forest management practices that influence carbon stocks.

The Conservation Values of Forests Project, led by NatureServe, will help consolidate and illustrate the biodiversity-related conservation value of forests certified to SFI, ultimately helping stakeholders to understand and communicate conservation outcomes. Findings will also help forest managers improve wildlife habitat across large landscapes.

Marten Monitoring and Youth Knowledge Transfer Program, is an effort led by the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi in Quebec to evaluate the impact of wildlife management guidelines on marten populations and transfer knowledge to Cree youth in the community by combining science and traditional knowledge.

A Guide to Harvesting Family Woodlands, being developed by the Maine SFI Implementation Committee, will be a key tool to conserve forests, educate forest owners and build partnerships among family woodland owners and forest managers.

SFI is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting forest sustainability and supporting the links between sustainable forests and communities through grant programs, carefully targeted research, youth education, supply chain assurances, and partnerships that effectively contribute to multiple conservation objectives.