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Sustainable Forestry Initiative Releases New Standard

February 2010 By Gail Nickel-Kailing

Sustainable Forestry Initiative released a new forest certification standard supporting sustainable forest management. The result of an 18-month public review, the new SFI 2010-2014 Standard included revisions that:

• Improve conservation of biodiversity

• Address emerging issues such as climate change and bioenergy

• Strengthen fiber sourcing requirements to broaden the practice of sustainable forestry and avoid controversial or illegal offshore fiber sources

• Embrace the Lacey Act amendments to prevent illegal logging

• Expand requirements for logger training

• Expand requirement for support for trained loggers and certified logger programs

The 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.

Some of the revisions include:

Illegal logging: Strengthens illegal logging provisions and includes a definition of illegal logging consistent with amendments to the Lacey Act in the United States.

Fiber sourcing: Strengthens fiber sourcing requirement. SFI program must require the use of trained loggers and resource professionals when fiber is sourced from lands in North America that are not certified.

Logger training: Has expanded logger training requirements to address invasive exotic plants and animals, special sites and emerging technologies and markets such as carbon offsets and bioenergy.

Certified loggers: Recognizes the emergence of logger certification programs, and requires, where possible, that program participants promote and support these programs.

International labor laws: Ensures activities in SFI-certified forests respect the rights of workers and labor representatives according to the core conventions of the International Labour Organization.

Research: Expands the definition of relevant research to include environmental and social benefits, and environmental performance of forest products.

Best management practices: Program participants must follow best management practices, which means there are fewer issues around water quality and soil disturbance.

Forests with exceptional conservation value: Clarifies the term "Forests with Exceptional Conservation Value," and makes it clear they include areas with critically imperiled and imperiled species and communities.

Biodiversity: Promotes the conservation of biodiversity hotspots and high-biodiversity wilderness areas as defined by Conservation International.

Emerging topics: Recognizes that sustainable forestry makes an important contribution to addressing climate change and adapting to changing ecosystems.

 

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