WASHINGTON and OTTAWA, Feb. 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Grants were announced today for 19 projects to help further understanding of the conservation benefits of managed forests, and to strengthen the connection between communities and forests. The grants were made as part of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc.'s Conservation and Community Partnership Grants Program. These grants represent collaborations between SFI Inc., SFI Program Participants, and partner organizations throughout North America.
"Our conservation grants advance SFI's long-standing commitment to forest research. These projects provide the science-based data that resource professionals need to improve forest management, and to assess the value of that work," said Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI Inc. "Our community grants represent SFI's unique role at the intersection of sustainable forestry, responsible procurement and thriving communities. SFI engages local communities through a variety of initiatives including youth outreach, forest education programs, and green building projects for low-income families."
This year's suite of SFI Conservation Grants helps focus on the connection between sustainable supply chains and the natural resource values we all care about, like water quality, biodiversity, wildlife habitat, species at risk, and forests with exceptional conservation value. These projects are a joint effort by the grantees, SFI Inc., and SFI Program Participants, who manage more than a quarter billion acres/100 million hectares of forest across North America and source fiber from millions more.
- American Bird Conservancy is showing how sustainable forest management can benefit habitats for bird species at risk in the U.S. Southeast and Pacific Northwest. Building on a 2014 SFI Grant, ABC will spearhead pilot projects to quantify and improve the value of forests certified to SFI for bird species of conservation interest.
- Alberta's fRI Research is using support from SFI to identify ways to link landscapes to help woodland caribou increase their range and repopulate managed forests.
- Quebec's Laval University, SFI and its partners are helping aboriginal communities and forest companies cooperate to expand opportunities for aboriginal forestry workers.
- Keeping Maine's Forests is helping fight climate change by examining which carbon credit programs have been used in Maine and how SFI Program Participants might be able to benefit from them.
- Nature Conservancy of Canada is showing how sustainably managed forests certified to SFI can offer big biodiversity benefits for small vernal pools and the amphibians that live there.
- The Nature Conservancy is teaming up with SFI to help at-risk youth prepare for jobs as forest technicians, while restoring conservation values in native forests.
- The Saskatchewan Research Council is showing how forested wetlands certified to SFI are helping to sequester carbon and mitigate climate change.
- The University of Georgia is quantifying how the SFI Fiber Sourcing Standard and logger training are influencing statewide best management practices that protect critical drinking water supplies.
- The University of Northern British Columbia is using remote-sensing laser technology to measure and rapidly evaluate biodiversity in forests certified to SFI.
SFI Community Grants bring communities and youth together to shape a sustainable future. Getting kids into the woods is good for forests and good for kids. SFI is also focused on promoting respect for traditional Aboriginal values and on helping provide sustainable housing for low-income families. These projects include SFI Program Participants and community organizations that have partnered with SFI in the past, as well as new partners dedicated to connecting communities with nature.
- The Alabama Forestry Foundation and SFI are helping loggers and foresters understand the importance of threatened species and sensitive ecosystems through events and hands-on learning opportunities in the forest.
- With support from SFI, Clemson University Habitat for Humanity and 500 students are building a new home for a low-income family that will be unveiled at the homecoming football game.
- Cornell University is engaging at-risk youth to build bird nest boxes using SFI-sourced lumber and developing a free online curriculum to engage more youth in bird conservation.
- An SFI grant will help Earth Rangers deliver their School Assembly Program to over 200,000 students across Canada, bringing forest conservation to life with dynamic live animals and high quality content.
- The Fédération des producteurs forestiers du Québec is using support from SFI to update forestry practices for a private woodlots field guide that could reach more than 130,000 woodlot owners.
- The Mississippi Forestry Foundation will facilitate a course where Mississippi State University architecture students design a state-of-the-art wood building that links sustainable forest management to green building practices.
- Washington State's Muckleshoot Tribe is using an SFI grant to help build an education facility to promote responsible forestry and traditional values, and connect youth to their land and culture.
- The National Wild Turkey Federation and SFI are using community outreach to help people become forest stewards to promote healthy habitats for wild turkeys and other animals.
- Baltimore's Parks & People Foundation is using an urban forest to teach inner-city youth the importance of environmental stewardship and help strengthen their connection to the forest, with help from SFI.
- The San Carlos Apache Forest Resources Youth Outreach Program is being supported by SFI to promote the link between sustainable forestry, cultural heritage and empowering Tribal youth.
About the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® Inc. (SFI)
SFI® Inc. is an independent, nonprofit organization that is solely responsible for maintaining, overseeing and improving the internationally recognized SFI program. SFI works collaboratively with conservation groups, local communities, youth, resource professionals, landowners and countless other organizations and individuals who share our passion for and commitment to responsible forest management. Since 1995, SFI Program Participants have invested more than $1.5 billion in sustainable forestry research. Across the United States and Canada, more than 280 million acres/110 million hectares are certified to the SFI Forest Management Standard, of which 97% is available for recreation. In addition, sustainable forestry is promoted through the SFI Fiber Sourcing Standard and the SFI Chain-of-Custody Standard. SFI on-product labels help consumers make responsible purchasing decisions. SFI Inc. is governed by a three-chamber board of directors representing environmental, social and economic sectors equally. Learn more at sfiprogram.org and sfiprogram.org/Buy-SFI.
SOURCE Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc.