AUGUSTA, Maine — One of the world’s leading forestry certification programs recently recognized Maine for achievements in forest stewardship and outreach to the community.
The Sustainable Forestry Initiative, or SFI, granted its SFI Implementation Committee achievement award to Maine’s committee this fall. Maine’s SFI committee includes representatives from forestry companies, private landowners, public agencies, universities and conservation organizations.
SFI is one of the two best-known independent, sustainable forestry certification programs operating in the U.S. More than 175 million acres of forestland in North America have received SFI certification, including 5.5 million acres in Maine.
“It’s not a surprise that our committee is so active,” Pat Sirois, coordinator of Maine’s SFI Implementation Committee and SFI director for the Maine Forest Products Council, said in a written statement.
“Maine has the highest percentage of certified lands of any state, and three-quarters of these lands meet the SFI forest standard. We owe it to the people of Maine to manage these forestlands well, and involve them in what we are doing.”
SFI recognized Maine’s committee for, among other things:
• Launching the nation’s first toll-free number where the public can seek answers to forestry practices at certain sites.
• Working with the Maine Forest Service to develop a program to monitor “best management practices” for protecting water quality near logging sites.
• Endorsing two SFI-related logger training programs that have been offered to more than 2,500 forestry professionals and landowners.
SFI operates a forest certification program in which landowners are audited to ensure sustainable forest management practices are observed as well as an SFI chain-of-custody certification for products containing certified fiber sources.