IUCN Approves SFI for Membership, Advancing Sustainable Forestry and Conservation Science

WASHINGTON, April 14, 2016 /CNW/ -- The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) has been granted membership in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), an organization devoted to helping the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environmental and development challenges. IUCN is the world's oldest and largest global environmental organization, with almost 1,300 government and NGO members and more than 15,000 volunteer experts in 185 countries.

"We are so pleased to join this network of conservation-minded organizations. Biodiversity conservation is central to both IUCN's and SFI's mission. SFI is committed to quantifying the conservation impact of certified forests and responsible sourcing of forest products through programs such as the SFI Fiber Sourcing Standard. Membership in IUCN will give us access to important tools and expertise to help this work," said Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI Inc.

Forests managed to the SFI Forest Management Standard now constitute over 280 million acres (100 million hectares) across North America from Canada's boreal forest to the U.S. southeast, providing habitat for wide-ranging species and flyways for migratory birds. This vast scale also offers the potential to amplify the importance of SFI's effort to enumerate the conservation-related values of SFI certified forests.

SFI is the only forest certification program that requires participants to support research to improve forest health, productivity, conservation understanding, and sustainable management of forest resources. SFI's Program Participants engage in a tremendous array of projects every day that help conserve the diversity of habitats, protect water quality, and sustain other important aspects of North America's great natural heritage.

"We are pleased to welcome SFI as an IUCN member. Their work on measuring conservation values in production forests is an important contribution to the delivery of global conservation efforts," said Stewart Maginnis, IUCN Global Director – Nature-based Solutions Group.

SFI will also be participating in the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2016 Sept 1-10. Taking place every four years, this event is considered the "Olympics of conservation." This is the first time it will be in the United States.

The congress theme is "Planet at the crossroads." With IUCN seeking solutions for nature conservation and sustainable development, participation in the IUCN Congress will be significantly influenced by the UN Sustainable Development Goals adopted in September 2015, which include specific objectives relative to forests. Particular attention will be directed to goals that are nature-based and focused on clean water, climate action, life below water and life on land. 

"Clean water, climate action and biodiversity are key areas for SFI. We are looking forward to the IUCN Congress as a way to initiate SFI's membership in IUCN. Participating will help build SFI's own conservation knowledge and capacity and enable us to contribute to global goals as they relate to the conservation of working forests," said Paul Trianosky, Chief Conservation Officer at SFI.

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 at the intersection of sustainable forests, thriving communities and responsible procurement and works collaboratively with conservation groups, local communities, resource professionals, landowners and countless other organizations and individuals who share our passion for and commitment to responsible forest management. The SFI Forest Management Standard includes measures to protect water quality, biodiversity, wildlife habitat, special sites, species at risk, forests with exceptional conservation value, and indigenous people's rights. In addition, sustainable forestry is promoted through the SFI Fiber Sourcing Standard and the SFI Chain-of-Custody Standard. SFI Inc. is governed by a three-chamber board of directors representing environmental, social and economic sectors equally. Learn more at sfiprogram.org.

SOURCE Sustainable Forestry Initiative

For further information: Elizabeth Woodworth, Vice President - Communications and Community Engagement, Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc., media@sfiprogram.org, Tel: 202-596-3452, http://www.sfiprogram.org

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