SFI Celebrates Success of Conservation Grant Program and Invites 2011 Applications



WASHINGTON, Jan. 11, 2011 /CNW/ -- Less than a year after launching its Conservation and Community Partnerships Grants program, the independent Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) forest certification program is celebrating achievements to date - and inviting applications for 2011.

"SFI Inc. anticipated far-reaching benefits through the grant program because we know first-hand how building conservation and community partnerships can lead to tangible, on-the-ground results," SFI President and CEO Kathy Abusow said today. "To say we are impressed with project outcomes so far is an understatement."

Today, SFI Inc. builds on this success by opening its 2011 Request for Proposals for Conservation and Community Partnerships Grants, inviting applications for projects that address current topics of importance to the SFI program, such as the role of certified forests in emerging bioenergy markets; avoidance of controversial sources, such as illegal logging, in the global supply chain; improved wildlife habitat management and conservation of biodiversity, and community-based projects such as those that address management of culturally important lands. There is also a new category to support smaller projects such as forestry educational programs for children and green building projects for low-income residents, with five to seven grants available in amounts up to $5,000. In 2011, SFI Inc. will award up to $200,000 in new grants.

The 2011 RFP and the latest information about the SFI Conservation and Community Partnerships Grant program are posted at www.sfiprogram.org/conservation-grant/index.php. The deadline for 2011 grant applications is Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011.

"One of the best ways to keep our forests strong and healthy is to give those who care about them a chance to work together," said Charles Tattersall (Tat) Smith Jr., Professor, Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto, and a member of the SFI Board of Directors. "One of the real strengths of the SFI program is its willingness to provide opportunities for diverse groups to collaborate so they can broaden our knowledge and make a difference."

Last year, SFI Inc. awarded nine grants totaling $307,500 in funding for 2010, including some multi-year projects that brought the total commitment to $675,000 over three years. Through the involvement of partners, these projects will leverage additional resources and achieve a total value of almost $2.7 million.

Current achievements and upcoming deliverables from the 2010 SFI Grant Recipients include:

    --  Bird Studies Canada harnessed 327,000 volunteer hours to collect data
        to improve management of forest habitats for endangered bird species.
    --  Wildlife management students at Clemson University evaluated the
        effects of select silvicultural practices on wildlife habitat, and the
        findings are being shared with forest landowners on the university's
        website (www.clemson.edu/public/whip/)
    --  The British Columbia Ministry of Environment, working with South Coast
        Conservation Program, reviewed 1,200 grizzly bear habitats along
        British Columbia's Pacific Coast to assist with ecosystem management.
    --  The Ruffed Grouse Society sponsored two Wisconsin Coverts workshops
        where 49 private forest landowners learned how to manage their lands
        better support wildlife, and pledged to pass the knowledge on to
        hundreds of others.
    --  The National Council for Air and Stream Improvement examined the
        relationship between species at risk and habitat in the Southwest,
        Pacific Northwest and Great Lakes regions.
    --  Forest Trends and the World Resources Institute will develop resources
        to help U.S. organizations navigate legality in the global supply
        and avoid illegal sources of fiber.
    --  The American Chestnut Foundation will plant the first blight-resistant
        American chestnuts in the southeastern United States, with a web-based
        database to monitor and assess the test plantings.
    --  The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation will achieve habitat gains
        for birds and wildlife dependent on younger forests, with access to as
        much as 175 million acres/71 million hectares of certified forests.


Daniel Petit, director of the Bird Conservation Initiative for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, said the grant project will have a measureable, positive impact on bird species of high national significance. "Thanks to the SFI grant program, we are able to work with conservation groups, government agencies and 30 SFI program participants in 14 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces to provide high-value habitat for migratory birds," he said.

The SFI 2010-2014 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, and encourages community involvement. The SFI program is the only forest certification standard in North America that requires participants to support and engage in research activities to improve forestry forest health, productivity and sustainable management of forest resources. Since 1995, SFI-certified organizations have contributed more than $1.1 billion (US) for research activities that support forestry research, science and technology.


    About SFI Inc.


SFI Inc. is an independent 501c(3) non-profit charitable organization, and is solely responsible for maintaining, overseeing and improving the internationally recognized Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) program (www.sfiprogram.org). Across North America, more than 180 million acres/73 million hectares are certified to the SFI forest management standard, making it the largest single standard in the world. SFI chain-of-custody certification tells buyers how much certified, responsibly sourced and/or recycled content is in a product. The SFI program's unique fiber sourcing requirements promote responsible forest management on all suppliers' lands. SFI Inc. is governed by a three-chamber board of directors representing environmental, social and economic sectors equally.



SOURCE Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Inc.

For further information: Allison Welde, Director, Conservation Partnerships and Communications, +1-202-596-3452 Web Site: http://www.sfiprogram.org

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Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Inc.

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