Arkansas State Forest earns certification to SFI Forest Management Standard
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA - The Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. (SFI) has announced that Poison Springs State Forest in Arkansas has earned certification to the SFI 2015-2019 Forest Management Standard through a rigorous third-party audit. Certifying to SFI sends a strong signal about Arkansas's commitment to sustainable forest management, conservation, and economic opportunity for its citizens.
SFI's 2015-2019 Forest Management Standard is based upon principles, goals, and performance measures that were developed nationally by professional foresters, conservationists, and others with the intention of promoting sustainable forest management in North America. SFI and its many partners work together to balance environmental, economic, and social objectives such as conservation of wildlife habitat and biodiversity, harvesting forest products, protecting water quality, providing forest industry jobs, and developing recreational opportunities.
"It shows we are working to ensure that our forests will remain healthy and productive for generations to come," said Joe Fox, Arkansas's state forester. "Certification to SFI also boosts our competitive position in national and international markets because we can demonstrate that our forest products come from well-managed forests."
Managed by the Agriculture Department's Forestry Commission, the forest covers over 23,500 acres in western Ouachita and eastern Nevada counties. Managed for multiple uses, including demonstrating good forest management practices, timber production, multiple recreational opportunities, water quality protection, research, and wildlife habitat, the forest received its name from a nearby spring and was the site of a Civil War battle of the same name.
"We are thrilled that the Arkansas Forestry Commission has demonstrated their leadership and commitment to responsible forest management," said Kathy Abusow, president and CEO of SFI Inc. "This state forest is also a showcase for the multiple values that well-managed forests provide such as clean water, healthy habitats, and sustainable jobs."
Being a part of the Arkansas Agriculture Department, the mission of the Arkansas Forestry Commission is to protect Arkansas's forests, and those who enjoy them, from wildland fire and natural hazards while promoting rural and urban forest health, stewardship, development, and conservation for all generations of Arkansans.
The commission joins other public agencies seeking cost-effective and efficient methods to implement and achieve independent SFI certification through the SFI Forest Partners Program which was founded by Time Inc., the National Geographic Society, Macmillan Publishers, and Pearson, with support from Hearst Enterprises.
"By participating in the SFI Forest Partners Program, we are increasing the supply of certified timber and publicly reaffirming our long-standing commitment to responsible forest management," said Fox. "This new certification provides consumers and Arkansans with the assurance that our focus is on conserving and sustaining healthy, productive forests."
The Sustainable Forestry Initiative is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting forest sustainability through grant programs, carefully targeted research, youth education, supply chain assurances, and partnerships that effectively contribute to multiple conservation objectives. SFI stands for future forests and is governed by an independent three-chamber board of directors representing environmental, social, and economic sectors equally. Forests certified to the SFI forest management standard cover 285 million acres while millions more benefit from the SFI Fiber Sourcing Standard.

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About the author
Angeleen Kipfer

Angel Kipfer is an editorial intern at the Woodworking Network.