WASHINGTON and OTTAWA, Ontario - The future of Southern U.S. forests depends in large part on decisions made today by family forest owners, who account for 62 percent of privately owned forestland in the region. To help promote responsible forestry among this crucial group, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) has awarded a grant to the American Forest Foundation (AFF) to conduct highly targeted outreach to promote sustainable forestry among family forestland owners in North Carolina.

SFI & AFF Announce Project to Promote Longleaf Pine ConservationThis partnership will use several coordinated targeting methods to reach landowners in one or more of the significant landscapes for longleaf pine as identified by the America's Longleaf Conservation Plan. SFI's grant will allow AFF to specifically target and engage landowners in the area most likely to help promote responsible forestry and protect the benefits that come from forests—clean water, clean air, outdoor recreation, wood products, and good paying rural jobs. This project will specifically restore longleaf pine and the important wildlife habitats it supports.

"SFI is proud to support this critically important project in one of the most ecologically significant areas in North Carolina," said Kathy Abusow, SFI President and CEO. "It is another way SFI continues its long-standing support of the American Forest Foundation's work with family and individual forest owners."

"The American Forest Foundation is grateful for this support from SFI. By precisely targeting landowners in ecologically important areas who will be most responsive to outreach we will maximize the opportunity to advance sustainable forestry in North Carolina's forests," said Bettina Ring, Senior Vice President of Family Forests with the American Forest Foundation. "This project engages landowners on a pathway to sustainable forest management by deepening their involvement in current responsible forestry practices, encouraging them to join local and state efforts and promoting access to My Land Plan, the AFF online resource for woodland owners."

In 2010, SFI Inc. first invested $400,000 to create the Conservation and Community Partnerships Grant Program to foster partnerships and conservation research that improve forest management in the United States and Canada, and responsible procurement globally. In a few short years, by leveraging partner contributions, SFI has achieved a total investment of $4.8 million in conservation partnerships and research, supporting more than 40 grants with 150 partners across North America.

About Sustainable Forestry Initiative

SFI Inc. is an independent, nonprofit organization that is solely responsible for maintaining, overseeing and improving the internationally recognized Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) program. Across the United States and Canada, more than 240 million acres/more than 100 million hectares are certified to the SFI forest management standard. In addition, the SFI program's unique fiber sourcing requirements promote responsible forest management on all suppliers' lands. SFI chain-of-custody (COC) certification tracks the percentage of fiber from certified forests, certified sourcing and post-consumer recycled content. SFI on-product labels identify both certified sourcing and COC claims to 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 http://sfiprogram.org/ and at http://sfiprogram.org/buy-sfi/.

About American Forest Foundation

The American Forest Foundation (AFF) works on the ground with families, teachers and elected officials to promote stewardship and protect our nation's forest heritage. A commitment to the next generation unites our nationwide network of forest owners and teachers working to keep our forests healthy and our children well-prepared for the future they will inherit. One of AFF's signature programs is the American Tree Farm System®, a network of 82,000 family forest owners sustainably managing 24 million acres of forestland. ATFS is the largest and oldest sustainable woodland system in the United States, internationally recognized, meeting strict third-party certification standards. Learn more at www.forestfoundation.org.

Source: Sustainable Forestry Initiative


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