Tennessee's State Forests Earn Sustainable Forestry Initiative Certification

Monday, June 08, 2020 | 12:48pm
Natchez Trace timber harvest

NASHVILLE — All of Tennessee’s 15 state forests are now certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Forest Management Standard. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Division of Forestry announced that all state forests—covering 168,359 acres—passed the third-party audit for forestry management practices. This independent certification assures that forests are managed sustainably, which is essential for clean water, wildlife habitat, and market access.

“We are proud of our state forest management team’s efforts to achieve certification with SFI,” Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M. said. “It means we are following a strict set of requirements and rules that ensure our land and resources are managed responsibly and sustainably. Certification is a key tool in helping our forests remain healthy and productive for generations to come.”

SCS Global Services conducted the audit required for certification. The company specializes in third-party environmental and sustainability certification with 30 years of experience in forest management assessment.

“Based on a rigorous evaluation of forest management practices, which included site inspections, extensive documentation review, and stakeholder consultation, we are pleased to confirm that the Tennessee Department of Agriculture's state forest lands qualified for SFI certification," SCS Global Services’ Director of Forest Management Brendan Grady said. ”This leadership at the state level sets an example for public and private forest management and serves as a vital link in the chain of bringing sustainably-produced forest products to market.”

Certification under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative helps the Division of Forestry maximize the positive impacts of managed forests and meet high standards to address social, economic and environmental impacts.

“The Division of Forestry has a long history of improving degraded lands and making them healthy and productive forests,” State Forest Unit Leader Philip Morrissey said. “SFI Certification is an independent verification that we manage all resources on state forest lands so that those resources are continually evaluated, protected and utilized to best meet the long-term needs of Tennesseans.”

About the Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Division of Forestry

The Division of Forestry promotes the responsible use of forest resources by assisting landowners, providing quality seedlings, monitoring insects and diseases, improving urban forests, managing state forests, protecting water quality, and collecting forest inventory data. The Division also works to promote primary and secondary forest industries to stimulate the state’s economy. This is in addition to its public safety role in protecting Tennessee’s forests by fighting wildfires, coordinating all hazard emergency response, providing prescribed fire guidance and contract services, as well as wildland fire training. Visit www.tn.gov/agriculture/forests for more information.

About the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) Inc.

SFI Inc. advances sustainability through forest-focused collaborations. We are an independent, non-profit organization that demonstrates our commitment to forests through our work in standards, conservation, education, and community. SFI works with the forest sector, conservation groups, academics, researchers, brand owners, resource professionals, landowners, educators, local communities, Indigenous Peoples, and governments to achieve a vision of a world that value and benefits from sustainably managed forests. Learn more at www.sfiprogram.org.