On June 30, the National Association of State Foresters submitted comments on the current Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Standards Revision Process:
There is one area of the SFI standards – specific to the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program – that we would like to offer revisions to. In the past five years, several forest products companies have declined to participate in the U.S. Forest Service’s FIA program. As you know, FIA is the nation’s forest census and the most comprehensive national forest inventory system in the world. FIA data is how the forestry community assesses forest health and the spread of non- native insects and diseases, makes economic planning decisions, monitors wildlife habitat, gauges wildfire risk, and assesses rates of land use change; it is a critical tool in documenting sustainability at various scales. State forestry agencies and the Forest Service deliver this program, but it takes full cooperation and participation from all stakeholders in the forestry community to ensure FIA data is as robust and accurate as possible.
Forest products companies and corporate forest landowners use FIA data to make critical investment decisions, but they also have a variety of roles to play in gathering the data. These roles include allowing federal and state measurement crews on company lands to take inventories, responding to FIA Timber Products Output (TPO) mill surveys on roundwood usage, and participating in the National Woodland Owners Survey (NWOS) for corporate forest landowners. For a variety of reasons, the industry’s participation in FIA data gathering, including from many SFI certified entities, has been decreasing. We humbly submit that it should be required for any entity desiring SFI certification to cooperate with and contribute to national level sustainability tracking research programs, such as FIA.
The full text of the comments and the letter in which the comments were enclosed are linked below.