Forest certification initiatives in Wisconsin received national honors from the Forest Stewardship Council with presentation of the 2016 FSC Leadership Award to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources at the recent national Greenbuild conference.
The Forest Stewardship Council is an independent nonprofit organization created in 1993 to help consumers and businesses identify products from well-managed forests.
"The FSC Leadership Awardsrecognize organizations and people who distinguish themselves in efforts to promote responsible forest management,"said Corey Brinkema, president of the Forest Stewardship Council US. "The FSC leaders show that with a bit of creativity and dedication, it's possible to make a big difference for our forests, wildlife and communities."
He added that "award winners show we can conserve forests, even as we use forest products in our daily lives."
"An important role of the state forestry program is to evaluate various certification efforts targeting sustainable forestry practices that contribute to the state's economy while providing a variety of ecological and social benefits," said Darrell Zastrow, acting Forestry Division administrator with Wisconsin DNR. "We're honored to receive this national award recognizing the agency's leadership in sustainable forestry."
The Forest Stewardship Council award recognizes DNR for long-term dedication to responsible forest management on state forest lands and for managing the world's largest group certificate under the Managed Forest Law program.
More than 6.5 million acres of forest land in Wisconsin are third-party certified as sustainably managed under one or more of the three major forest certification systems used in the United States. Wisconsin DNR lands (1,551,440 acres) and Wisconsin county forest lands (1,483,893 acres in 27 counties) are dual certified under the Forest Stewardship Council and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative standards.
Forest landowners enrolled in the state's Managed Forest Law program (38,474 private landowners holding 2,595,142 forested acres) participate in the American Tree Farm System and Forest Stewardship Council group certification programs.
"Each of these three systems provides assurance to the public that Wisconsin forests are being cared for responsibly to promote environmentally sound, socially beneficial and economically prosperous practices," Zastrow said. "This award really recognizes the partnership work of all forest landowners to implement sustainable forestry practices on the 17.1 million acres of forestland in Wisconsin."
For more information, visit the DNR website at dnr.wi.gov, keyword "forest certification" or contact DNR Forest Certification Coordinator Mark Heyde, Mark.Heyde@Wisconsin.gov, 608-267-0565.