SFI® Supports Ecosystem Restoration through Partnership with The Longleaf Alliance

  SFI® Supports Ecosystem Restoration through Partnership with The Longleaf
                                   Alliance

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, June 17, 2014

WASHINGTON, June 17, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Longleaf Alliance, a
non-profit organization focused on ensuring a sustainable future for the
longleaf pine ecosystem, is the proud recipient of a Sustainable Forestry
Initiative® Inc. (SFI®) 2014 conservation grant. This SFI funding will help
expand the longleaf pine ecosystem by helping landowners maintain and expand
markets for this valuable species.

"The USDA has been working with local partners to restore the longleaf
ecosystem for a long time. We recognize that markets are an essential factor
in motivating landowners to plant longleaf, so we're pleased to see SFI
working with The Longleaf Alliance to provide this important information to
companies that use forest products," said Robert Bonnie, Undersecretary for
Natural Resources and Environment at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Using longleaf pine commercially is absolutely crucial for the long-term
protection and expansion of the ecosystem. The Longleaf Alliance is using SFI
funding to provide landowners with the communication tools and facts they need
to show timber buyers that longleaf pine is being harvested sustainably, and
that active markets are essential to its restoration. The alliance is a
non-profit conservation organization based in Andalusia, Alabama that began as
a program in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences at Auburn University
in 1995.

"The Longleaf Alliance is committed to the sustainable use of longleaf pine as
well as the restoration of the ecosystem.The reality is that private
landowners are planting longleaf for conservation values such as wildlife
habitat, but also for the economic values of the straw and the high-quality
timber," said Robert Abernethy, President of The Longleaf Alliance."The
longleaf ecosystem is growing and we want to maintain that momentum by
expanding markets. This restoration has been achieved by working on our public
lands but also by working on private lands to plant and manage additional
longleaf acres." 

By the early 1990s, only about 2.8 million acres of this once vast and
majestic forest remained. Thanks in large part to the efforts of The Longleaf
Alliance and its many partners over many years, the acreage of longleaf forest
has increased to about 4.4 million acres. America's Longleaf Restoration
Initiative, a state, federal and private partnership, has a goal to protect,
restore or enhance a total of 8 million acres of longleaf pine ecosystems by
2024.

"We are pleased to be able to support The Longleaf Alliance in its efforts to
encourage private landowners to keep planting longleaf pine to serve global
markets, and in turn ensure the restoration and growth of this important
ecosystem," said Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI Inc.

The SFI grant will also enable The Longleaf Alliance to work cooperatively
with partners from the private sector interested in promoting longleaf
restoration, including the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement,
Resource Management Service, LLC, Forest Investment Associates and
International Paper.

The SFI Conservation and Community Partnerships Grant Program fosters
partnerships between organizations interested in improving forest management
in the United States and Canada, and in improving responsible procurement
globally. Funded projects address topics such as improving wildlife habitat
management and conservation of biodiversity, protecting watersheds and
critical flyways for migrating birds, and assisting local communities through
forest education programs and green building projects for low-income families.

Since 2010, SFI has awarded more than 50 conservation partnership grants
totaling more than $1.9 million to foster research and pilot efforts to better
inform future decisions about our forests. When leveraged with project partner
contributions, that total investment exceeds $7.1 million. 

For more information, please visit http://www.sfiprogram.org/grantprogram. 

About Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. (SFI)
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, about 250 million acres 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 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 chain-of-custody 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 atwww.sfiprogram.org and
www.sfiprogram.org/Buy-SFI.

About The Longleaf Alliance
The Longleaf Alliance was established in 1995 when it became apparent that the
interest in the longleaf ecosystem and the tree itself was growing rapidly,
but there wasn't an outlet available for ecologists, foresters, wildlife
biologists, land owners and land managers seeking information or a means to
distribute information. A growing body of anecdotal information, personal
experience and scientific data was being passed on fitfully, and many groups
were not being reached. The Longleaf Alliance was created with the express
purpose of coordinating a partnership between private landowners, forest
industries, state and federal agencies, conservation groups, researchers, and
other enthusiasts interested in managing and restoring longleaf pine forests
for their ecological and economic benefits.

SOURCE Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc.

Contact: Wendy Grover, Vice President, Communications & Marketing, Sustainable
Forestry Initiative Inc., Wendy.Grover@sfiprogram.org, 703-663-0330
 
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