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Conservation Impact Project


To facilitate good decision-making, and to help make the case for the value of sustainability, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) began work in 2015 to quantify the conservation benefits of its work, and the connection between sustainable supply chains and important conservation outcomes. By clarifying these conservation attributes, SFI will help make the link between well-managed forests and the public benefits that affect each of us every day.

The motivations to measure conservation values are diverse: brand owners seek to understand the impact of their sourcing; conservation stakeholders can engage more effectively if they understand the values that certification can provide; and improved tracking will better equip SFI to provide sustainability related metrics and contribute meaningfully to conservation outcomes.

Formally announced at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in September of 2016, The Conservation Impact Project actually consists of numerous smaller projects, generated by partnerships within the academic, conservation and research community, and include SFI’s own Program Participants. 


Focus on Critical Conservation Attributes

To ensure focus of the Conservation Impact project, SFI reviewed potential topic areas with key non-profit partners, the academic community, SFI Program Participants, the SFI External Review Panel, and select brand owners to determine focus areas that would resonate best with the broadest range of constituents. Recognizing the complexity of assessing conservation values across the enormous footprint of SFI’s work, SFI determined to focus investigations in three areas:

SFI will engage directly with uniquely qualified research institutions, and additionally utilize its Conservation and Community Partnerships Grant Program to engage researchers, and attract creative approaches to quantify conservation impact.



The Conservation Impact Sounding Board

For guidance on this work, SFI has convened a diverse group of scientists, drawn from academia, public agencies, the non-profit conservation community, SFI Program Participants and SFI leadership.
This “Sounding Board” will help ensure transparency and provide direct input into project development. The Sounding Board does not have a formal structure but is intended as an open process to help shape this important work and promote interaction directly between project leaders and experts from a diverse variety of backgrounds. By design, participation in the Sounding Board is flexible and carries no long-term participation requirements – we continue to take an inclusive approach towards experts that can add knowledge and critical thinking. Effective measurement of Conservation Impact must be founded in credible science but is also be characterized by resonance with key audiences. The Sounding Board plays a critical role in ensuring both.

Past participants in Sounding Board meetings have included representatives from: NatureServe, American Bird Conservancy, American Forests, Conservation Management Institute at Virginia Tech,  Foothills Research Institute, GreenBlue, Manomet, National Council for Air and Stream Improvement,  University of Alberta, University of Georgia, The Conservation Fund, U.S. Forest Service, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Nature Conservancy Canada, University of Toronto, Stephen F. Austin University, The Sustainability Consortium, and many others.

The Sounding Board was first convened in June 2015, with interactive workshops held at least once annually since then. To learn more about the Sounding Board, please see the links below. You can also email Rocco Saracina, Manager of Conservation Partnerships, to express interest in being added to the Sounding Board distribution list. 

Sounding Board Documents:

Summary Report of Sounding Board Activities

Sounding Board Press Releases:


Conservation Impact Webinar Series

In December 2017, SFI launched the Conservation Impact Webinar Series to facilitate engagement and share project results. These quarterly webinars focus on one or more projects within one of the three topic areas. Webinars are recorded and are available below. You can email Rocco Saracina, Manager of Conservation Partnerships, to learn more or be added to SFI’s webinar distribution list.  

Recordings of concluded webinars are included here:

December 2017: Vernal Pools and Rapid Biodiversity Assessments using LiDAR, presented by The University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) and Nature Conservancy Canada (NCC).

Click here for recording.



February 2018: Canadian Forest Carbon Assessment, Presented by Saskatchewan Research Council.

Click here for recording.


June 2018: Quantifying Impacts of SFI Fiber Sourcing in Georgia, Presented by Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Georgia.

Click here for recording.


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