SFI Is Helping to Develop Forest Management Tools to Mitigate Climate Change
The Forest Climate Resiliency Project
Why This Project Matters
Managed forests have a major role to play in creating a planet that is resilient to a changing climate. Forests absorb about one-third of the world’s annual carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, accounting for as much as 45% of the carbon stored on land, and providing the principal means for mitigating the effect of greenhouse gases. This project will develop and test a scalable approach for assessing forest resilience to climate change, demonstrating the adaptation and mitigation value of well managed forests.
How the Project Helps Address Climate Change
The project will provide SFI Program Participants and others with a simple approach to establishing baseline conditions, assessing overall resilience of forests to a changing climate, and monitoring the effects of a changing climate over time. These steps will enable forest managers to include climate change mitigation in forest planning and management. As our climate changes, actively managed forests provide an extraordinary mechanism for humans to assist ecosystem adaptation to climate change by planting trees that will thrive in these shifting conditions. In addition to maintaining ecosystem health, vigorously growing forests act more effectively as a carbon sink to help mitigate rising CO2 levels.
An SFI Conservation and Community Partnerships Grant is supporting climate change research in partnership with scientists from Manomet, a leading conservation organization. Manomet, in turn, is partnering with the Maine SFI Implementation Committee, as well as SFI Program Participants Resource Management Service, LLC, Hancock Timber Resource Group, and Lyme Timber Company. These landowners will provide in-kind support to establish study sites on their lands in the U.S. Northeast. They will also assist in gathering climate and forest trend data.
These results will be compared to regional data sources such as USDA Forest Inventory and Analysis, Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, Landsat, and where available, LIDAR data. The status and trends observed on the SFI sites will be established through existing forest monitoring data and new information collected by Manomet in conjunction with forest managers.
How the Project Helps Forest Managers
Climate change has the potential to diminish forest ecosystem services and productivity. This project will establish a clear link between sustainable management under SFI, and the resiliency of forests to climate change. Collaboration between SFI Program Participants, through leadership by Manomet, provides a path forward in the pursuit of adaptation and resiliency. This project will also provide communication opportunities to help forest managers build understanding of adaptation techniques that improve forest health and resiliency.
Manomet will produce a scalable framework that assesses forest resilience using forest health and productivity metrics. This framework will also facilitate measurement against baseline conditions to assess contributions of SFI certified forestlands. Benefits of this approach include the ability to:
- quantify the characteristics of lands certified to SFI that confer climate resilience
- highlight where these certified lands illustrate high levels of performance in ensuring ecosystem resiliency
- provide management insight through enhanced understanding of the changing context of regional climate and forest trends
- facilitate climate awareness and proactive responses on the part of the SFI community
This partnership includes conservation NGO’s and industry to assure forest health in the face of climate change. These partners include:
- Project lead: Manomet
- Sustainable Forestry Initiative
- Hancock Timber Resource Group (SFI Program Participant)
- Lyme Timber Company (SFI Program Participant)
- Maine SFI Implementation Committee
- Resource Management Service, LLC (SFI Program Participant)
- Learn how Manomet’s Climate Smart Land Network is helping landowners manage their land for climate resilience.
- At COP21 in Paris, international governments recognized and acknowledged the key role that resilient forests play in mitigating climate change.