Partnering to Improve Climate Change Benefits of Working Forests

Assessing and monitoring the influence of forest management practices on soil productivity, carbon storage and conservation in the Acadian Forest Region
Why this project matters
Well-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 examines the impact of the SFI Forest Management Standard and the SFI Fiber Sourcing Standard to enhancing climate adaptation, and carbon-related conservation values. How well-managed forests contribute to climate change mitigation is an important ongoing question. Clarification of these values will help make the case for sustainable forest management, and carbon storage, regardless of whether a given forest is participating in the carbon market. Increasing our knowledge related to forests and climate change has the potential to make a real difference in forest management practices implemented on the ground, and in mitigating one of the most pressing global environmental challenges.
How the project helps our understanding of forest management and climate change
The research team will use empirical soils data from across the Acadian Forest Region to inform SFI objectives and measures related to soil productivity, carbon storage, and conservation. Specifically, the project will evaluate the influence of different forest management practices and site qualities on short-term soil carbon stocks as well as on soil health and conservation of the soil resource across research installations in Maine.
SFI’s contribution
SFI has an interest in advancing our shared understanding of the contribution well-managed forests make toward climate change mitigation. Research initiatives currently underway by SFI and by SFI Program Participants are actively developing clearer links between the value of growing, sustainable forests and climate change. Managed forests certified to SFI provide climate change mitigation benefits over time by adhering to high environmental standards, which ensure that harvested areas are regenerated.
How the project helps forest managers
Climate change has the potential to diminish forest ecosystem services and productivity. Ultimately, this work will identify forest management practices, soils, and geographic regions that most influence soil productivity, carbon storage, and related conservation values in the Acadian Forest Region. By integrating a network of existing and new sites for monitoring the effects of forest management practices on soils, continual research-based refinements could be made to forest management practices or guidelines.
These results are expected to enlighten our understanding of best forest management practices for added carbon, which is a compelling story and will be valuable to SFI Program Participants who want to communicate their contributions to climate change mitigation. Future potential certification of additional sites in Maine could contribute to the creation of new demonstration sites and teaching tours relative to this work and other SFI objectives related to UMaine’s University Forest.
This partnership includes academics, conservationists, researchers and forestry professionals.
Project lead: University of Maine
Sustainable Forestry Initiative
Cooperative Forestry Research Unit
Center for Research on Sustainable Forests
Northeastern Soil Monitoring Cooperative
University of Toronto
Related information
Keeping Maine’s Forests: Preparing for the Carbon Market in Forests Certified to the SFI Standard.
SFI Is Working to Give Land Managers the Data They Need to Mitigate Climate Change: The Canadian Forest Carbon Assessment.
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.
About University of Maine
Founded in 1865, the University of Maine is a land and sea grant institution, and the flagship campus of the University of Maine System. It is Maine’s only research university. Its world-class faculty are leading scholars and researchers in their fields, helping address issues globally and locally.
UMaine’s commitment to public service ignites passion in students and puts research to work in communities statewide and across the globe. Located in Orono along the banks of the Stillwater River, this vibrant and dynamic university serves Maine, the nation, and the world through its teaching, research and outreach mission. UMaine students come from every county in Maine, more than 49 other states and 67 countries.