FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 23, 2019
RICHMOND, VA — The Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. (SFI) announced the 2019 SFI Dr. Sharon Haines Memorial Award For Innovation and Leadership in Sustainability at the SFI Annual Conference today. Dr. T. Bently Wigley, retired Vice President of Forestry Programs at the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI), is this year’s winner.
“Bently’s contributions to wildlife and forestry science is extensive and will be influential for decades to come. He was instrumental in setting the precedent for robust, well-designed, and impactful research within the forestry sector, which has contributed significantly to our ability to communicate values of forest management for environmental outcomes with diverse stakeholders and regulatory agencies,” said Darren Miller, Vice President, Forestry Programs at NCASI. “Bently truly was as an ambassador for the forest sector.”
SFI and International Paper created this award to celebrate Dr. Sharon Haines. Sharon was International Paper’s Director of the Office of Sustainability before her sudden passing in 2007.
“The award pays tribute to Sharon’s legacy by recognizing exceptional people like Bently who are leaders when it comes to forward-thinking approaches to sustainability and fostering collaboration,” said Tom Cleves, International Paper’s vice president of global citizenship.
“Bently was always among the first people I would contact when seeking guidance or engagement on scientific investigations,” said Paul Trianosky, Chief Conservation Officer at SFI. “His counsel helped guide the establishment of SFI’s Conservation Impact Project, and specifically contributed to building understanding of conservation outcomes associated with implementation of the SFI standards.”
The SFI Conservation Impact Project is focused on measuring the biodiversity maintained and recovered, the water purified, and the carbon sequestered on forests certified to the SFI Forest Management Standard or managed under the SFI Fiber Sourcing Standard.
These conservation impact projects represent a significant opportunity to quantify and communicate the positive conservation outcomes associated with the almost 370 million acres/150 million hectares of SFI‑certified forestland in the U.S. and Canada and the tens of millions more acres positively influenced by the SFI Fiber Sourcing Standard. Results of the SFI Conservation Impact project will also be considered in the SFI Standard revision process as part of SFI’s commitment to continual improvement and adaptive management.
Wigley joined NCASI in 1990 as a forest wildlife scientist. Prior to that he was an Associate Professor in Forest Wildlife Ecology at the University of Arkansas-Monticello. He holds a Ph.D. in wildlife ecology and botany from Mississippi State University.
“Scientists like Bently have helped the SFI community understand how the SFI Standards address critical conservation issues. It is a pleasure to recognize Bently for the Sharon Haines Memorial Award as both Sharon and Bently dedicated their professional lives to sustainability leadership in the forest sector,” said Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI Inc.