The Suwannee River Water Management District is pleased to announce that it is the first public entity in the state of Florida to receive certification of its lands under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Standard. A third-party audit was completed in July and found that the District was in conformance with the standard on all of its 160,000 acres of fee-owned lands.
Certification to the SFI Standard assures the public that the lands are being managed in an environmentally and socially responsible manner, and the ability of the land to produce goods and services for future generations is not compromised.
“By becoming certified we are basically solidifying that we are doing a good job with managing the public’s assets,” said SRWMD Forester Randy Hall. “We have been recognized as the first public organization in Florida to achieve this honor.”
In 2003 the District became a SFI participant, and District staff fulfilled a requirement of the program this year by having an independent audit conducted by accredited SFI auditors.
“These audits are rigorous, on-the-ground assessments of an organization’s operations,” said Hall. “It took a lot of effort and hard work to achieve this certification.”
Certification by SFI means international recognition for organizations as well as other benefits such as improved environmental management and documentation of District operations.
The SFI program is based on the premise that responsible environmental behavior and sound business practices can co-exist. SFI is the primary forest certification system adopted by the forest industry. It promotes responsible forest management in North America and responsible procurement globally. The program has 219 participants and 137 million enrolled acres across North America.