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Pinchot focus areas:

Climate & Energy
National Forest Certification Lessons Learned
National Forest Certification Press Kit
National Forest Certification Study
The 192 million acres of forests in the National Forest System represents over a quarter of the nation’s forests.  Gifford Pinchot played an instrumental role in the expansion of this vast system of U.S. forest reserves, and the formation and mission of the U.S. Forest Service responsible for its stewardship. How these lands are cared for, to what purposes they are dedicated and who benefits, are paramount concerns of the Pinchot Institute. Building on a decade of research on the applicability of forest certification on public lands, the Institute recently completed a groundbreaking series of studies examining management practices on U.S. National Forests.

The study helped better understand whether the adoption of independent third-party certification standards could improve the stewardship of national forests. Private and public forestlands have used certification programs to prove to the public and purchasers of forest products that they are doing a good job.  The U.S Forest Service is in many ways a special case – responsible to the people to provide a broad range of benefits, and subject to a broad range of praise and criticism. 

The case studies evaluated five national forests, through simulated audits using standards of the Forest Stewardship Council and Sustainable Forestry Initiative.  Released in 2007, the study indicated that the selected national forests measured up well against these widely-accepted standards of sustainability. However, according to auditors' reports all of the case study forests, to differing degrees, would need to better implement what they are required to do (and what is already in their plans). Many of these issues would require adjusting priorities and better deploying resources or finding new strategies. In only a couple of instances would existing certification standards induce reconsideration of current policies. The two-year study, which was requested by the Forest Service, is the latest in a ten-year series of Pinchot Institute studies to evaluate the applicability of forest certification programs on public forestlands.  Through 2008 the Institute shared the results in listening sessions around the country, which were sponsored by the Forest Service to help them further explore how certification could help them steward national forests.

To review the certification evaluation reports for each participating case study national forest, please click on the appropriate link below:
  • Allegheny National Forest (FSC)(SFI)
  • Lakeview Federal Stewardship Unit (FSC)(SFI)
  • Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest (FSC)(SFI)
  • Mt. Hood National Forest (FSC)(SFI)
  • National Forests in Florida (FSC)(SFI)
To learn more about the study and its results, click the appropriate link below:
Project Leader: Will Price, Program Director

Related News:
Oct 25, 2007
Pinchot Institute for Conservation Releases National Forest Certification Study Results
Download Press Kit [.pdf]
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