27 of Wisconsin’s County Forests are 3rd party certified. The 2 smallest County Forests, Vernon and Monroe, have opted out of forest certification. When the process for certification of the County Forests began in 2004, counties could choose their preferred certification system; Sustainable Forestry Initiative®, Forest Stewardship Council® forest certification or dual certification under both systems.
As time goes on counties are allowed to drop or add forest certification according to the wishes of each County Forestry Committee. Each forest certification system has its own principles and standards. An annual forest certification surveillance audit is conducted on a sample group of County Forests. Every 5 years under Forest Stewardship Council® standards and every 3 years under Sustainable Forestry Initiative® standards, the County Forest System undergoes a full audit to ensure compliance with adopted principles and criteria of the respective forest certification systems.
Wisconsin County Forest Program Exceeds Certification Standards for Forest Sustainability
Rhinelander, WI – Results from a third party audit of twenty-seven of Wisconsin’s County Forests are in and for the 11th consecutive year these forests have exceeded the standards for certified forests as set by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI®) and/or Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®). SFI and FSC are two of the most widely recognized forest certification systems in North America. Representatives of NSF-International Forestry Program and Scientific Certification Systems Global Services conducted the evaluations and certification of Wisconsin’s County Forests. Certification means that these forests are managed according to strict environmental, social and economic standards.
According to Jane Severt, Wisconsin County Forests Association Executive Director, “The 2015 certification audit results demonstrate the exemplary efforts individual county forest administrators and their staff make to properly manage these public properties. Collectively, county forests in Wisconsin represent the largest public landholding in the state covering 2.4 million acres.” The focus of the Wisconsin County Forests is to insure the long-term health and sustainability of forest ecosystems while providing benefits to the public. Primary objectives of these forests include resource and timber management, recreational opportunities, wildlife habitat improvement and watershed protection.
Read complete press release for more info: Third Party Audit of WI County Forests