WELLS TOWNSHIP — The Sustainable Forestry Initiative has been certifying forestland across North America for 20 years. The initiative makes sure that companies and people that own forestland are balancing economic, environmental and social interests.

“We’re managing our forests for the long term,” Molpus Timberlands Management property manager Mark Korkko said. “As a forester, I’m here for thirty or forty years in my career, and we’re going to pass that on down to someone in the next generation.”

Logger training is a core aspect of the initiative.

“They’re very well trained and aware of best management practices for water quality and streamside management and a wide variety of issues to ensure and promote responsible harvesting practices,” Sustainable Forestry Initiative president and CEO Kathy Abusow said.

Michigan has more than five million acres of SFI-certified forestland. The vast majority of that land is in the Upper Peninsula.
“I’ll bet you it’s pretty close to 80%, if not even 90%,” Korkko said. “When you take on about two million acres of private forestland as well as about four million acres of state–owned forestland, we’re running pretty high on that.”

The SFI also supports responsible buying of forest products.

“Twenty-six percent of U.S. consumers today recognize (the SFI) logo,” Abusow said. “It’s on a wide variety of forest products that you can find in your local stores, and it’s just a way to say you care about that renewable resource.”

Those forest products include paper items ranging from envelopes to Dixie cups and many more.