Sustainable forestry is a broad term for management techniques that respect the full range of environmental, social, and economic values of the forest, and seek to meet today's needs without losing any of those values. Sustainable forests maintain all components (trees, shrubs, flowers, birds, fish, wildlife, etc.) as well as ecological processes (nutrient recycling, water and air purification, ground water recharge, etc.) so they can remain healthy and vibrant into the future. A basic part of sustainable forestry is adaptive management, which means that forest managers watch and monitor the forest carefully so that, if future conditions change and the forest shows signs of stress or decline, new management actions can help restore sustainable conditions.
In 2003, Maryland Department of Natural Resources had its first forest certification audit on the Chesapeake Forest Lands. Currently, through independent, third party annual audits, we have over 200,000 acres of Maryland state forests now certified as well-managed according to the two major internationally recognized forest certification systems for public land, Forest Stewardship Council® and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® standards. The FSC® and SFI® are independent organizations.
In June of 2004, the 29,000 acres on the gifted half of Chesapeake Forest Lands was the first piece of public property in the State of Maryland to be dual certified as a Sustainable Forest under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The certification process involved a very detailed review of the entire project by a third party auditor. In the spring of 2005 dual certification under both (SFI) and (FSC) was achieved for the entire 59,000 acre Chesapeake Forest. This certification was modified during the annual audit in April 2017 to include additional acreage which now totals 73,723 acres. In order to be granted certification status, Chesapeake Forest Lands had to meet specific standards of both organizations. Detailed information about each organization (SFI) and (FSC) can be obtained from their respective websites.
For more information about Forest Certification on Maryland’s State Forests click here.