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Pennsylvania SFI Implementation Committee Update

Posted: January 11, 2019

One way to make sure forests are managed well, especially forests not certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®), is to ensure the people on the ground – specifically, professional timber harvesters – are trained well.

Logger training has been a foundational principle of the SFI program since its start in 1995. Program participants must make sure their staff and contractors are properly trained, and they must be part of a local SFI Implementation Committee (SIC) to improve training. If they source fiber from uncertified lands, they must encourage the landowner to use SFI Qualified Logging Professionals. SFI is the only forest certification program in North America with these requirements.

The Pennsylvania SIC has organized countless logger training programs over the last 20-plus years. Since 1995, more than 7,000 people have participated in Pennsylvania SFI training, representing over 150,000 hours of combined training time. In 2018 alone, more than 600 individuals participated in trainings held across Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania SIC continues to provide high quality educational opportunities through our training program by partnering with experts in related fields. Penn State professors and extension educators, wildlife specialists, staff from numerous county conservation districts, and experts from the logging and finance industries help supply professional training on sustainable forest management, chainsaw felling safety, best management practices, GPS technology, equipment maintenance safety, timber measurement, boundary lines and deeds, threatened and endangered species, habitat management, logger rescue, and business management.

Evaluations collected after each training session demonstrate that everyone learned something new, with 64% of participants indicating that either a moderate amount or a great deal of new knowledge was gained about the various subjects covered by the training program. When asked how likely the participants were to use or implement an idea or practice gained from training, 57% indicated they are either somewhat likely or very likely to use or implement an idea or practice within the next year, and another 29% indicated they absolutely would.

Well-educated and well-prepared timber harvesters are critical to the management of Pennsylvania’s forests. Our training participants working across Pennsylvania are implementing the new things they learn through our training program on a daily basis. Landowners and consulting foresters should seek out SFI Qualified Logging Professionals as the best bet for providing quality timber harvesting services. If you are interested in verifying if a particular logger or forester maintains a current status as an SFI Qualified Logging Professional in Pennsylvania, you can visit the Pennsylvania SFI online database.

Contact Information

Chuck Coup
  • PA Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Implementation Committee Program Manager