Two independent agencies have determined the Indiana Division of Forestry meets or exceeds sustainability standards for the tenth year in a row.
Every year, the Sustainable Forest Initiative and the Forest Stewardship Council send auditors to the state forests to evaluate how they’re managed. The SFI audits forests in North America while the FSC audits based on international standards of forest sustainability.
“It just sort of verifies what we’ve been telling the public, that we’ve done a pretty good job.”
They look at a long list of criteria, like the Division of Forestry’s strategic plan, how much of the forest is harvested for timber sales, and forest worker safety.
Division of Forestry Director John Seifert says they initiated the yearly audits 10 years ago even though they aren’t mandatory.
“To have someone outside the state of Indiana kind of give us an overview of our compliance with environmental laws, environmental oversight, make sure we’re in compliance with best management practices on the state forest system,” he says.
Seifert says they haven’t significantly changed their management program since the audits began.
“It just sort of verifies what we’ve been telling the public, that we’ve done a pretty good job,” he says. “There’s always room for improvement and that’s what it’s all about, taking the best science and getting public input and then managing the forest long-term.”
For the 2016 reports, auditors spent four days in Yellowwood, Morgan-Monroe, Owen-Putnam and Green-Sullivan state forests.
Read the complete reports below. Previous year audits are available here.