By: The Working Forest Staff
OTTAWA — J.D. Irving was announced as the 2017 winner of the SFI Leadership in Conservation Award during the Sustainable Forestry Initiative‘s annual meeting in Ottawa. This award recognizes SFI program participants across Canada and the U.S. who are involved in strong partnerships focused on conservation.
In 2016, SFI program participants reported on 420 different audited research projects with more than 500 unique partner organizations. JDI collaborated in 68 forest research projects, the highest number of any SFI program participant.
Project highlights include JDI’s award-winning Unique Areas Program, which has grown from 29 sites in the 1980s to more than 1,300 today. The program focuses on protecting unique elements in working forests. The sites are found and mapped by over 100 forestry professionals working in Maine, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The program has four broad objectives: preserving rare and uncommon species and landscape features; monitoring important indicator species; establishing a database of species and natural features; and engaging the public and stakeholders.
JDI is supporting a large study of white-tailed deer through collaboration with six scientists as well as partners in government across New Brunswick and Maine. The deer research is using GPS tracking and extremely accurate forest inventory mapping to look at how deer are using different forest types during summer and winter months. This long-term study will monitor 140 deer and the habitats they choose over the next four years.
“We appreciate this recognition by SFI,” said Jim Irving, Co-CEO of J.D. Irving. “This award is a real tribute to our woodlands team, and the many partners with whom we are proud to work with on research and conservation initiatives. These voluntary investments in science and conservation are a cornerstone of our sustainability commitment and have been part of the way we do business for over 30 years.”
JDI invests $1.5 million annually in forest research. This investment continues to guide best practices on the ground. On average, 12 graduate students and assistants are engaged in research every year on lands owned or managed by JDI. Much of this research is conducted in collaboration with universities, and it seeks to build knowledge that JDI and other forest managers can integrate into adaptive forest management plans that account for species at risk, water quality, wildlife and climate change.
JDI also supports projects funded in part by SFI Conservation Grants. A research partnership with Bird Studies Canada received SFI grant funding to facilitate the monitoring of endangered and threatened bird species, including the piping plover and Bicknell’s thrush, on JDI and adjacent government lands. Another project received SFI grant funding to help FPInnovations work with JDI on continuous improvement of harvesting techniques. FPInnovations is a non-profit forest research institute with partners across Canada.
J.D. Irving is a group of enterprises with business units in agriculture, construction, consumer products, forestry and forest products, shipbuilding and transportation.
Photo: The J.D. Irving team accepts the SFI award at the group’s annual meeting.