By: The Working Forest Staff
Washington, D.C. and Ottawa, ON—The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) has announced Chief Conservation Officer Paul Trianosky will retire on July 1. Trianosky helped position SFI as an important contributor to forest conservation and elevated the role that sustainable forest management plays in conversation outcomes. His efforts laid the groundwork for SFI’s focus on the role of forest certification in advancing critical forest values relative to climate change, biodiversity and water.
“Paul has a wonderful way of imparting his conservation knowledge and has contributed extensively to developing the SFI team, strategic programs, and enduring partnerships. His big smile so often signals that we got something right, his critical thinking so often reminds us that we can still do better. While an amazing thought leader and compelling speaker, he never hesitates to roll up his sleeves so we can deliver positive conservation outcomes on managed forest landscapes. Paul will be greatly missed but his legacy will play on,” said Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI.
During Trianosky’s tenure, which began in 2013, he was the driving force behind the rapid growth of SFI’s conservation focus across more than 350 million acres (140 million hectares) of certified forests, and the organization’s role in conserving even larger landscapes. His signature achievement was leading the development of the SFI Conservation Impact Project, which measures the carbon sequestered, biodiversity maintained or recovered, and water purified on the SFI footprint.
“I have really enjoyed working with Paul over many years. He is a true gentleman. He has a knack of always saying the thing I wish I had said! His calm and measured demeanour is guaranteed to help any group advance its thinking without distraction, and his good humour always keeps proceedings light and enjoyable. I only regret I haven’t had a chance to jam with him or hear him play the mandolin yet!” said Mike Parr, President of the American Bird Conservancy and SFI board member.
In May, SFI’s conservation impact work will be recognized at the World Forestry Congress in Seoul, South Korea through a published submission—The SFI Conservation Impact Project: Supporting Forest-Based Solutions for Climate-Change Mitigation and Biodiversity Conservation, authored by Trianosky and Dr Darren Sleep, SFI’s Senior Director of Conservation Science and Strategies.
“It’s great to have our Conservation Impact work acknowledged by the global community in this way. This is an important step toward fully acknowledging the important role of sustainable forest management toward conservation,” said Paul Trianosky, Chief Conservation Officer at SFI.
A hallmark of Trianosky’s career was his ability to engage the wider conservation community to position sustainable forestry as a nature-based solution to conservation challenges. Today, SFI is seen as a proactive advocate for sustainable forestry and is looked to as a consensus-builder and problem-solver for landscape-level conservation in North American forests.
The SFI Conservation Grants Program has been a primary tool for engagement, flourishing under Trianosky’s direction and fostering collaboration between SFI-certified organizations, and conservation and academic researchers. Since 2016, the Conservation Grants program has focused on building an understanding of Conservation Impact and underpinning the SFI standards with the best available science.
The Conservation Impact Sounding Board was another innovation that Trianosky conceived of and developed to engage the conservation community. The Sounding Board helps ensure that Conservation Impact and grant research is robust, grounded in credible science, and resonant with key audiences. Through an open and interactive process, the Sounding Board shapes the work of the Conservation Impact Project and promotes interaction between project leaders and experts from throughout the academic, NGO, and research communities.
Over the coming months, SFI will be evaluating candidates to continue and expand SFI’s collaborative efforts in conservation leadership. Ideal candidates will have a strong network, value partnerships, and have knowledge related to the power of sustainably managed forests in driving positive conservation outcomes, be it climate resiliency, species maintenance/recovery, and/or water quality and quantity. According to Kathy Abusow, “It will be important for SFI to maintain this momentum toward collaborative problem solving, to identify effective leadership, and ensure that we maximize the positive impact of SFI toward forest sustainability and conservation outcomes that truly matter.”