HARRISBURG PA – An independent team that completed its annual audit of Pennsylvania forests declared itself pleased with the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ commitment to forestry, exemplary practices and management techniques, department Secretary Richard Allan said Tuesday (Jan. 22, 2013).
Audit results were released this week. The third-party review was conducted during August 2012 by Rainforest Alliance, recognized as the world’s leading forest management certifier. Its certification assures consumers that wood products from the state’s public forests come from a sustainable, well-managed system, which helps Pennsylvania to compete in the growing niche consumer market for “green” label wood products.
A Rainforest Alliance project team consisting of a forestry socio-economic assessor and a wildlife ecologist toured Gallitzen, Clear Creek and Sproul state forest districts. They met with DCNR officials and stakeholders, scoring woodlands on timber-resource sustainability, forest-ecosystem maintenance, financial and socioeconomic considerations and other categories.
“In each of these districts auditors also looked at the overall condition of our forests, roads, trails and infrastructure,” Allan said.
“Forest management faces many threats and challenges, including fragmentation and disturbance, invasive plants, destructive exotic insects and insufficient regeneration,” he said. “The certification process shows we are doing everything we can to improve our management plans and practices. More importantly, it helps us identify areas we can improve to ensure our forests are well managed and in line with stakeholder expectations.”
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