Dr. Puneet Dwivedi Receives the SFI Leadership in Conservation Award for Advancing Knowledge and Understanding of the Value of SFI Fiber Sourcing

ATLANTA, June 06, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) is proud to announce Dr. Puneet Dwivedi as the recipient of the 2024 SFI Leadership in Conservation Award. Dr. Puneet Dwivedi, an Associate Professor of Sustainability Sciences at the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, is being recognized for his science-based impact assessment of the SFI Fiber Sourcing Standard.

“Dr. Dwivedi’s research to evaluate the impact of the water quality and logger training requirements in the SFI Fiber Sourcing Standard is invaluable. His research findings demonstrate the positive influence of the SFI standard in raising the bar for operators to implement best management practices (BMPs) that protect water quality to the benefit of aquatic biodiversity in the southeast United States. It is centrally important for us to have research to assess the benefits of the SFI standard,” said Lauren Cooper, Chief Conservation Officer of SFI. “SFI is unique among certification standards because we mandate innovative conservation research that builds knowledge and improves forest outcomes. Dr. Dwivedi’s ability to work with diverse partners is in line with our values on robust collaboration and results sharing.”

As part of his ongoing work with SFI’s conservation research, Dwivedi received two SFI conservation grants focused on the SFI Fiber Sourcing Standard’s impact on best management practices. The first study, Examining the Role of Forest Certification in Advancing Conservation Outcomes in the U.S. Southeast, measured the environmental benefits of utilizing the SFI Fiber Sourcing Standard in Georgia. In Quantifying Impacts of SFI’s Fiber Sourcing Standards in Georgia, Dwivedi investigated the sustainability of forest management practices regarding water quality across the Southern Coastal Plain of South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Alabama. Dwivedi’s research priorities are reflected in objectives two and three of the SFI Fiber Sourcing Standard: Adherence to Best Management Practices and Use of Qualified Resource Professionals, Qualified Logging Professionals, and Certified Logging Companies.

“I am thankful to SFI for this humbling recognition. I have enjoyed working with SFI and other organizations on this critical topic for almost a decade now and cherish the opportunity to do so, especially considering the unique role of SFI certification in conserving forestry resources in the Southern United States. I look forward to continuing my collaborative research on quantifying the impacts of the SFI Fiber Sourcing Standard in the region,” Dwivedi said.

Dwivedi’s collaborative efforts underscore the significance of the SFI Fiber Sourcing Standard as an important conservation tool and demonstrate the broader implications of sustainable forestry practices for water quality, biodiversity, and ecosystem function. The two interconnected projects illustrate the effectiveness of sustainable forestry practices in promoting healthy forest ecosystems. The impact of Dwivedi’s research is also magnified in myriad ways through his collaboration with organizations in the SFI network, including the Georgia SFI Implementation Committee, NatureServe, and the Southeastern Wood Producers Association.

“It is gratifying to be able to recognize the way Dr. Dwivedi’s research feeds into our advancements on SFI’s research priorities and, in turn, informs SFI’s strategic direction. His high-quality work reflects innovative approaches that assess fiber sourcing impacts and have been of great value to SFI and SFI-certified organizations. These efforts show leadership in the future of forest management, consistent with the conference theme of “Forests for the Future,” and SFI is pleased to celebrate his accomplishments,” Cooper said.

In addition to all his conservation research efforts, SFI appreciates contributions to the new SFI Urban and Community Forest Sustainability Standard. Dr. Dwivedi is part of the University of Georgia SFI Community Grant team holding a focus group to support implementing the SFI standard.

The SFI Leadership in Conservation Award celebrates the excellent work that SFI-certified organizations, conservation and community groups, and a range of other organizations and individuals are doing to advance SFI’s mission of advancing sustainability through forest-focused collaboration. This year, the recognition of Dwivedi’s research embodies the spirit of the SFI 2025-2030 Strategic Direction. Two of the strategic direction outcomes that SFI is focusing on over the next two years are promoting responsible forestry and sourcing throughout supply chains and providing nature-based solutions.

About the University of Georgia Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources
The University of Georgia Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources offers programs in forestry, fisheries and wildlife sciences, natural resources management and sustainability, and parks, recreation, and tourism management. As the oldest forestry school in the U.S. Southeast, its faculty and research are known nationally and internationally, with a particular focus on new and better ways to preserve and use our natural resources.  Learn more: warnell.uga.edu.

About the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® Inc.
SFI advances sustainability through forest-focused collaborations. We are an independent, non-profit organization that leverages four interconnected pillars of work: standards, conservation, community, and education. SFI works with the forest sector, conservation groups, academics, researchers, brand owners, resource professionals, landowners, educators, local communities, Indigenous Peoples, and governments. Collaborating with our network, we leverage SFI-certified forests and products as powerful tools to help solve sustainability challenges such as climate action, conservation of biodiversity, education of future generations, and sustainable economic development. Learn more: forests.org.

Media Contact
Christine Leduc
Vice President, Communications
Sustainable Forestry Initiative

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