The Sustainable Forestry Initiative® Inc. (SFI) is an organization that works to advance sustainability through forest-focused collaboration. Logging falls under the organization’s Fiber Sourcing Standard. This standard sets mandatory practice requirements for all wood (fiber) that is sourced from forests, wether the forest is certified or not. Logger trainings are a large part of the work that SFI does. In fact, approximately 96% of the wood delivered to mills that participate in the SFI program comes from loggers that have been trained in sustainable forestry.
In Alabama, most of the large lumber mills participate in the SFI program. This means that in order to take wood to these mills, Alabama loggers need to take the proper training and keep it up-to-date. The Alabama Professional Logging Manager (PLM) program provides training opportunities for loggers on sustainable forestry practices and logging safety. The PLM program currently consists of an initial one-day training. Then, each year after the initial training, loggers need to take five hours of continuing forestry education credits (CFE) to maintain their PLM status.
Initial Training Opportunities
The Alabama Cooperative Extension System helps facilitate the PLM initial trainings with the Alabama Forestry Association, Alabama Forestry Commission, and Alabama Loggers Council. The initial PLM trainings cover a wide range of sustainable forestry topics and logging safety. Sustainable forestry topics consist of the following SFI principles:
- best management practices for water quality protection
- forest resource conservation
- forest management
- timber management for wildlife and threatened and endangered species
- invasive plants
- timber harvest planning
Logging safety topics consist of OSHA regulations, safety programs, logging safety, and hazards. Other topics covered include trucking rules and regulations, advocacy, logging business management, and emerging technologies.
Opportunities for CFE Credits
Alabama Extension forestry, wildlife, and natural resources specialists and regional agents play a key role in providing CFE hours to loggers each year. Specialists and agents provide in-person workshops, field demonstrations, and webinars so loggers can log their needed hours. Many of the regional agents host multiple five-hour events in their regions each year. Topics at these CFE events provide loggers with new and updated information related to forest management and logging, along with refresher type information that is covered in the initial PLM trainings.
For those that may be thinking about harvesting timber on their property and want to make sure it is done using sustainable practices, it is recommended to hire a professional forestry consultant and use a logger that is up-to-date on their PLM status. For more information contact Richard Cristan or the forestry, wildlife, and natural resources regional agent in your area.