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The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities Initiates the Steps for a National Forest System Land Regional Risk Assessment

The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, Inc. (The Endowment) has gained approval from the Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP) for their proposed methodology and sponsorship of a Regional Risk Assessment (RRA) for national forests. The scope of the assessment includes the national forests in the lower (contiguous) 48 states, and the USDA Forest Service is a key partner for the project.

The Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP) is a procurement and traceability standard that assures biomass is sourced from legal and sustainable sources. The SBP is not a forest certification standard—i.e., the standard applies to those purchasing material, not to the landowner or manager—and the completion of an SBP RRA process does not result in certification of any specific lands or forests.  The scope of the SBP RRA includes identifying and mitigating risks associated with sustainable sourcing of fiber. Sustainable sourcing includes compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, biodiversity protections, ecosystem functions, and maintaining carbon stocks. If the RRA evaluation identifies any mitigation actions necessary to address potential risks, those mitigations would be the responsibility of biomass producers, not the Forest Service. 

In February 2021, a preliminary gap analysis was completed by The Endowment to evaluate alignment between the Forest Service management framework and the SBP. This 2021 gap analysis provided a high-level assessment of the potential for biomass producers to source feedstock from the national forests in conformance with established international sustainability standards for woody biomass. 

Results from the 2021 gap analysis indicated a reasonable probability that timber sourced from national forests can be shown to conform with SBP standards.  In light of these results, a more comprehensive and thorough investigation was warranted, resulting in this formal SBP Regional Risk Assessment (RRA) for national forests in the lower 48 states. 

The Endowment wishes to support the advancement of a formal risk assessment of biomass feedstock sourced from forests administered by the Forest Service in accordance with the Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP) Regional Risk Assessment (RRA) Procedure and SBP Standard 1: Feedstock Compliance. The goal is to support biomass market opportunities for wood sourced from national forests.

The Endowment has assumed oversight responsibility for development of the RRA as well as facilitating the process required to complete the RRA. The Endowment is a not-for-profit public charity established in 2006 and works collaboratively with partners in the public and private sectors to advance systemic, transformative, and sustainable change for the health and vitality of the nation’s working forests and forest-reliant communities. The Endowment has contracted with INCOS Strategies and Cambium Consulting to coordinate the assessment and complete the RRA process.  Dovetail Partners is engaged in the public consultation activities for the process. The RRA will be developed and submitted to SBP in accordance with the applicable SBP rules, standards, and procedures. 

National forests in the contiguous U.S. include forests in 38 of the 48 states, spanning from ocean to ocean, and border to border. National forests in the lower 48 states are part of 8 regions and include 152 national forests covering over 164 million acres. Forest Service lands are managed according to federal laws and regulations, as well as agency directives, policies, and procedures.  The sampling strategy used for the Forest Service RRA is applied at the regional and forest levels and follows the SBP standard and requirements for approved sampling methodologies.  

Upon formal approval by SBP, a Forest Service RRA will be made publicly available to all biomass producers in the US. A single, comprehensive risk assessment will result in improved transparency, consistency, and efficiency among biomass producers throughout the lower 48 states.

The RRA development process is expected to be completed in 2024.   

For more information, to receive project updates, or to join the project contact list, please contact: Dovetail Partners, info@dovetailinc.org, 612-333-0430 or visit: http://www.dovetailinc.org  


About The Endowment

The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities is committed to keeping working forests as forests and advancing family-wage jobs in forest-rich rural communities. Through strategic and deliberate investment, we support research and development in traditional forest product markets, ensuring that forests and forest-based economies grow and thrive. https://www.usendowment.org/


About the SBP

The Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP) is a certification scheme designed for woody biomass used in industrial, large-scale energy production. SBP has developed a certification scheme to provide assurance that woody biomass is sourced both legally and sustainably allowing companies in the biomass sector to demonstrate compliance with regulatory requirements, as a minimum. Our certification scheme is designed as a clear statement of standards and processes necessary to demonstrate such compliance. We seek to avoid duplication and to be consistent with standards that have overlapping scopes, while not limiting innovation and improvement.  https://sbp-cert.org/


About INCOS Strategies

Specialized in forest certification, INCOS stratégies offers services to organizations wishing to become certified or maintain their forest management (FM) and chain of custody (COC) certificates. INCOS Strategies experience across the forest supply value chain is invaluable in finding the right solutions for organizations. INCOS Strategies offers concrete solutions to its clients by collaborating with internal and external resources.   https://www.boiscertifies.ca/solutions


About Cambium Consulting

Providing tailored consulting services on issues relating to sustainability of natural resources, supply chains and climate. Expertise includes strategy and policy development, risk analysis, third-party certification and assurance, standards development, forest management, stakeholder engagement, project management and impact analysis. https://consultcambium.com/


About Dovetail Partners

Dovetail Partners is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation providing authoritative information about the impacts and trade-offs of environmental management, including consumption choices, land use decisions, and policy alternatives. Dovetail provides a highly skilled team that fosters sustainability and responsible behaviors through collaboration to develop unique concepts, systems, models, and programs. Dovetail excels at solving complex problems and helping responsible organizations succeed. We also help define programs that increase the job creation and the job quality of resource-based industries.  https://dovetailinc.org/


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