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Maryland State Forests Earn Sustainability Certification for 19th Consecutive Year

Five Forests Have Met International Standards for 2022

Photo of group of people in front of a grove of trees

Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford and Maryland DNR Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio join Maryland Forest Service staff for a tour of Pocomoke State Forest on May 3, 2022. Photo by Patrick Siebert, Maryland State House

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced that the major five state forests comprising Maryland’s state forest system – totaling more than 200,000 acres –- this year received two favorable independent audit reports recognizing that DNR is managing the state forests according to internationally accepted Forest Certification standards for sustainability.  

These positive 2022 surveillance audits by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) show Maryland’s state forests meet their standards for sustainable certification.

Lt. Gov. Rutherford Boyd K. Rutherford and Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio recently visited Pocomoke and Chesapeake forests to view some of the Maryland Forest Service’s sustainable management practices.

“DNR is very pleased that once again these Certification Audit Reports independently verify our careful approach to sustainable forest management and we are very proud that Maryland Forest Service has held this high standard for 19 consecutive years,” Secretary Riccio said.  

Maryland was the first state in the nation to achieve dual Forest Certification by both FSC and SFI as a result of the initial Audit conducted on Chesapeake Forest in 2003.

After that first successful audit, the remainder of the five major state forests in Maryland were audited and certified to be sustainably managed in 2011. 

The 2022 Audit was a surveillance audit, which means certified auditors conduct field visits based on a random sample of forestry practices during the previous 18 months.  This year, the auditors limited their field visits to two of the state forests, Chesapeake and Pocomoke.  

The 2023 surveillance audit will visit the state forests in Western Maryland, which include Green Ridge, Savage River, and Potomac-Garrett. Every five years a full audit is conducted, with site visits to five forests in one year.

Forest Certification standards are based on internationally accepted principles, goals, and performance measures that include forestry practices to protect water quality, biodiversity, wildlife habitat, species at risk, and forests with exceptional conservation value, with the intention of promoting sustainable forest management in North America and globally.

Maryland’s state forest system offers a variety of recreational opportunities, aesthetic beauty, plant and animal habitat, and economic benefits through environmentally sound provision of wood products.