Open Space Institute Announces Workshop Series To Focus On Improving Management of Working Forests

Photo Credit: Jerry Monkman
Open Space Institute Announces Workshop Series To Focus On Improving Management of Working Forests

NEW YORK, NY - August 1, 2005 - With 2 million acres of protected working forest land, the Northern Forest has become a laboratory for cutting-edge approaches to forest conservation. Today the Open Space Institute (OSI) is announcing a series of workshops that will explore one such method integrated or ecological forestry. A workshop has been scheduled for September 13 and 14 in Brunswick, Maine.

The Conservation Forestry Network (CFN) is orchestrating the workshops. The CFN is a new program created in late 2004 by the Open Space Institute, Interforest, a private forest consulting firm, and The Conservation Fund. More information about the workshops is available online at The Forest Guild website.  Scholarships are available for participants representing nonprofit organizations.

The workshops are designed to guide foresters from the for-profit, nonprofit, and government sectors in select regions nationwide on how to identify and restore habitat by recruiting and retaining certain key structures and accommodating key ecological processes. Read more about ecological forestry.

“There have been significant advances in the field of applied forest ecology over the last 10 years,” said Michael Ferrucci, president of Interforest. “Yet this knowledge has not always been transferred to the foresters making decisions on the ground. Ecological forestry, as pioneered by Jerry Franklin, is very different than the sustained yield principles developed for commodity production that most of us foresters were trained in years ago,” Ferrucci added.

The members of the Conservation Forestry Network have significant experience in forest conservation and management. In developing its $12 million grant fund for conservation in the Northern Forest, OSI has focused on the protection of large landscapes using integrated forestry, which recognizes the interdependence of ecological reserves and working forests. Aided by an expert review committee and Interforest, OSI has developed specific criteria to guide investment in conservation projects that emphasize integrated management and sustainable forestry principles. OSI has helped distribute more than $10 million in grants to help protect 1.1 million acres of land in the region, including 820,000 acres in working forests. The Conservation Fund has also played a leading role nationally in protecting forestland and promoting innovative approaches to forestry.

The CFN believes that managing forests well ecologically does not have to come at economic cost. Its founding organizations, two of the largest conservation financers in the country and a for profit forestry consulting group, believe that teaching management practices based on cutting edge research can even improve economic returns. “Knowing exactly where to harvest and how to protect important habitat can often allow for increased harvests in less sensitive areas of the forest or increase the efficiency of your environmental protections,” said Evan Smith, the Director of Forestry Projects for The Conservation Fund.

“Future financial investment in forestland won't be based on timber alone,” said Peter Howell, vice president for Conservation Finance at the Open Space Institute. “Forestland owners, regardless of whether they are public, nonprofit, or private organizations, need to be aware of how to protect all the assets on their land. In the future, water, habitat, and carbon are going to be increasingly important assets to forestland owners.”

The Ecological Forestry Workshop for the Northern Forest ecoregion will be held in Brunswick, Maine at The Manomet Center. John Hagan, who developed a template for private landowners to practice sustainable forestry and directs the Forest Conservation Program at Manomet Center for Conservation, will serve as the primary instructor for the course.

About the Open Space Institute
The Open Space Institute protects scenic, natural and historic landscapes to ensure public enjoyment, conserve habitats and sustain community character. OSI achieves its goals through land acquisition, conservation easements, special loan programs, and creative partnerships.

About Interforest
Based in Connecticut, Interforest ( is a network of senior scientists and experienced forest managers and collaborators that include many of the leaders of the movement towards an integrated approach to biodiversity conservation and production forestry issues. Interforest has worked throughout the US over the past decade to provide integrated solutions for natural resource enterprises and agencies.

The Conservation Fund
The Conservation Fund a (, a national land conservation organization based in Virginia, forges partnerships to protect America's legacy of land and water resources. Through land acquisition, sustainable programs, and leadership training, the Fund seeks to demonstrate effective conservation solutions by emphasizing the integration of environmental and economic goals.

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View of Upper St. John River where The Nature Conservancy purchased 188,000 acres from International Paper in 1998. TNC is managing these lands under the principles of Ecological Forestry.
Photo courtesy: The Nature Conservancy

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