Yale-Myers Forest Certified

Yale-Myers Forest, managed by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, has been awarded certification by two internationally recognized accrediting agencies after an audit last fall determined that the school’s management of the 7,840-acre tract in northeastern Connecticut is exemplary.

The audits were conducted by Scientific Certification Systems of Oakland, Calif., which is accredited by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an international, non-profit organization that promotes sustainable forestry, and Andersen/InterForest of Branford, Conn., a consulting company licensed to do third-party verification under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) system, a program of the American Forest and Paper Association.

David Wager, director of forest management certification for Scientific Certification Systems, said, “It is extremely rare for an evaluation team to recommend certification without conditions, as was the case for Yale.”

The FSC evaluation team found numerous strengths of Yale’s forest management, including:

-The sustainable harvest program is supported by an up-to-date timber inventory based on a long-term program of Continuous Forestry Inventory plots (established in 1956 and re-measured in 1967, 1976, 1984, and 1993) and by stand exams every seven years.
-Timber stands on the Yale-Myers Forest are consistently well stocked with excellent-quality growing stock. Yale’s foresters have a clearly demonstrable record of tending stands to maintain health and vigor.
-Forest managers work closely with the logging contractor to develop markets and improve wood utilization.
-Staff includes internationally recognized experts in stand dynamics who understand the ecological importance of stand structure.
-Yale practices restoration and stewardship of a forest previously degraded by agriculture.
-Yale is exemplary in paying careful attention to soil productivity, wetlands, streams, and riparian areas.
-Forestry operations are managed in a fiscally conservative manner.
-Forest management staff have excellent relationships with graduate students and outside contractors who work on the forest.

Mike Ferrucci, the lead auditor for SFI, said, “Our SFI audit team was quite impressed with the quality and condition of the Yale-Myers Forest. The results of sound practices employed by generations of Yale foresters, both faculty and student-managers, are clearly visible within this landscape of hillside forest and bottomland wetlands. We also noted the degree to which students are involved in hands-on management and research here, which we think aligns well with the role of the forest as a core part of Yale’s educational and scientific research missions.”

Ferrucci said that the verification team found that Yale’s SFI program conforms with the American Forest & Paper Association’s Sustainable Forestry Initiative Standard, 2001 Edition (SFIS), as of last Oct. 31, and that all relevant performance measures and objectives are being met. “Yale’s program exceeds the SFI standard in the protection and management of special sites, in the protection of water quality, and in managing visual impacts of harvesting and other forest operations,” he said.

Yale owns and manages 10,880 acres of forestland in Connecticut, New Hampshire and Vermont. Yale-Myers Forest is the largest parcel and produces roughly 500,000 board feet of timber annually, yielding annual income of approximately $75,000, which covers administrative costs and the cost of part-time management staff comprised of faculty and students.

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