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August 2012
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CityLink Seattle

Seattle Parks recognized for its forest stewardship

Seattle Parks and Recreation has received recognition from the Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC®) for its forest management practices, in response to Seattle Parks’ dedication to environmentally-friendly forest management.

Forest Stewardship Council certification covers 2,500 acres of Seattle’s forested parkland, which helps this urban forest system meet its environmental stewardship goals.

“FSC certification demonstrates an exceptional commitment to growing an ecologically-diverse forest while still allowing sustainable management of trees,” said Parks Sr. Urban Forester Mark Mead. “We are delighted to join another City agency, Seattle Public Utilities, in carrying the FSC certification, which will help us value these lands that provide clean water, clean air, carbon sequestration, and habitat protection.”

Seattle’s forested parkland covers nearly six percent of the Seattle’s land area and comprises 20% of the Seattle’s overall urban forest canopy. Some of these forests are located in Seward Park, the East and West Duwamish Greenbelts, Carkeek Park and Discovery Park.

FSC certification is the gold standard for forest management; it promotes retention of older trees and leafy canopies, reduced size of forest openings, and expanded protection for sensitive areas. Endorsed by the nation’s leading environmental organizations, the FSC (www.fsc.org) is an international nonprofit that promotes responsible management of the world’s forests.

Seattle Parks’ certification was achieved by joining the Northwest Certified Forestry (NCF) Forest Management Group Scheme (www.nnrg.org/nwcertified-forestry), which will monitor Parks’ compliance with the certification standards. NCF oversees about 65,000 acres within its membership in the Pacific Northwest.

Without action, Seattle is at risk of losing 70% of our forested parks in just 20 years, so the city is working to reverse that trend. The Green Seattle Partnership (GSP) (www.greenseattle.org), one of the largest public-private urban forest restoration programs in the U.S, includes the City of Seattle, Forterra, and many nonprofits, individuals, community groups, schools and businesses working to restore 2,500 acres of Seattle’s parks by the year 2025. In 2010 alone, volunteers put in almost 90,000 hours of their time at community forest restoration events. To date, GSP has entered more than 800 acres into community-driven and supported restoration.