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Darren Sleep: "Navarra is the Spanish community with the most certified forests for its sustainable management ".

D. in Zoology Darren Sleep presented at the University's School of Architecture the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) conservation program, of which he is the lead scientist in Canada and the United States.

PhotoManuelCastells/Darren Sleep is the lead scientist for the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) in Canada and the United States and presented the program at the University of Navarra.

17 | 05 | 2023

"Navarra is the Spanish community with the most forests certified for their sustainable management ". The biologist and doctor in Zoology, Darren Sleep, gave a talk at lecture at the University of Navarra's School of Architecture of the University of Navarra, as part of the activities of the Chair Madera Onesta. Principal scientist of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) conservation program in Canada and the United States, Sleep showed the importance of a sustainable forest management to combat climate change through the development of innovative approaches to climate-smart forestry (Climate-Smart Forestry), the conservation and recovery of biodiversity and the protection of water resources. 

When we purchase a product, we can know if it has been produced in a sustainable way thanks to a seal granted by certification systems such as PEFC (Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification), FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) or SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative). Normally, the seal shows a tree next to one of these acronyms. This distinction can be awarded to companies or institutions as well as to products.

"In general, threats are growing. Climate change is causing an increase in fires which in turn are causing many problems. Sometimes, forests that are not managed are the ones that suffer the most from the consequences," commented Sleep. In Navarra, more than 60% of the forested area is sustainably managed. "PEFC (SFI's counterpart in Spain) has done a great work, particularly in Navarra," Sleep said. According to the latest data provided by the regional government, 514 forests are certified by PEFC and 30 by FSC. In addition, the Government of Navarre has recently C the Annual Plan 2023 for the prevention, surveillance and extinction of forest fires..

Young people, the future of forests

The word "sustainability" seems to be very much embedded in our language, but sometimes its meaning is not entirely clear. "Sustainability" is meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In the case of forestry, for example, sustainability means being able to harvest timber and manage it without damaging ecosystem services, such as carbon storage, wildlife habitat, water purification and oxygen production... Future generations will be able to continue to do the same if the forest remains healthy, i.e. if it continues to thrive and be able to produce these materials," clarifies Darren Sleep.

"In November 2022, Enric Vadell and other scientists published a article in Forest Ecology and Management indicating that Spain should place a greater emphasis on smart forestry to adapt to climate change. It's something we've been working on for the past few years in North America," explained Sleep. SFI seeks to meet sustainability goals from four areas of work: the management forestry and supply chain standards, the research, community engagement and educational initiatives. Sleep emphasized the links they make with indigenous communities and the importance of showing young people the career alternatives that forests provide. "Sustainability goes far beyond conservation science and is profitable," he added.

He also stressed that research and science communication are essential to showcase the data that support sustainable forestry management to upstream actors in the supply chain to encourage companies to meet and demonstrate their sustainable goals, which in turn contributes to meeting conservation goals. "We want everyone, especially young people, to value forests. You can only protect what you understand," Sleep said.

The presentation Ecological Sciences and Sustainability in North American Forestry was organized by the School's Chair Madera Onesta, the University's School of Sciences and the Government of Navarra.