A Foundational Bridge: Baseline Sustainability Risk Assessment of Maryland’s Forests

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Baseline Sustainability Risk Assessment of Maryland’s Forests

The Western Maryland Resource Conservation and Development Council (WMRC&D), with grant support from the Rural Maryland Council, commissioned the development of a baseline risk assessment of Maryland’s forest resource, against a limited range of common legality and sustainability risks associated with sourcing forest products. This risk assessment will serve as a foundational bridge from which to build stronger understanding and connection between the global business community and Maryland’s responsibly managed forests.

The assessment asks a core question: What is the likelihood that wood originating in Maryland’s forests and entering the supply chain is associated with a sustainability risk?

Summary of Findings

Overall, Maryland’s forests perform very well against a range of common sustainability criteria associated with or acceptable forest sourcing. Review the final report for detailed findings and analysis.

Findings Summary
Sustainability ElementRisk Rating
Legality (including illegal logging, social governance, and corruption)Low/Negligible
Biodiversity and High Conservation ValuesLow/Negligible risk of wood entering the supply chain in direct association with adverse impact to high conservation values.
Specified risk associated with invasive species impacts to high conservation values.
Suggested Mitigation: Development and implementation of a cohesive invasive species strategy, including assignment of technical staff and resource investment.
Traditional and Indigenous Peoples’ RightsLow/Negligible
Forest Loss or ConversionLow/Negligible
Sustainable Harvest LevelsLow/Negligible
Workers’ RightsLow/Negligible
Genetically Modified TreesLow/Negligible
Conflict TimberLow/Negligible

About this Project

With funds made available by the Rural Maryland Council, the Western Maryland Resource Conservation and Development Council (WMRC&D) commissioned Interforest LLC and New March Strategies a consulting firm providing forest certification and sustainability consulting services. An advisory committee was formed to provide support to the project team. This advisory committee is comprised of: 

  • Dan Rider, Maryland Forest Service
  • Beth Hill, Maryland Forests Association
  • Craig Highfield, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay

To support continuity with The Greater Cumberland Committee (TGCC)’s project to create a certified branding program to promote Maryland wood products, team members engaged on both projects regularly meet to share information and coordinate activity steps and project oversight.