WASHINGTON - Maryland State Forester Steven W. Koehn was elected last month to the independent Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc.® (SFI®) Board of Directors.

Koehn is past president of the National Association of State Foresters, which passed a policy statement in 2008 stating that all forest certification programs make positive contributions to forest sustainability. "I welcome the opportunity to work with SFI to raise awareness of the important role certification plays to encourage sustainable management of America's forests," he said today.

Koehn has been director and state forester with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Forest Service, for almost 10 years. He played a vital leadership role in the passage of the Maryland Sustainable Forestry Act of 2009, which recognizes that an important way to improve the health of Maryland's vast Chesapeake Bay ecosystem is through healthy forests.

Koehn said he is particularly interested in working with the U.S. Green Building Council to open up its LEED certified wood credit to all certification programs. "Limiting the forest certification credit, as the LEED rating tool currently does, denies credit to the vast majority of domestic well-managed forests and certified forests," he said. "This is not good for our forests or our communities."

The 18-member multi-disciplinary SFI board of directors, which is totally responsible for independent, non-profit SFI Inc., represents environmental, social and economic sectors equally. Current board members include representatives of environmental, professional and academic groups, independent loggers, family forest landowners, public officials, labor and the forest products sector.

"The SFI program values the important contribution made by public land managers like Steve Koehn," said SFI President and CEO Kathy Abusow. "Steve is a highly motivated and innovative leader whose work in Maryland has received national recognition. The SFI board will benefit from his enthusiasm, experience and commitment to responsible forest management, certification and green building."

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