The Business of Sustainable Forestry Case Study - Menominee: Menominee Tribal Enterprises Sustainable Forestry to Improve Forest Health and Create Jo ... tainable Forestry; Analyses and Case Studies)
The Menominee Tribe has lived in northeast Wisconsin and on Michigan's Upper Peninsula for generations, where ancestral tribal lands once encompassed more than 10 million acres. Following several treaties and land cessions, the Menominee people established a Reservation in 1854 totaling 235,000 acres of predominantly timber land. Since then, the backbone to the economy of the Menominee Nation has been its forests and the industry surrounding the sustainable management of that resource.
The MenomineeTribal Enterprises (MTE) has been an engine of the Menominee economy over the last 140 years and, within the last 30 years, has pioneered the implementation of sustainable forest management (SFM) throughout the Menominee Forest.
Today, the Menominees remain the only Native American tribe to have their forestlands independently certified as being sustainably managed. They are also the only forestlands operation in the United States and Canada that holds dual environmental certification from both the Forest Stewardship Council-approved SmartWood and Scientific Certification Systems (SCS).
The concepts of sustainability in forest ecosystems and surrounding the communities that the Menominee have practiced for so many years include three components of a sustainable forest system:
- The forest must be sustainable for future generations.
- The forest must be cared for properly to provide for the many varying needs of people over time.
- All the pieces of the forest must be maintained for diversity.
Looking closely at what MTE has accomplished in SFM and product development during the last twenty-five years provides unique insight into the economic opportunities and constraints that face other forest products operations considering SFM practices. With a twenty-five-year track record, MTE is one of the few examples in the world where realized forest management performance over time can be compared with intended results to determine whether SFM actually does what it is purported to do:
- Increase the quality and volume of wood grown in a forest system over time.
- Provide more consistent and stable annual harvested timber volumes while maintaining or improving forest ecosystems.
- Maintain or improve a forest ecosystem health that recognizes the value of multiple uses of a forest.
- Sustain communities that surround the forest through job generation and the creation of educational opportunities.
- Increase the value per unit of wood products produced from SFM forest resources through documented performance in the marketplace.
MTEs forest management choices may not apply to all forest products concerns. MTEs management and decision-making structure does not appearto be well suited to the management of larger private forestry operations in North America and Europe. It could, however, be applicable to forest businesses owned and/or operated by other tribal or native entities throughout North and South America, and smaller privately-owned forest products concerns worldwide. Equally important, MTE's process of managing tribal forests and the techniques it uses may be well suited for managers of public forestland throughout the world, especially those required to balance the multiple use of forests and deal with the issues of community and public stakeholder trust in the management of the forests.