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Helping forestry companies measure and positively impact forest landscape health

Helping forestry companies measure and positively impact forest landscape health

The Healthy Forest Landscapes approach

The Healthy Forest Landscapes (HFL) approach measures trends in forest cover, carbon, biodiversity and community well-being. It also helps companies that source from forest landscapes to engage with their suppliers and with local stakeholders to address key forest health issues.

Alongside steady demand for traditional materials like paper, tissue and packaging, the rise of newer forest products like wood pellets and cellulosic fibres has prompted the question: how can we sustain and heal our forest landscapes and ensure ecological, social and carbon values are protected and enhanced, in balance with sustainable production?

To answer this question, Earthworm and the UK renewable energy company Drax co-developed the HFL approach. A measurement cycle, engagement, diagnosis, and potential intervention lead to a transparent evaluation of forest landscape health and a collaborative path to address issues. HFL is also designed to provide a consistent framework for evaluation, even in different forest types and geographies.

From 2019 to 2021, Drax carried out HFL pilot projects in the US South, as well as using the approach with a very large pulpwood sourcing landscape in northern Sweden; it is to be rolled out in many new regions.

The HFL approach enables companies to:

Monitor trends in critical forest landscape attributes: tree cover, forest carbon, biodiversity and community wellbeing in their key sourcing landscapes

Access clear, communicable reports and have more constructive conversations with supply chain partners, NGOs and other stakeholders

Engage directly with forest companies and other landscape stakeholders on collaborative action to improve environmental and social outcomes

What is the biggest challenge facing forests today?

In this podcast excerpt, Earthworm Foundation forester Alastair Herd talks about the challenges facing forests today. He also discusses what companies that source from these forests can do to tackle these issues and ensure they are a part of the solution as opposed to contributing to the issue.


HFL uses the best available data to analyse specific areas. Research is commissioned where necessary, but in many regions, existing publicly reported data and analysis is suitable. Beyond analysing data, we also engage stakeholders to interpret the results. This engagement is critical for effective dialogue to identify needs for change, and effective collaborative actions to bring about deep and lasting improvements.

The Healthy Forest Landscapes (HFL) Methodology
The Healthy Forest Landscapes (HFL) Assesment Report - Västerbotten County, Sweden

Learn more about Earthworm Foundation's work in forests

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Sep 13, 2022

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