Facebook icon Twitter icon Mail icon

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.

What is the Healthy Forest Landscapes (HFL) approach? join Charlotte Opal, the founding Executive Director of the Forest Conservation Fund (FCF) and Earthworm's Director of Memberships and Partnerships, as she introduces the why and how behind our unique HFL approach.

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 developed the HFL approach. HFL combines measuring key forest metrics with stakeholder engagement, a diagnostic process to achieve a transparent evaluation of forest landscape health, and collaboration to address social and environmental issues. HFL is designed to provide a consistent evaluation framework that also recognises the unique characteristics of different forest types and geographies.

We piloted the HFL approach with Drax between 2019 and 2021 in the US South, and recently completed a full HFL assessment of Västerbotten County, covering 5 million hectares of Northern Sweden.

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 Assessment Report Västerbotten, Northern Sweden

Despite its sustainable forestry reputation, the Swedish Forest Model is under scrutiny, raising questions about responsible forest product sourcing amidst growing pressures from environmental advocates, ecologists, and Sami reindeer herding communities. To address this, a collaborative report by Earthworm Foundation, Nestlé, SCA, and DS Smith delves into the changing forests of Västerbotten, offering insights and practical recommendations for biodiversity, carbon conservation, and coexistence between commercial forestry and reindeer herding.

Download the report here


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

News & Stories

Nov 24, 2023

As the climate and biodiversity crises bite, what should responsible forest product sourcing look like?

Sep 13, 2022

Understanding Shared Impacts on Landscapes for Better Sourcing Practices