The Business of Sustainable Forestry Case Study - Menominee
9 x 11
9 x 11
Catherine M. Mater
"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 Menominee Tribal 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:
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:
MTE's forest management choices may not apply to all forest products concerns. MTE's management and decision-making structure does not appear to 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."