If you have 10 acres or more of forestland purchased, inherited, or gifted consider converting it to a Tree Farm. Why? Well there are many opportunities you could consider with your land, but Tree Farming does not require as much of your time and attention as other crops but can be rewarding in many ways. It can provide a nice income stream especially depending on the kind of trees planted. You could be recognized for your efforts managing your land for timber, soil and water conservation, wildlife habitat, stream side management zones, recreation, and aesthetics with The American Tree Farm System and proudly post the green and white diamond shaped sign on your property. Landowners come from various backgrounds, but all share the commitment to improve their forestland through responsible forest management and conservation techniques.
Why become a Family Forest Owner and join the ATFS System?
The American Tree Farm System® is a network of 73,000 Tree Farmers sustainably managing 19 million acres of certified forestland.
These landowners play an important role in helping stem the loss of America's woodlands. You can identify their land by the widely recognizable green and white diamond-shaped Tree Farm signs.
The American Tree Farm System (ATFS) provides family forest owners with tools and resources to help them care for their woods and ensure they are delivering wood, wildlife, clean water and recreational opportunities – all of which are highlighted on the famous green and white sign.
While the American Forest Foundation (AFF) administers the program at the national level, it is implemented on the ground by individual State Tree Farm Committees. State Committees are comprised of private and family forest owners, state forestry agency partners, forest products companies, consulting foresters and others. These State Committees provide a wide range of support for woodland owners – a community of fellow landowners to help mentor, opportunities to get involved in addressing critical forest issues, a way to advocate on behalf of forestry and much more. Each state’s program is unique, working to meet the needs of their local landowners and the needs of the communities and the companies that operate there.
But what unites all these forest landowners across the country is their commitment to sustainability by following the ATFS Standards of Sustainability, a set of guidelines designed to help woodland owners be effective stewards of the land. The Standards are based on international sustainability metrics and North American guidelines for sustainable forest management and serve as the basis for the third-party certification portion of the program.
To become a member of ATFS and have your forestland certified, you must:
- Own at least 10 acres of forestland
- Have and be actively using a written forest management plan
- Adhere to the ATFS 2015-2020 Standards of Sustainability for Forest Certification for Private Forestlands
If you are interested in joining ATFS contact the American Tree Farm System website and find your state program. Your state program will give you information to contact your District Forestry Commission Forester, County Forester, and Consultants. Express your concern of joining the Tree Farm System and they will assist in writing your Management Plan for your forest. This is Free and no cost to the landowner.
Contact and sign up for programs through your local Natural Resources Conservation Service and Forest Service Agency. Get to know these resource Technical professionals who will provide Technical plans to manage your land based on your objectives Timber, Soil and Water Conservation, Wildlife etc. These professionals will tell you how best to use your land to meet industry objectives and standards of sustainability. Such as, based on your soil type what tree is best specified to plant, what practices are needed for Forest Health, Forest Protection, General Recommendations, Property Boundaries, Soil and Water Conservation, Water Management, Threatened and Endangered Species, Historic, Cultural, and Archeological Sites, Wildlife Management, Cost Share Assistance, and Forest Stewardship Recognition.
Begin following your management plan. Consult with your District and County Foresters, and/or Consultant for a list of contractors to cut and log timber, mark timber to be cut, marking boundary lines, cutting fire lanes, chemically treating for herbaceous weed control and tree fertilization etc. You the landowner can complete any of these practices you want it’s how much you want to be involved in physically managing your land or hiring it done. After completing your initial management plan practices, it is a waiting game generally 8 to 10 years before a thinning or clearing is done and you start over again but reap the rewards of an income stream. Part of this income should be used for purchasing seedlings, planting, spraying, or Consulting help. Then assess your land and make and implement improvements for the next rotation.
You enjoy the benefits of becoming an American Tree Farm System Tree Farmer and proudly post the Green and White Tree Farm sign on your property and unite with other Tree farmers in your state. Be proud that your land is actively managed, and you are one of 73,000 Tree Farmers who have committed to the standards of sustainability to help woodland owners be effective stewards of their land. Then get involved in your state and attend association meetings, landowner meetings, workshops, or become an advocate but get involved. You enjoy the benefits of becoming an American Tree Farm System Tree Farmer and proudly post the Green and White Tree Farm sign on your property and unite with other Tree farmers in your state. Be proud that your land is actively managed, and you are one of 73,000 Tree Farmers who have committed to the standards of sustainability to help woodland owners be effective stewards of their land. Then get involved in your state and attend association meetings, landowner meetings, workshops, or become an advocate but get involved.