The American Tree Farm System
2015 – 2020 STANDARDS OF SUSTAINABILITY
The American Forest Foundation’s (AFF) 2015-2020 Standards of Sustainability for Forest Certification (Standards) promote the health and sustainability of America’s family forests. These Standards are designed as a tool to help woodland owners be effective stewards of the land as they adaptively manage renewable resources; promote environmental, economic and social benefits; and work to increase public understanding of sustainable forestry. The Standards are based on international sustainability metrics and North American guidelines for sustainable forest management and serve as the basis for the American Tree Farm System® (ATFS) certification program. The ATFS certification program is internationally endorsed by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC™).
Standard 1: Commitment to Practicing Sustainable Forestry
Forest owner demonstrated commitment to forest vitality by developing and implementing a sustainable forest management plan.
Standard 2: Compliance with Laws
Forest management activities comply with all relevant federal, state and local laws, regulations and ordinances.
Standard 3: Reforestation and Afforestation
Forest owner completes timely restocking of desired species of trees on harvested sites and non-stocked areas where tree growing is consistent with land use practices and the forest owner’s management objectives.
Standard 4: Air, Water and Soil Protection
Forest management practices maintain or enhance the environment and ecosystems, including air, water, soil and site quality.
Standard 5: Fish, Wildlife and Biodiversity
Forest management activities contribute to the conservation of biodiversity.
Standard 6: Forest Aesthetics
Forest management plans and management activities recognize the value of forest aesthetics
Standard 7: Protect Special Sites
Special sites are managed in ways that recognize their unique historical, archeological, cultural, geological, biological or ecological characteristics.
Standard 8: Forest Product Harvest and Other Activities
Forest product harvest and other management activities are conducted in accordance with the management plan and consider other forest values.
BENEFITS OF TREE FARM
There are benefits to being in the Tree Farm program, not the least of which is third party certification of your woodlot. But those aside, take a minute to think about the Michigan land you now own. If you have 10 acres or more this may be your biggest family asset; unlike bank deposits, stocks, and bonds, it’s relatively inflation-proof, has an amazing capacity to grow valuable products forever, provides lots of recreation, keeps you in good health with many strenuous activities, and, if properly managed through good stewardship of the land, makes a great contribution to your community. The potential importance, over the very long term, to you and your children’s children, and beyond, cannot be overemphasized.
• Ability to market products from your woodlands as PEFC certified.
• Access to information at the federal, state, and local level on markets, trends, legislation, tax issues, forest insects, diseases, wildlife issues, and other forest impacts and opportunities, such as ATV’s, eco-tourism, and trails.
• Access to forest experts in the program to assist in managing your forest.
• Access to the annual National Convention, an incredible source of new ideas, information on the practice of forestry in other regions of the US, and lessons learned on problems facing other forest landowners.
• The right to display the Tree Farm sign, and certificate of membership.
• Participation in the state Tree Farmer of the Year event in Michigan.