About Tree Farm
The American Tree Farm System is NOT about Christmas trees, although some of our members grow Christmas trees… The Tree Farm System is NOT about monoculture tree plantations or genetically engineered nonnative tree programs! We are about the sustainment and promotion of our native, working forest!
Today’s Tree Farm program is sponsored by the American Forest Foundation (AFF), AFF is a landowner-managed nonprofit organization dedicated to the working forest concept and the stewardship of sustainably managed forests. AFF is advised by leading foresters and other environmental specialists and funded through grass roots, private, and corporate donations. On a state level, each Tree Farm program is locally sponsored and managed by a state Tree Farm Committee. In Vermont, this committee is a subcommittee of the Vermont Woodlands Association, consisting generally of Tree Farmers and foresters. AFF also operates the Project Learning Tree Program and other forestry conservation efforts.
During the last decade, the Tree Farm (TF) Program has changed and matured dramatically to reflect the lessons learned in forestry in the US and to showcase the high standards expected by the public in forest management.
In June 2009, Vermont Tree Farm participated in the first ever certification audit for the group certificate to be issued by PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification). Outside auditors spent a full week reviewing management records and visiting twenty-two randomly selected Tree Farms. Four similar audit processes occurred in the Northeast, Southeast, Northwest, and Southwest. Vermont performed very well in this first ever audit.
Based on audit results in all four regions, Tree Farm is now third party certified through the (PEFC, the largest internationally recognized certifier of sustainably-managed forests. Under a group certificate issued by PEFC, Tree Farms across the country may now sell their timber as third party certified.
In 2016, the Vermont Tree Farm program was audited again for conformance to certification standards and once again we performed very well. In fact, Vermont had no nonconformities identified by the auditor.
Vermont has 437 Certified Tree Farms managing a total of about 120,000 acres. Among this number there are nearly twenty who have been Tree Farmers for more than fifty years and many more are twentyfive year land stewards in Tree Farm.
I am proud to celebrate the American Tree Farm System’s 75th anniversary and our nation’s tree farmers who help to provide wildlife habitat, clean water and a sustainable wood supply from our working forests. On my own tree farm in Middlesex, Vermont, I have seen firsthand many of the incredible challenges our nation’s family forestlands are facing from growing development pressures, invasive forest pests, a rapidly changing climate, economic and technical transitions in the timber industry, and devastating wildfires. The American Tree Farm System provides vital support and tools to forestland owners to respond to these challenges.Senator Patrick Leahy
Vermont Woodlands Association is a “Voice for Forestry”