The final article of this series looking at American Tree Farm System’s Standards of Sustainability brings us to Standard #8: Forest Product Harvests and Other Activities. Forest product harvests and other management activities are conducted in accordance with the landowner’s objectives and consider other forest values.
Standard #8 encourages the use of qualified professionals when conducting timber harvests and other management activities. The standard helps ensure that proper logging paperwork is completed before a timbersale is performed. It also relates to consulting foresters, truckers and others who may be involved in a harvest project.
Many states require licensure or registration to be a natural resource professional or logger. Vermont is one of these states as consulting foresters must be licensed which proves their knowledge of and experience within the industry. Loggers are not required to be licensed, but many do receive training and qualification through the Logger Education to Advance Professionalism program (LEAP). Finding the right logger for a project is something to discuss with your consulting forester.
When choosing a logger, it is important that they carry insurance, and comply with appropriate federal, state, and local safety laws. They should also comply with fair labor rules, regulations, and standard practices. When drawing up contracts check with your forester to determine the insurance rates and coverages. Contracts cover labor-related topics like payment rates, workman’s compensation, and performance bonds, as well as environmental concerns like protecting soil and water integrity, litter control, and working in accordance with AFF Standards. Landowners should keep contracts and records of management activities for at least three years.
The Standard also requires the landowner or a designated representative to monitor the harvest or activity. This ensures it is being done in a way that aligns with the landowner’s objectives, the contract is being followed, and the project is being completed in proper manner. Your consulting forester can be hired to be your representative for a project, and county foresters can also help answer any questions you may have.
All in all, to fulfill Standard #8 find a logger and consulting forester that have them same mindset as you when it comes to management activities. Have everything spelled out clearly in a contract and maintain records of the project. Although this standard is specifically addressing using professionals, it does not exclude a landowner from doing their own harvests, habitat or timber stand improvement work, water quality, recreation, or any other implementation of their management plan. As long as the work a landowner is completing is part of the management plan, and they follow the previous standards for the Tree Farm program, then they will still meet this standard.