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ATFS/AFF

ATFS Standard #6: Forest Aesthetics

The next stop in our look at the American Tree Farm Systems’ Standards of Sustainability brings us to Standard #6 Forest Aesthetics. Standard #6 recommends that forest management activities recognize the value of forest aesthetics and these values should be included during management planning.


Forest aesthetics deals with how the forest looks to landowners, neighbors, foresters, and the general public. This standard comes into play mainly when logging is performed on a property. Logging and other management activities on your property can cause aesthetic concerns such as slash on the ground, ruts, clear cuts, and broken or bent trees. Although some of these are temporary, logging alters the appearance of a forest which can be off-putting to people. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but to many any logging operation, “looks bad.” Logging is generally messy to the casual observer, but there are ways in which logging or other forms of management may be made less so.


Some recommendations for aesthetically pleasing forest management involve the time of year management is done. Logging and other management projects may be better to be done in the winter because the frozen ground and snow cover leads to less soil disturbance. Road building is better when done in a dryer time of the year leading to cleaner looking project. Other recommendations refer to how management should be conducted. Some examples include placing landings out of public view, inputting a bend or turn in the entrance road to block view of the harvest, and closing and revegetating a logging road with wildlife-friendly plants after a project is completed. These steps and more can make a project look better and help prevent issues involving forest aesthetics.


However, some of those recommendations imply that the public should be offended by viewing a log landing, or a harvest, at all. Instead, one of the most effective ways to address concerns regarding forest aesthetics, is educating landowners, who in turn may educate their neighbors or others on the logging process. It is an important part of any logging operation, or management activity to review the potential work, as well as expectations of how a harvest may look during and after its completion. Visiting logging operations with permission of other landowners and loggers, during the operation and after it is complete, as well as visiting one that was completed years before, may help a landowner and others understand forest aesthetics, and realistic expectations of logging operations.


Below are some resources that provide further explanation and recommendations regarding forest aesthetics for your property:

 University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension’s Good Forestry in the Granite State: http://extension.unh.edu/goodforestry/toc.htm.

 Voluntary Harvesting Guidelines for LANDOWNERS IN VERMONT. Chapter 2: https://fpr.vermont.gov/sites/fpr/files/Forest_and_Forestry/Forest_Management/Library/VHG_FINAL_COVER.p.

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ATFS/AFF

Four Ways Businesses Are Leading Change in the Voluntary Carbon Market

Even just a few years ago, investing in carbon projects and purchasing carbon credits was a difficult task for companies that did not always yield clear results. Companies had to do their due diligence and individually vet through projects with all sorts of varying carbon standards, purchasing credits from programs where the measured carbon impact was opaque at best. Today, the carbon landscape is changing for the better. Today’s carbon markets demand higher transparency, accountability, and carbon integrity. Companies now can more easily distinguish between the programs making credible carbon claims and those that do not. This trend toward quality allows companies to truly lead change in the Voluntary Carbon Market when deciding who to partner with. 

Choosing partners that align with your company’s climate targets and sustainability goals is key. At the American Forest Foundation, the Family Forest Carbon Program provides options for carbon buyers, donors, and investors to get involved in the development of a catalytic improved forest management project that delivers a credible carbon benefit. 

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ATFS/AFF

What We Can Save by Reducing the Wildfire Threat Across Public and Private Land in the West

To help ignite the scale of investment needed to tackle the wildfire issue, AFF partnered with Risk Management Solutions to develop a replicable approach to quantify avoided losses from wildfire to residential, commercial, and industrial infrastructure.

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ATFS/AFF

We’re Not Waiting Until Tomorrow

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What do you think of when you think of Earth Day? Clean-ups at the local park? Recycling events? A peaceful walk? Pleas for donations? All of the above? 

For many of us, Earth Day involves one or more of those things. And rightly so. They are all good for the planet and, importantly, for bringing more of us into the realm of environmental stewardship. 

Family forests can shape the future of our planet before Earth Day, after Earth Day and every day in between. That’s why we’re not waiting until tomorrow. The opportunity and the impact are too great.

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ATFS/AFF

A Snapshot of Trends Among Carbon Buyers

The voluntary carbon market is growing exponentially as companies across sectors step up to address their carbon emissions. By providing carbon credits for the private sector, the voluntary carbon market plays an essential role in bridging the finance gap between public and private climate action while also helping companies reach their sustainability targets. However, the guidance for buying credits remains unclear, and many companies are left without direction when it comes to understanding the ever-evolving carbon markets.

For carbon buyers navigating this new market, it is valuable to see how peers are evaluating projects and making progress on their carbon reduction journey. Earlier this year, the American Forest Foundation hosted a webinar with Greenbiz on Ensuring High Integrity When Purchasing Carbon Credits to discuss how to evaluate carbon credits and highlight our carbon project, the Family Forest Carbon Program

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ATFS/AFF

American Forest Foundation Applauds USDA on Investment in Climate Smart Agriculture and Forestry

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 8, 2022) – The American Forest Foundation (AFF), a national conservation organization that works to deliver meaningful conservation impact through the empowerment of family forest owners, responds to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s $1 billion investment through the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities.  

American Forest Foundation (AFF) President and CEO Rita Hite said:

“We at the American Forest Foundation are excited by the focus and unprecedented investment USDA is placing on our forests and farmland for our climate, which will unlock significant market opportunities for landowners in rural America, helping them contribute more to tackling climate change while achieving their land goals.

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ATFS/AFF

Telling Our Story in New & Innovative Ways

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Continuous improvement and innovation – these have been the bedrock of our AFF mission for more than 40 years.

From the evolution of the American Tree Farm System®, our nationwide network of family forest owners committed to sustainable forest management practices, to the acquisition of WoodsCamp, an online tool that matches landowners with funding opportunities and services, we have never wavered from those core values.

Our communications and marketing efforts reflect that priority as well. We are continuously improving and innovating as we work to tell the story of our nation’s family-owned forests.

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ATFS/AFF

2021 in Review: Policy

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Operating in the second year of the pandemic and the wake of last year’s elections meant that the policy world of 2021 was a new landscape for everyone from local grassroots advocates to leaders in the halls of Congress. However, the American Forest Foundation (AFF) and our unparalleled network of family forest owners were able to navigate these uncharted waters, turning uncertainty into opportunity and a series of real policy wins for small landowners and forest conservation efforts across the country.

Forests Take Center Stage in Washington, D.C.

Policies that center forests in the fight against climate change were in the middle of some of the most high-profile environmental policy debates in Washington this year. This is without a doubt due in part to the extraordinary advocacy efforts of our grassroots leaders, many of whom participated in our first-ever virtual Fly-In.

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ATFS/AFF

Tom Martin: Reflections on the Forestland

Tom Martin has many good memories of his childhood days at his family’s Northern Wisconsin Tree Farm. When he became president and CEO of the American Forest Foundation in 2009, the experiences he had in those woods provided valuable insights about what it meant to be a family forest owner 

“AFF resonated with my own values and experiences, having spent all those years in the woods and having the woodlands become a center for our family. It was easy to understand the opportunities and challenges that other forest landowners face. So, it felt like coming home to kindred spirits,” said Martin.

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ATFS/AFF

A Q&A With American Forest Foundation’s New SVP of Conservation, Valerie Craig

The American Forest Foundation (AFF) is excited to welcome Valerie Craig as the new Senior Vice President of Conservation. 

Valerie has centered her career around her passion for conservation. Most recently working at National Geographic Society as the Interim Chief Science and Innovation Officer, Valerie spearheaded the organization’s efforts to deliver impact-focused programs and grants related to global conservation, history, and culture. During her tenure at National Geographic, Valerie provided vital program leadership both domestically and internationally on issues like landscape protection, sustainable fisheries, ocean plastics pollution, and illegal wildlife trade. Her strong background in conservation strategy and innovation will be invaluable as the American Forest Foundation continues to increase the conservation impact of America’s family-owned forests.

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