Tree Farm Standards

The American Forest Foundation’s (AFF) 2021 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™).

American Forest Foundation’s 2021 Standards of Sustainability (PDF)

The Vermont Tree Farm Committee recommends that you and your forester develop your management plan around these standards to ensure the plan meets the standard. Many of our inspector-foresters already develop their plans to a standard equal to the Tree Farm standard during the Use Value Appraisal (UVA or current use) plan development, but since the ATFS standards are updated and improved every 5 years, a Tree Farm or UVA plan older than 5 years may be missing minor elements of the standards. That can hurt your ability to remain fully certified to the Tree Farm standard. To ensure your plan’s compliance, the committee recommends using the ATFS Management Plan Addendum as an update tool to maintain compliance.

Download the new American Tree Farm System (ATFS) Management Plan Addendum. ATFS developed this Addendum as an easy-to-use resource to help you ensure that your management plan reflects the goals you have for your land, assesses the current health of your woods, and aligns your plan with the latest Standards.

The addendum is also a great tool to highlight your commitment to good forestry and provides additional resources to ensure that you have considered all the important elements that go into sustainable forestry, including:

  • Forest Health
  • Soil and Water
  • Proper Use of Pesticides
  • Prescribed Burning
  • Wildlife
  • Forests of Recognized Importance
  • Special Sites