The American Tree Farm System (ATFS) is a national program administered by the American Forest Foundation. Since its inception in 1941 ATFS has spread to all forested states in the United States. It is supported by 46 state committees and 4,400 volunteer foresters, from both the public and private sectors. Today, ATFS is comprised of 87,000 forest owners who together manage more than 23 million acres. Just look for the easily recognizable green and white Tree Farm sign. The term “tree farming” was first used in the 1940’s to introduce the public to sustainable forestry terminology they could easily understand. Gifford Pinchot, first Chief of the USDA Forest Service, once said, “Wood is a crop, forestry is Tree Farming.” Farming implies continual stewardship and production of goods year after year. By linking the term “farming” with trees, foresters could communicate the concept of sustainable production of forest products over time.
In Pennsylvania, the Tree Farm program is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Forestry Association. Decisions concerning the management of the program are made by the Pennsylvania Tree Farm Committee. The committee is made up of a wide array of forestry interests from forest industry, consulting foresters, forest landowners, the DCNR Bureau of Forestry, Pennsylvania’s Sustainable Forest Initiative, the Natural Resource Conservation Service, and Penn State’s Natural Resources Extension, Center for Private Forests, and Department of Ecosystem Science and Management. Their primary responsibility is to promote Tree Farming and sustainable forestry as well as coordinate the Tree Farm inspection and training process each year. The state is divided into six areas with an area chairman responsible for each. It is the area chairman’s responsibility to coordinate update sessions for inspecting foresters and to oversee the Tree Farm inspection procedures in their respective areas. ATFS recognizes the superior stewardship of its members through the annual Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year recognition program. These landowners are recognized for their remarkable efforts to enhance and sustain their forests and for spreading the practice of sustainable forestry:
For more information on the Tree Farm program, to find contact information, and to see if your woodlot qualifies for certification visit our website. If you meet the criteria, a free inspection of your property can be arranged with one of our many certified inspecting foresters. You can also visit the national American Tree Farm System website for additional information.
The Pennsylvania Forestry Association
116 Pine Street, 5th Floor
Harrisburg, PA 17101