Who is eligible for Tree Farm certification?

There are a number of things to consider when determining whether a forest landowner is eligible for Tree Farm certification. First, Tree Farm certifies properties that contain 10-10,000 contiguous acres of forestland. Forest owners may choose to certify a portion of their entire ownership but may not exempt a portion of a contiguous forest management unit.

Second, certified Tree Farms can be either privately of publicly, except State land, owned. Private properties must be non-industrial but may be associated with small business as long as they are not publicly traded. Public land can be associated with local government, schools, and parks, etc.

Third, certified Tree Farms must be managed in conformance with the American Tree Farm System's Standards of Sustainability. Owners must clearly exhibit a commitment to practicing sustainable forest management through their objectives outlined in a management plan.

All Tree Farms must have a written and implemented forest management plan that specifically mentions the following topics; forest health, soil, water, wood and fiber production, threatened and endangered species, special sites, invasive species, and forests of recognized importance.

Lastly, Pennsylvania Tree Farmers must pay an annual membership fee, outlined below. The fee is based on the total aggregate acreage of the Tree Farmer in the program. The fee is due annually regardless of Tree Farmer status, Pioneer or Certified.

10-50 acres = $70/year
51-100 acres = $80/year
101-500 acres = $90/year
501 and greater = $100/year

Benefits of Belonging

Numerous benefits are associated with membership in the Tree Farm Program.

  • The greatest benefit to landowners is representation at the state and national level by the Pennsylvania Forestry Association and the American Forest Foundation respectively
  • Opportunity to meet and discuss forest management objectives with a certified professional forester for free on a periodic basis.
  • Professionally certified sustainable forest meeting the Tree Farm Standard
  • Membership in the Pennsylvania Forestry Association, our sponsoring organization, with a subscription to Pennsylvania Forests magazine and Tree Farm updates in their e-newsletter
  • Free subscription to Penn State's Forest Leaves newsletter, a publication for private forest landowners
  • Information and updates on national and state legislative issues affecting forest landowners
  • Opportunity to attend the American Tree Farm System National Leadership Conference
  • Participation in the National Tree Farmer of the Year contest
  • Right to display "certified" Tree Farm sign and certificate for framing

How do I get started?

If you would like to determine if your property qualifies as a Tree Farm or if you would just like more information you can contact any member of the Tree Farm Committee (see Contact page) or our administrator at the Pennsylvania Forestry Association 1-800-835-8065. If you meet the eligibility guidelines, a free visit with a certified inspecting forester can be arranged. A listing of certified foresters can be provided. You can also visit the American Tree Farm System website for more information about the program.