Tree Farm Program
Tree Farm Program
The American Tree Farm System is a nationwide community of nearly 60,000 landowners linked by a desire to promote effective woodland management. Tree farms have continuous tree crop production that contribute to our nation’s wood product needs while simultaneously maintaining the forests’ beauty and wildlife benefits. Committees operate the American Tree Farm System in each participating state. The national system is an American Forest Foundation program, administered by the American Forest Council. It is supported by private donations and contributions from the forest products industry. An estimated 58% of all timber harvested in the United States comes from non-industrial private woodlands owned by individuals, not the government or timber companies. Tree farms provide important public benefits such as wildlife habitat, watershed protection, and even recreational opportunities.
Certified tree farmers typically own a minimum of ten forested acres. To qualify for certification, they must have their land inspected by foresters certified with the American Tree Farm System. At a minimum, lands are re-inspected every five years to assure proper management. Contact your local Forestry Division district office listed below for more information.
Certified tree farmers have great pride in protecting their forestry interests. They improve woodlands and supply the economic demand for forest industry products. When certified, tree farmers receive the iconic green and white Tree Farm sign, indicating keen forest management and conservation practices.
Tree farms produce a significant quantity of timber and income. Certified tree farmers may also qualify for a real estate tax deduction.
Tree farmers enjoy their forests. Many are personally involved with planting and tending. Others take their pleasure in the recreation and scenery.
Solid forest management begins with a land assessment and developing a forest management plan. A professional forester can provide guidance in these matters.
To qualify for Tree Farm certification, the woodlands must be:
- ten acres or more but not more than 1,000 acres of forested land. Non-forested land suitable for growing trees may also qualify. Waivers may be granted for exceptions up to 5,000 acres.
- managed for the production of timber and other forest products
- protected from fire, insects, disease, and destructive grazing
A forest stewardship plan must also be developed by a resource professional and approved by the State Forester. Stewardship practices must be maintained for 10 years. The management plan will address landowner objectives, fish and wildlife, threatened and endangered species, soil, water, wetlands, recreation, aesthetics, cultural resources, and timber resources for the property. Forest stewardship and management plan outlines and landowner templates are available in PDF format.
Pioneer Tree Farm Program
Managed forest land that does not qualify for full Tree Farm certification may be eligible for the Pioneer Tree Farm Program. The development of a written management plan and its successful execution will assist Pioneer Tree Farms in obtaining full certification. Contact your local Forestry Division district office listed below for more information.