Wisconsin Tree Farm Committee
Saturday, 12 October 2013 16:06


American Forest Foundation 2010 - 2015 Standards of Sustainability


 A quality Standard is crucial to the credibility of our Program.

There are four main parts of the Standards.

  • The Standards Prologue provides the context for the 2010 - 2015 AFF Standards.  It details the purpose of the Standards, the audience, and an explanation of the structure.
  • The Eight Standards address the various areas of sustainable forestry as appropriate for family woodland owners.
  • There are a few terms in the new Standards that are commonly used in the conservation community, but family forest owners may not be so familiar with.  AFF has defined them to make them more accessible to family forest owners.  The Glossary is an important document to provide a frame for the requirements within the Standards.
  • The Guidance Document is a key resource for Inspectors and Landowners, as it helps interpret how the Standards are applied in the field.
  • Responsibility for Conformance with the Standards lies with the Landowner.

Tree Farm  uses these Standards to provide Landowners with a guide for sustainable management:

Tree Farm uses these Standards to provide Landowners with a guide for sustainable management:

  • Landowners - carry out the Standards on their lands.
  • Inspectors - evaluate landowners' management to the Standards during the internal monitoring process. (required & optional re-inspections)  If the Inspector finds a Tree Farm is out of conformance with the Standards, they must decertify the Tree Farm to maintain the integrity of ATFS Certification.
  • Third-party Assessors - evaluate how the program overall is ensuring landowner conformance to the Standards using a sample of Tree Farms as an example.

Structure of the Standard:

  • If a word is bolded in the Standard, it means it is defined in the glossary.
  • If a must is present, it signifies a required element of the Standard.  If the Tree Farm does not conform to this element, it is grounds for decertification.
  • A Standard is the overarching guiding principle.
  • A Performance Measure indicates what the Tree Farmer must do or have to conform to in the Standard.
  • An Indicator is an example of the Tree Farmers action.

Must vs. Should:

  • Any Indicator or Performance Measure that contains the work "must" means the landowner must meet this requirement to be considered certified by Tree Farm.
  • "Should" directives help to refine the avenues for Conformance with the Standard for specific scenarios.

Size, Scale, Intensity

  • Throughout the Standards you will see references to the size of the forest and the scale and intensity of the forest management activites.
  • The Tree Farm Program works with a diverse set of forest types and conditions managed by unique landowners.  Landowners all have different management capabilities and objectives.  You would expect a landowner that owns 10,000 contiguous forested acres to have different capacity to manage for  biodiversity than a landowner who owns 10 acres.
  • The size, scale and intensity clause allows for variability in how the standards are implemented on each Tree Farm.

Three options to handle a Tree Farm that does not meet the Standards:

  1. If you find that the management or management plan do not meet the Standards, but the landowner is committed to stewardship, you may recommend the property as a Pioneer Tree Farm.  Pioneer Tree Farms are not considered Certified, but are included in the program so that the landowner benefits from education and outreach provided by the State Committee.  The landowner has five years to update their plan and management to be again Certified
  2. The Management Plan Addendum is a tool ATFS provides to quickly update an older management plan to cover the new Standards.  Forest health, soil, water, threatened and endangered species, invasive species and high conservation value forests are topics third-party assessment teams found to e missing in many management plans.  Don't overlook these topics during your Tree Farm inspections.
  3. If you find that the management or management plan do not meet the Standards and the landowner is not interested in being in the Tree Farm program, they should be decertified.


Last modified on Friday, 26 December 2014 13:45