From American Tree Farm System: “The challenges and threats to our forests continue to increase and intensify. Addressing these issues requires more shared stewardship opportunities that engage private landowners at a scale that will create meaningful change.
How do we make this happen?
[The American Forest Foundation, ATFS’s parent group,] is working with partners and volunteers to remove the barriers – such as cost, awareness, landowner outreach challenges, forester capacity limitations, among others, that currently prevent more family forest owners from participating in active stewardship. Read on to see the latest results from our pilot programs aimed at doing just that.
REMOVING BARRIERS, INCREASING LANDOWNER ENGAGEMENT
One way we are engaging more landowners in active stewardship is by bringing innovations to the American Tree Farm System. We are testing new ways we can engage greater numbers of family forest owners through ATFS by removing some of the barriers these landowners face when it comes to certification.
We have seen very strong results in our pilots in Northern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle where we are working with partners to reach more landowners and expedite the certification process. So far this year, these efforts have increased the number of new ATFS certified acres in the pilot area by nearly 600% and boosted the number of new certified tree farms by over 300% in the same pilot area.
NEW TOOLS AND TACTICS ARE HELPING TO ENGAGE SIGNIFICANTLY MORE LANDOWNERS IN CERTIFICATION:
- Partner commitments and resources have focused efforts on certification growth, identifying opportunities and removing roadblocks.
- Landscape Management Plans reduce the time and cost barriers of certification while meeting the management plan requirements and providing an individual plan of action for ecah landowner. The LMP has successfully reduced time for certification from one to two months to one to two weeks.
- The Certification App allows foresters to quickly submit certification information and has cut the “paperwork load” for inspecting foresters, letting them focus on talking with landowners and cutting the time it takes to approve certification from weeks to days.
- WoodsCamp, AFF’s new digital marketing platform, is expanding our reach and accelerating action with previously unengaged family forest owners, further reducing the time and cost of certifying new tree farms.
What’s next? We are collaborating with our network of partners and State Tree Farm programs to roll out these new approaches to more of the American Tree Farm System. We are excited about the opportunities to engage even more landowners in active stewardship in the coming year.