Letter from ATFS

Dear ATFS Community,

As important stakeholders in the success of the American Tree Farm System® (ATFS) program, you are likely aware that one of the unique and most valuable aspects of ATFS is its endorsement by the internationally renowned Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). Importantly, this endorsement connects the extensive network of small family-owned forests – the majority of private forests in the U.S. – to markets around the world.

The American Forest Foundation’s (AFF) Standards of Sustainability for Forest Certification (Standards) were designed for the size, scale, and management intensity of family-owned and small woodlands in the U.S. These rigorous Standards are the basis for enrollment in ATFS. PEFC requires that endorsed certification systems like ATFS, undergo a review at least every five years to ensure conformance with its international requirements. AFF’s 2015-2020 Standards are approaching this five-year mark, and beginning in 2020, AFF will formally initiate the process of revising its Standards for certification to the ATFS program.

In addition to complying with PEFC requirements, this process offers the ATFS community another opportunity to engage with our programming and shared work delivering conservation impacts on the ground. It is also an excellent way to take stock of the latest scientific developments in forestry, as well as recent developments in landowner engagement and forestry-related technologies. Learn more about the Standards revision process, the Independent Standards Review Panel (ISRP) that leads the process, and an anticipated timetable from beginning to end.

Throughout the process, important information will be sent periodically via email and posted on the ATFS and AFF websites, along with other modes of communication. Along the way, we welcome your feedback and are excited to involve the ATFS community throughout this important and inclusive process. Currently, you can provide input on two important matters:

  • AFF is currently soliciting feedback on its Standard Setting Procedure. If interested, please provide your comments or feedback by September 20, 2019. Click here to submit your feedback.
  • The revision process is led by an Independent Standards Review Panel (ISRP), which is appointed by the AFF Board of Trustees (Board). The Board is currently seeking recommendations for candidates to serve on the ISRP and nominations are being accepted through September 20, 2019. Click here to recommend a candidate.

Thank you for your continued leadership and partnership, which are essential to the ATFS program’s future. We are excited about the opportunities this process provides and look forward to engaging with you in the coming months to ensure its success.

If you have any questions or would like more detail on any of the above, please feel free to reach out to me personally at lpeters@forestfoundation.org.

Sincerely, Leigh Peters – ATFS Certification Manager