ATFS Certification - is it right for you?
ATFS has certification options to meet the forest certification needs of landowners, state agencies and organizations, and other natural resource organizations.
- State Tree Farm Committee programs - The State Tree Farm Committees are our oldest option for certification. Currently, there are 42 active state committees certifying over 26 million acres on Tree Farms across the U.S. Contact your State Tree Farm Program to see if ATFS Certification is right for you.
Independent third-party certification assessments will be performed for each of our four Tree Farm Regions by accredited auditors under contract with ATFS. Landowners may be asked to participate in a third-party certification audit. ATFS national staff will ensure that these requests are processed through the State Tree Farm Committees, and that the volunteer inspecting foresters are encouraged to attend the audit visit, if so desired by the landowner. We hope that landowners and foresters will be excited to showcase their commendable commitment to sustainability.
The implementation of third-party certification assessments is essential for maintaining the credibility of the Tree Farm program. Tree Farmers should be prepared for the possibility they will be asked to participate in third-party assessments. An assessment visit is similar to a Tree Farm inspection, where the assessor will review the management plan and related documents and take a walk around the property to confirm the management follows the appropriate management plan.
- Independently Managed Group programs- The Independently Managed Group (IMG) program was started in 2002 and currently we have 17 IMGs certifying over 4 million acres on 51,000 properties.
An IMG program is facilitated by a group manager who oversees landowner entry and exit into the IMG and coordinates certification audits. ATFS currently has a handful of landowners who hold individual third-party issued certificates. Both the IMG program landowners and the individual certificate holders receive education and outreach materials and opportunities from the State Tree Farm Committees.
- Individual third-party certificates- All lands eligible for ATFS certification may undergo a third-party certification audit to judge conformance to the AFF Standards of Sustainability. Lands covered by an individual third-party certificate are not included in the State Tree Farm programs or an Independently Managed Group program.