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Resources for Tree Farmers

Strengthening Markets for Wood Products

America’s family-owned forests, covering more than  262 million acres, supply the bulk of the nation’s renewable wood products. Green products are in high demand, as more and more architects, builders, contractors, wholesalers, retailers and consumers elect to reduce their environmental impacts with the purchase of green products. The building sector, one of the largest users of forest products, is greening its industry with private-sector green building rating systems. However, many of these policies are outdated, and in an effort to support these private-sector standards, policy makers often attempt to mandate these standards without careful consideration of the implications for all U.S.

Watch the video, Wood: A Better Way to Build and learn more about the benefits of wood from an Arkansas Tree Farmer.  

AFF supports public and private sector policies that encourage the “greening” of America through the use of forest products produced from American Tree Farm System certified lands. Public policies that promote green buildings and green procurement must recognize and treat all credible forest certification systems equally.


Green public policies are developing at the federal, state and local level, mostly focused on regulation and incentives for green building. These policies can help keep families who have made a significant commitment to utilize high environmental standards keep these lands forested by encouraging the use of wood products from ATFS sustainably managed forests. However, if these policies are structured to discourage the use of wood products from ATFS-certified forests, family forest owners will be unable to access these growing markets, potentially foregoing added income important for helping families stay on the land.

  • Include & Encourage Wood Products
    - Support green procurement and green building (including green schools) that encourages the use of wood products from ATFS-certified family forests.
    - Modify existing private-sector green building rating systems that do not support wood products from ATFS certified family forests.
    - Support private-sector consumer efforts that encourage use of wood products from ATFS certified family forests.
  • New Market Opportunities
    - In addition to our support for traditional markets, AFF supports the development of new market opportunities for landowners as well. 


Recent Actions

  • Senator Merkley (OR) and Representative Welch (VT) lead a letter with 25 other members of Congress encouraging the President to recognize forests and forest products as a climate solution.
  • 2014 Farm Bill changes USDA's Biobased Markets Program to include most forest products.
  • At the end of 2013, two federal agencies changed their green building policies to give wood products, including products from American Tree Farm System® (ATFS)-certified lands (a program of AFF), a fair shot.  The General Services Administration (GSA) and the Department of Defense (DOD) decided to recognize both Green Globes and LEED as viable green building rating systems for federal buildings. They have for a number of years only recognized LEED, which discourages the use of wood—especially wood from ATFS-certified forests.  With this change, we now have an opportunity to get the federal government to use more wood in their buildings, and to use wood from ATFS certified forests.  
  • A letter to the editors of USA Today:  LEED ignores one of America's greenest building materials and does little to promote forest conservation.  10/25/2012
  • Family forest owners, foresters, and wildland firefighters call on the Administration to support policies and strengthen wood product markets, allowing landowners to reinvest back into their land and manage for fire resilient woodlands and reduce the risk of devastating fire to our firefighters, our communities, and our forests.
  • AFF submitted comments regarding the General Services Administration's (GSA) green building certification system review.  The GSA is evaluating their use of green building certification systems, and AFF encourages them to consider adopting an approach that recognizes multiple rating systems.
  • AFF submitted comments on the USDA's proposed regulations to revise the guidelines for designating Biobased Products for federal Procurement on July 2, 2012.
  • AFF Board Chairmas and VA Tree Farmer John Burke testifies at House Agriculture Committee Farm Bill hearing
    On May 18, 2012, John Burke testified before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Forestry and Energy. Speaking on behalf of the American Forest Foundation network, Mr. Burke highlighted the need to maintain forest owner access in Farm Bill conservation programs and include forest products in the USDA Biobased Markets Program.
  • USDA Biobased Product Labeling and Forest Products
    AFF and other organizations within the forestry community submitted testimony to the Senate Agriculture hearing on Farm Bill Energy Title Programs.  This testimony outlined the community's collective view of the current USDA Biobased products policies and the way in which it excludes U.S. forest products.
  • Stay update-to-date with our news releases.  Please check out our most recent release regarding the federal government’s announcement to increase their purchase of biobased products and the issue surrounding the exclusion of forest products from the current biobased policy.
  • GBAC's review of Green Building Certification System
     AFF joined other organizations to work collectively and offer comments and recommendations as the Green Building Advisory Committee (GBAC) reviews green building certification systems


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