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Q: Is a management plan still current for
Tree Farm if it was written over 10 years ago?
A: There is no time requirement for management plans within the Tree Farm program or the AFF Standards. Plans are required to be active and adaptive. If the landowner has a plan that is over ten years old but is still current to their objectives and for the type of management practiced on the property, it can still be considered for Tree Farm certification. Management plans must incorporate all of the required plan elements:
- Landowner’s objectives
- Forest condition
- Recommended management practices
- Forest health
- Wood and fiber production
- Threatened and endangered species
- Special sites (High conservation value forests)
- Invasive species
- Integrated pest management
Q: Who defines a high conservation value forest?
A: The term is similar to special sites under the AFF Standards; these areas can be defined by the landowners or credible outside organizations through an informal assessment.
Q: What are the
requirements for determining the presence of high conservation value forests?
A: All Tree Farmers are required to address HCVFs in their management plan. This can be a statement of the research done to find out if they have any or a description of the area if they do have an HCVF on their property. In some states, foresters are required to check natural heritage databases or statewide assessments while writing a management plan. The results of this research should be documented in the management plan.
Q: What resources
are available to research high conservation value forests?
A: The ATFS Certification Committee has determined that similar resources used to verify the existence of special sites can be used to verify high conservation value forests. These resources include the State Natural Heritage databases (or similar databases), state wildlife action plans, etc. The process to identify these areas is similar to the process used for identifying special sites as well. High conservation value forests are areas that need to be sustained for their unique values not a single attribute.