About Tree Farming
Where did the term “tree farm” come from?
The term “tree farming” was first used in the 1940’s to introduce
the public to sustainable forestry terminology that could be easily
understood. Farming implies continual stewardship and production of
goods year after year. By linking the term “farming” with trees,
foresters could communicate the concept of sustainable production of
forest products over time. Tree farming implied commitment to the land
and was the philosophical opposite of the “cut-out and get-out”
philosophy of the early 20th century.
What is a “tree farm”?
The term “tree farm” has become a common way to describe forests
that are planted after harvest and managed for another crop. Despite
what some people think, tree farms are not Christmas tree plantations!
Tree farms are varied in nature and contain many species of trees and
understory plants, many stages of forest regeneration, and varied
habitats for the full range of wildlife species. Tree farms protect
offset carbon, and provide a place for recreation of many types.
But to be a Certified Tree Farm under the auspices of the American
Tree Farm System, the owner of a tree farm must meet certain standards
for sustainable management and be inspected by a qualified inspecting
What is “certification”?
Forest certification is a way for forest land owners to show the
public that they are growing trees in an environmentally responsible,
sustainable manner, as verified by an independent third-party auditor.
The American Tree Farm System is one of many certification programs
throughout the world. There are commonly accepted principles of
sustainable forestry that all certification systems meet, but there is
some debate over the specific standards and who sets and monitors them.
In August 2008, the American Tree Farm System received international endorsement by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forestry Certification schemes (PEFC) PEFC is
a framework for the assessment and endorsement of national forest
certification systems that have been developed based on internationally
recognized requirements for sustainable forest management. Since its
launch in 1999, PEFC has become the largest forest certification
umbrella organization covering national systems from all over the
world, delivering hundreds of millions of tons of wood to the
processing industry and then onto the market place from currently more
than 500 million acres of certified forests.
Updated: February 20, 2010