American Tree Farm System
The American Tree Farm System (ATFS) has been around for a long time. The “new” Tree Farm Program has been beefed up and requires a more formal written plan, maps, and documentation, but it is inexpensive and fairly easy to enroll in.
Timber harvested from properties enrolled in Tree Farm is now considered “certified wood” by some certification systems. The ATFS and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) signed a memorandum of understanding, recognizing each other’s forest management plans as equivalent. The recognition of ATFS management plans by NRCS now allows Tree Farmers much easier access to many of the cost-share programs available in the Farm Bill. The United States Forest Service signed a similar agreement recognizing the equivalence of Tree Farm management plans and state agency Forest Stewardship management plans. Our belief is that it will never be easier than now to enroll in Tree Farm, have your forest certified, and ensure that future actions or tightening of restrictions will affect your forests less because they are already certified. We have developed a cost efficient program to develop the necessary documents required by ATFS or to include ATFS requirements into normal management plan development.
Sustainable Forestry Initiative
The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) was begun by the forest products industry in 1995 as a way to demonstrate their commitment to land stewardship. Companies who are members of the American Forest & Paper Association are required to comply with SFI. Compliance requires that companies develop written policies that address water quality, wildlife habitat, biodiversity, reforestation, aesthetics and wood procurement.
The Wildlife Company and Southern Forestry Consultants personnel have been actively involved in numerous 3rd party audits. Our audit experience makes us ideally suited to analyze company policies, programs and practices and determine their readiness for 3rd party certification. Normally referred to as a Gap Analysis, this process is essential for any company that anticipates a 3rd party SFI audit. While we have developed policies and programs for all the objectives, we specialize in Objective 4. This objective focuses on wildlife and biodiversity and has been the one objective that has been the most difficult for companies to address. Our extensive management background, audit experience and understanding of industrial forestry uniquely qualifies us to develop a wildlife and biodiversity program that can be integrated into a company’s overall SFI program and meet the rigors of an SFI audit.
Forest Stewardship Council
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests. It was established in 1993 as a response to concerns over global deforestation. The FSC is comprised of members who have established a list of environmental, social, and economic standards that they feel are appropriate in managing forests. TWC has audited and consulted to the FSC standard and can help you achieve this certification standard.
The Wildlife Company biologists are uniquely qualified to participate in 3rd party audits to Sustainable Forestry Initiative and Forest Stewardship Council standards. We have participated in numerous audits specializing in wildlife and biodiversity issues. We also conduct audits and evaluations of internal company policies and guidelines such as Forestry Best Management Practices. These type evaluations are used by companies to train their personnel and improve their internal processes and performance.