WASHINGTON – The American Forest Foundation (AFF) today announced the release of its updated Standards of Sustainability for Forest Certification treefarmsystem.org under the American Tree Farm System (ATFS). The Standards, which are revised every five years, are the result of a rigorous, multi-stakeholder process and based on international guidelines for sustainable forest management and conservation.

The American Tree Farm System treefarmsystem.org (ATFS) works to sustain America’s family-owned forests and the clean water and air, wildlife, wood products and recreational opportunities these forests provide. ATFS does this by empowering woodland owners to be effective stewards of the land and by setting sustainable forest management standards that are used by thousands of family-owned forests certified by ATFS.

“As stewards of millions of acres of forests, small woodland owners have a credible and independently audited conservation tool in these updated Standards,” said Sarah Crow, senior director of certification at AFF. “This is a comprehensive, internationally recognized approach that puts family forest owners on the leading edge of conservation principles.”

The Independent Standards Review Panel treefarmsystem.org/atfs-announces-independent-standards-review-panel> (ISRP) developed the revisions based on an extensive public feedback process. The revised Standards include several core revisions to ensure long-term stewardship of America’s forests, including expanding best management practices to encompass water, air and soil, and clarifying management needed to protect threatened and endangered species and forests of recognized importance.

These Standards help guide the work of a wide diversity of people and organizations that make up the American Tree Farm System including landowners, natural resource professionals, ATFS inspectors, group managers, and third-party assessors who evaluate the sustainability of forests. Additionally, because the rigorous Standards are consistent with the Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), the world’s largest forest certification system, supply chains and organizations using wood produced from ATFS-certified forests can be internationally recognized for sustainable management.

“ATFS provides a credible, sustainable source of certified raw material, so landowners, suppliers and brand owners alike can have the confidence that ATFS certified wood is grown in America by families and individuals who work hard to ensure the wood is produced with the highest environmental standards,” noted Tom Martin, AFF’s President and CEO.

The revised Standards will govern ATFS certification for the next five years, beginning on January 1, 2015. The ATFS community and certificate holders will have one year to transition to any revisions to the Standards.

Detailed information on the new Standards, including a timeline of key dates in the transition process, can be found on the ATFS website treefarmsystem.org/transition-period.

Those interested in learning more about changes to the Standards are encouraged to visit treefarmsystem.org/transition-period or contact Sarah Crow at scrow@forestfoundation, 202-765-3440.

Source: American Forest Foundation

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