WASHINGTON — The American Tree Farm System® (ATFS) is working on-the-ground with local partners to expand ATFS certified forest acreage in North Carolina. Some of North Carolina’s preeminent forest companies have joined together to support the state’s sustainably managed family-owned forests.

The partnership comes at a critical time when threats to private forestland are growing. As much as 34 million acres of forestland could be lost in the United States during the next 50 years, according to a U.S. Forest Service assessment. These losses are projected to be the greatest in the South—as much as eight percent of the region’s forestland could disappear, primarily a result of increasing development and urbanization trends. Data is from the most current U.S. Forest Service Resources Planning Act Assessment.

Thanks to the contributions of the companies involved, an outreach campaign is now being conducted to inform Forest Stewardship Program participants about the opportunities and benefits associated with ATFS certification. Through ATFS certification, North Carolina’s family forest landowners are better recognized for their stewardship, both on-the-ground and in the marketplace. Tree Farm certification opens up market opportunities and resources to woodland owners, while the forest products industry gains more access to sustainably grown, certified fiber. Additional benefits to ATFS certification include invitations to landowner workshops, field tours, and webinars.

“The American Forest Foundation applauds the commitment of these partners,” said Tom Martin, President and CEO of the American Forest Foundation. “North Carolina’s forest products industry contributes 67,500 jobs to the economy. The expansion of the certified family forest base supports local jobs in the green economy and also serves as a source of sustainable local wood for building and other materials. This is a win for family forest owners, for our partners in the forest products sector, and for their customers who want more certified fiber.”

The participating companies include Domtar Corporation, Enviva, H.W. Culp Lumber Co., KapStone Paper and Packaging, Louisiana Pacific, Resolute Forest Products, RockTenn, and Weyerhaeuser Company. The North Carolina Forest Service has also pledged in-kind support and is contacting its Forest Stewardship Program participants about the opportunities and benefits associated with forest certification and ATFS.

“The North Carolina Forest Service is proud to participate in this project to expand the number of family forests certified under the American Tree Farm System. ATFS has long been a cornerstone in sustainable management and the benefits of membership help private landowners in our state maintain their forests as working lands,” said North Carolina State Forester Greg Pate.

“Weyerhaeuser applauds the effort to ensure a supply of wood from sustainably-managed forests. Family-owned American Tree Farms, whose owners demonstrate best practices every day, are a wonderful source for certified wood,” said Cassie Phillips, Weyerhaeuser’s Vice President of Sustainable Forests & Products.

“Family Forest owners stand to benefit greatly from certification with the American Tree Farm System in many ways. It is important to join in the commitment to improve sustainability for future generations through the many tools offered by ATFS participation,” said Charles Daniels, procurement forester with Domtar.

“Private landowners are a vital source of fiber for our mills and we look for every opportunity to support their efforts. Fiber from Certified Tree Farms helps ensure customers that our products are sourced with the upmost care for the environment. Even more importantly, the ATFS provides valuable information and assistance to ensure the health and productivity of the privately held forests where KapStone procures fiber,” said Bernard T. Rose, Fiber Supply Manager at KapStone Paper and Packaging.

The American Tree Farm System (ATFS) is the largest and oldest sustainable woodland system in the United States. ATFS is a program of American Forest Foundation (AFF), a GreatNonprofits 2012 Top Rated non-profit which offers tools and resources for stewardship including the woodland owner website www.MyLandPlan.org.

The American Tree Farm System® is a network of 82,000 family forest owners sustainably managing 24 million acres of forestland. It is the largest and oldest sustainable woodland system in the United States, internationally recognized, meeting strict third-party certification standards. The American Tree Farm System® is a program of the American Forest Foundation. Learn more at www.treefarmsystem.org/certification.

Source: American Tree Farm System

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