WASHINGTON — One of the world's largest forest products companies has announced a supply chain preference for certified material sourced from the American Tree Farm System® (ATFS).

For more than 89,000 family forest owners sustainably managing 27 million acres of forestland in America, the Weyerhaeuser preference for their certified wood can make a real difference in the viability of the Tree Farms and the economic health of rural communities.

ATFS, a program of the American Forest Foundation, is the largest and oldest woodland system in America, and certified Tree Farmers meet the highest standards of sustainability and manage their lands for water, wildlife, wood, and recreation.

“Weyerhaeuser’s announcement is just what certified Tree Farmers have been waiting for,” said Tom Martin, President and CEO of the American Forest Foundation. “Healthy forests need healthy markets because protecting your trees against pests, pathogens and catastrophic fire can be expensive. These landowners are hardworking people who want to keep their forests, as forests, and keep them in their family.

“Weyerhaeuser’s continued commitment to ensuring woodland owners have the tools to manage sustainably is laudable,” added Martin.

Weyerhaeuser’s corporate sustainability goals include demonstrating forest stewardship by certifying at least 99 percent of its timberlands in North America to sustainable forestry standards like those of ATFS.

“Most of our customers want certified wood. There’s a widespread understanding of the value of certification—encouraging corporate best practices remains by far the most important role for certification. Buyers want to know their wood comes from sustainably managed forests,” said Dan Fulton, President and CEO of Weyerhaeuser Company.

“To give our customers what they want, we need more ATFS certified wood,” added Futon.

Weyerhaeuser supports the use of internationally accepted sustainable forestry standards, including the use of independent, external auditors that verify a company's commitment to responsible sourcing. Weyerhaeuser’s responsible fiber sourcing practices are guided by its wood procurement policy and implementation guidelines.

The preference for ATFS wood will be implemented at Weyerhaeuser through a number of measures, including:

•Incentives – Such as maintaining a priority market for Tree Farm certified material, especially when suppliers are put on quotas.

•Procurement decisions – Where a Vendor Management Plan is used (which scores wood suppliers on a number of metrics) Tree Farm certification will be added as a positive attribute.

•Policy – Declaring support for Tree Farm in the company’s Wood Procurement Policy and tracking Tree Farm wood use.

•Support expansion of the American Tree Farm System – Offering landowner assistance to encourage Tree Farm certification and management to ATFS Standards of Sustainability.

“America’s forests need strong industry players like Weyerhaeuser to recognize the value that family forest owners are contributing to sustainable forestry. Giving preference to wood from American Tree Farm System-certified land means more woodland owners have the financial resources to continue their hard work and on-the-ground stewardship,” said Martin.

ATFS and Weyerhaeuser share a long history, dating back to 1941 when the Clemons Tree Farm, first set aside to test fire control and reforestation practices, became the first privately owned forest to be included in the American Tree Farm System. The Forest History Society is the official archives for the American Tree Farm System. Learn more and view photos at www.foresthistory.org/ATFS.

Source: American Tree Farm System

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