Forest Certification has become the buzz-word at forest landowner gatherings.  Here we will try to provide information to you about this process and about different certifications.

Tree Farm Certification

I hope this information will be of help to you in reviewing your forest management plan if you are a certified member of Tree Farm.  If you have further questions contact the State Tree Farm Committee in your state.  If you need help go to the American Tree Farm website for assistance. 

(SFI Certification)  Sustainable Forestry Initiative

We recently purchased a new vehicle and were even more excited about that purchase when we received a survey about our buying experience.  This symbol was on the envelope showing the paper came from SFI certified wood.  Wood from certified Tree Farms is designated SFI.  It was good to see the company we just purchased the truck from was using this certification because this is the certification of the wood we sell.  There are other certifications but most of the certified wood sold in Alabama is SFI.  We may have produced the wood for that paper.

Tree Farm Certification

Purpose of post: For help to those going through a Tree Farm assessment by Price Waterhouse Coopers.
I serve on the State Tree Farm Committee and kind of understand what goes on in this process but I feel other landowners might be very unsure about this process.  This is the reason for this post.

This year, 2014, we were randomly chosen by the American Tree Farm System along with 30 other Tree Farms in Alabama to go through a certification assessment by Price Waterhouse Coopers.  There will be a professional forester hired as an independent assessor for the review.
On March the 14th we received a letter from the State Tree Farm Chairman informing us of the on-site visit.  The letter informed us of documents needed for the visit, mainly a forest plan for your property and a map.  We had to submit copies of these documents to the state committee for review.  Also, we had to submit a one page form called Pre-planning  Information.  A tentative schedule was included in the letter.
  On April 17th we received a call from the State Tree Farm coordinator scheduling the time for the visit.  We are to be visited the last day, next to last visit for Alabama before they fly to Georgia for their assessment.
Today we received another letter from the State Tree Farm Office telling us more about the assessment review.  We were given the exact time and date of the visit and informed we would be getting a call for directions to our Tree Farm.
Friday we received an email on last minute updates for the visit including information, tips, and references. The email said the visit would be for one hour and they must stay on schedule because two teams were to visit 37 Tree Farms in three and a half days in Alabama.
Two days before the visit we received an email letting us know that the assessment of the other Tree Farms have started and the visiting team is on schedule to visit us on Friday.
Friday will be here soon!
Friday has now come and gone and the Tree Farm assessment is over.  Karen called on Thursday night giving us a more precise time of meeting and we made final plans for the visit.
On Friday morning the team arrived at our home and we made a few pictures, from there Joann road with us to the property we were viewing.  We discussed the farm plan and some of our goals for the property.  She asked a few question about points in the plan.

Below is a copy of information posted on dewberrylandsblogspot about the visit.

Last Friday we had visitors to our property: Karen Boyd, a forester and the State Tree Farm Director, Tim Browning, a forester with the Alabama Forestry Commission and a State Tree Farm Committee member, Joann Cox, contract auditor with Price Waterhouse and Coopers and a forester, Nic Jordan, behind the camera and Clay County Forestry Commission ranger.  Joann was here to look at our forest management plan and review our property to see if we were following the standards for Tree Farm Certification.  This assessment allows us to sell certified wood from our property that is sustainable.  
Our assessment turned out well.  The assessor was very pleased with what we are doing on our property.  She gave us some of the best complements a Tree Farm owner could wish for.  She was very impressed with our outreach efforts to educate others about sustainable forest management.
They liked our signs and wanted a picture in front of them.

After the assessment we invited the group to our lodge for a quick lunch and then they left for one more Tree Farm assessment before being on their way back home.

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