Sightline Express
In This Issue
Management Plan Template
New Forms for 2011
Updating Management Plans
America's Great Outdoors Initiative
Updated Pioneer Tree Farm Program
Contact Us

Victoria Lockhart

Certification Manager

(T) 202 463 2738

February 2011

We hope you enjoy the February edition of Sightline Express, a e-newsletter exclusively for American Tree Farm System Inspectors. Past editions are available online at the Tree Farm website -

Management Plan Template Coming Soon!

ATFS is pleased to announce the availability of the national management plan template following the National Leadership Conference for ATFS leadership February 23 - 25. This is the first time a common template has been developed with ATFS, the Forest Service and NRCS to be used as a tool by landowners and foresters. We will be posting a copy of the template and helpful guides on Please contact ATFS staff if you have any questions.


This document is meant to be a tool for landowners and foresters and will not be required. The template will help reduce barriers for landowners to access Forest Stewardship, Tree Farm and NRCS cost-share programs.

New Forms for All Inspections in 2011
2010 was our year to transition to using the new Standards (2010 - 2015 AFF Standards of Sustainability). In 2011, please be sure to use the updated 004 form and the 2010 Standards for Tree Farm inspections. Any inspections done in 2011 may only be conducted by inspectors trained to the 2010 Standards. Training is still available (online and in-person workshops) for inspectors who are interested. Please email ATFS staff or your state committee representative for more information.
Updating Forest Management Plans 
The 2010 - 2015 AFF Standards have updated management plan requirements. Plans are required to address the following resource elements: forest health, soil, water, wood and fiber production, threatened and endangered species, special sites, invasive species, integrated pest management, and high conservation value forests. If a resource element is not present on the property or relevant to its management, plans should state that clearly.


 Example: The plan writer has checked the threatened and endangered species database available in their state and seen that there are no documented occurrences of a threatened or endangered species on the Tree Farm. The plan should include a brief statement on the results of the plan writer's research and the date completed.


ATFS has developed a management plan addendum to help update current management plans to the new Standards. Please visit for a copy of the addendum.
Landowners and plan writers are always encouraged to update plans frequently using informal notes and comments.
America's Great Outdoors Initiative
This past spring, President Obama launched his America's Great Outdoors Initiative this past spring, and throughout the summer, tree farmers shared their stories and policy ideas for conserving family forests in listening sessions across the country, including sessions in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and many more. Tree Farmers also shared policy ideas on the America's Great Outdoors website covering the following topics:

This week, President Obama received his America's Great Outdoors Report on the progress of the America's Great Outdoors Initiative. We are pleased that the Report does recognize the importance of private, working forests as a part of the plan to conserve our great outdoors. Unfortunately, the report seems to miss the mark by not recognizing all of the tools family forest owners need to continue to keep their forests healthy and productive.

 The Report reflects the President's Budget Request to Congress for 2012, which proposed some increases to USDA Farm Bill conservation programs but still falls short of the funding levels enacted in the 2008 Farm Bill. These programs provide family forest owners with tools to keep their forests healthy and productive. The President's budget also proposes significant cuts to some important forestry programs that affect forest health. While we may not avoid short-term spending cuts, we will work to make sure these cuts don't jeopardize your ability to keep your forests healthy and productive.



 For more information on the Report, click here - 

The Updated Pioneer Tree Farm Program
The Pioneer Tree Farm program has been updated to serve as a tool to keep landowners engaged in the Tree Farm System if they have not yet taken steps to conform to the 2010 Standards. You can now move certified landowners into the Pioneer category if you find that they do not meet the 2010 - 2015 Standards. This designation should be used if the landowners are committed to updating their management (or management plan) to the new requirements. Please contact your state committee if you have questions on how the program will be implemented in your state -
Q: If a Tree Farm has been sold, can it remain certified under the new owners?      
A: Once a Tree Farm is sold outside of a landowner's family, it must be decertified. The new owners are definitely encouraged to participate in the program, but must undergo a new certification to a different Tree Farm number. If the property is passed on to a family member, the original Tree Farm number can stay but please be sure to list the new contact's name and information on the 004 form so that we have up to date information on the property.
Thank you for your participation as an inspector with the American Tree Farm System! Your interaction with family woodland owners is helping to improve the sustainability of our forest resources across the U.S.
As always, check out the latest news of what's happening at the American Forest Foundation on our website -
Please feel free to contact us at any time with any questions or concerns.