Sightline Express
In This Issue
Interesting Landowner Activities
004 Forms
ATFS Eligibility
New Plan Template
New Resource for Prescribed Burning
National Walk in the Woods Day
Ecosystem Markets Conference
Farm Bill
Contact Us

Victoria Lockhart

 Certification Manager

(T) 202 463 2738


Quincey Blanchard

Certification Coordinator

(T) 202 463 2451

May 2011

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

Interesting Landowner Activities You Noted on 004 Inspection Forms 
State Tree Farm Committees are now in full swing working with you the inspectors to complete the 2011 required sample inspections. The required inspections are a crucial way for ATFS to monitor the integrity of the program, and ensure Certified Tree Farms are meeting our 2010-2015 Standards of Sustainability. We are also able to get a better understanding of the needs of our Tree Farmers and Inspectors across the country through the information included on the completed 004 forms. For an example of the wonderful things we have learned about Tree Farmers on the 004 forms, a Tree Farmer in Iowa donated much of his timber from his Tree Farm to a school, sold some to neighbors, and constructed a new house! Thanks for continuing to give detailed information on your 004 forms and help us cater our program to you and the Tree Farmers!

Reminder: Take a 004 form with you when you visit a landowner

If you are heading out to visit a landowner, please consider taking a 004 inspection form with you. Check with your Tree Farm state administrator (or online on the ATFS database if you have access) to see if the landowner is currently certified. Not sure how to contact your state administrator? Check out our "Tree Farm in your State" page on the ATFS website -

Landowner Eligibility Under ATFS 
ATFS maintains eligibility requirements for landowners and properties to ensure that the AFF Standards are appropriate for the property to be certified. More detailed guidance on the ATFS eligibility requirements is available at but here are some of the highlights:

 Inspectors can certify contiguous properties that are 10 - 10,000 acres through the state Tree Farm committees

Any contiguous property over 10,000 acres cannot be certified by a state Tree Farm committee. Certification is offered through Group programs or by obtaining an individual third party certificate. For more information, contact ATFS staff at

 Properties owned by state governments must be certified through a Group program.

  Industrial or publicly traded companies cannot be certified by the American Tree Farm System


Properties that were certified by ATFS before the eligibility requirements approval in 2009 are "grandfathered" into the program. There are three main groups affected by the eligibility policy: state government owned properties, other government owned properties, and properties larger than 10,000 contiguous acres. ATFS staff will work with state Tree Farm program committees to implement these transitions.


State government owned properties - State government properties are eligible for ATFS certification. Properties owned by state governments in the system before 2009 have until December 13, 2012 to be certified through an ATFS group program or obtain their own third-party certificate.


Other government owned properties - Town, county and other non-state government owners may continue to certify properties through the State Tree Farm programs. Larger than 10,000 contiguous acres - Properties larger than 10,000 contiguous acres must be transitioned out of the State Tree Farm programs by December 31, 2012. They may continue to be certified but must participate in an ATFS group program or obtain their own third-party certificate. ATFS staff will work with state leadership to confirm the acreage per parcel distribution of Tree Farms that are listed in the database as having over 10,000 acres. ATFS staff will work with state leadership to transition properties.

Have You Used the New Mangement Plan Template Yet?
In February we released the new Natural Resource Conservation Service, USFS, and ATFS joint management plan template. We are planning to host webinars in the coming months and would like your feedback on how the template is working for you. Please contact Caroline Kuebler with any feedback about your experience using the template.  
A New Resource for Landowners Interested in Prescribed Burning
The Southern Fire Exchange (SFE) is a new initiative to promote on-the-ground application of fire science information across the South, especially for prescribed burning.  The American Forest Foundation is represented on the SFE Advisory Board as are many of the Prescribed Fire Councils in the southern states.  SFE activities include an online Resource Center ( where you can find fact sheets, the Fire Lines newsletter, research summaries and presentations, and a wide variety of other information and links related to fire management.  The Consortium of Appalachian Fire Managers and Scientists ( is a similar fire information program for mountain pine and hardwood ecosystems in the region.  Tree Farm members with any interest in prescribed fire or wildfire suppression in the South will find these new resources particularly useful. For more information contact Paul Trianosky at
May 21 - National Walk in the Woods Day 
Last month, we announced the National Walk in Woods Day as part of the U.S. celebrations for the 2011 International Year of Forests. Just a reminder, National Walk in the Woods Day is coming up this month on Saturday, May 21.  Consider helping youth and adults alike discover a forest and learn about its importance by participating in, or leading, a "walk in the woods." Check out for more information, a list of ideas, and resources for your Tree Farmers.  Please let Liz Sandler ( know if you are planning an event or know of one in your state.
Also, if you've not already done so, check out, the official U.S. website for 2011 International Year of Forests.  Here you can post your own forest-related news, "walks in the woods" events, and other activities to highlight the good work that you, your organization or agency is doing to help sustain America's forests for today and future generations.
Ecosystem Markets Conference
The American Forest Foundation and the World Resources Institute (WRI) are delighted to present the 4th annual national Ecosystem Markets Conference. Titled Ecosystem Markets: Making Them Work, the conference will be held in Madison, Wisconsin from June 29 to July 1, 2011.The program will take place over 2 days to be followed by a field tour of operational ecosystem service credit generation projects-thereby providing a comprehensive information and networking opportunity for hands-on project developers and managers, landowners, policymakers, and academics.  For more information and registration please visit the conference website at or contact Christine Cadigan at
Farm Bill 
The American Tree Farm System is ramping up for the 2012 Farm Bill to make sure that the hard-won gains for forestry in the 2008 Farm Bill are maintained.  For members of Congress to care, however, they need to know that programs like EQIP, WHIP, and CSP are being used in their districts, and that they are having a real effect on the ground.  Over the next two months, we will be collecting stories and experiences from Tree Farmers around the country that we can share on Capitol Hill.  We will be taking submissions until June 15th.  Please share any stories you have of working with Tree Farmers who use these programs effectively.  
Q: What is the difference between a missing owner and one that is not interested?        
 A: These two reasons for decertification are mixed up quite frequently but are actually pretty different. A missing owner is one that you have tried to contact in a variety of different ways and you just cannot seem to locate. For example, you called the number listed on the 004 inspection form after sending a letter to the address listed. You received no response to either contact but tried again with a phone number obtained through the phone book. This third contact also didn't work so you returned the 004 inspection form to the state administrator, recommending decertification for this property due to missing owners. If you had reached the landowner on any one of these tries and the landowner, after hearing about the benefits of the Tree Farm program, said that they no longer want to be certified, this would be a decertification due to no interest.
Q: What is the different between pioneer and substandard?  
A: With the introduction of the updated AFF Standards in 2010, there are a number of landowners that may want some additional time to ensure their management plan and on the ground activities meet the new Standards. For interested and committed landowners, the pioneer Tree Farm category is available to give them time to work towards conformance with the Tree Farm Standards.
If a landowner does not meet the Standards and is not committed to making the necessary changes, their property should be decertified. For example, if the landowner does not have a written forest management plan and does not want to work  with a forester to write one, their property must be decertified as substandard.
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 Tree Farm System on our website -


Please feel free to contact us at any time with any questions or concerns.