American Tree Farm System
The Louisiana Forestry Association is the facilitator for the American Tree Farm System in the state. Founded in 1941, the American Tree Farm System is the oldest and largest forest conservation, certification and advocacy program in the United States.
The program began in Louisiana in 1950 and the first tree farm was approved for the Urania Lumber Company in 1951. This was appropriate since Urania was considered the “cradle of reforestation” in the South due to Henry Hardtner’s pioneering replanting program.
Today there are about 2,000 Tree Farms in the state totaling 1.5 million acres.
The requirements to enroll your land as a Tree Farm are simple:
- You must own at least 10 acres of forestland and no more than 20,000 contiguous acres.
- You must have a qualified written management plan.
- You must consider air, water and soil quality and conservation of fish, wildlife and biodiversity.
- You should consider the visual aspects of forestry practices.
- You should recognize historical, biological, archeological, cultural or geological sites.
- You should have responsible timber harvests, forest operations and reforestation.
- New Tree Farms must enroll in the local program by joining the Louisiana Forestry Association. Membership is $25 per year or .021 cents per acre, whichever is greater.
Once enrolled, a volunteer forester will make an inspection of your land. You may get a free Tree Farm logo sign to place on the project and you may order a name panel ($20) from the LFA office.
The national program calls for random inspections of tree farms in your state. You will be contacted when your tree farm is chosen for reinspection.
Certification is more important than ever today as consumers want to ensure that products come from sustainable managed forests. For small private landowners, the American Tree System is a reputable and affordable way to do so.