The Standards

The Standards of Sustainability are the road map woodland owners must follow as they work to obtain or maintain certification in the  American Tree Farm System. The 2015-2020 STANDARDS AND GUIDANCE provides detailed information about the requirements for certification. You can learn more about the Standards of Sustainability in this webinar An Overview of the 2015-2020 Standards and What it Means for You.


Standard 1: Commitment to Practicing Sustainable Forestry

Landowner demonstrates commitment to forest health and sustainability by developing a forest management plan and implementing sustainable practices.


Standard 2: Compliance With Laws

Forest-management activities comply with all relevant federal, state and local laws, regulations and ordinances.

Standard 3: Reforestation and Afforestion

Landowner completes timely restocking of desired species of trees on harvested sites and nonstocked areas where tree growing is consistent with land-use practices and landowner’s objectives.

Standard 4: Air, Water and Soil Protection

Forest-management practices maintain or enhance the environment and ecosystems, including air, water, soil and site quality.

Standard 5: Fish, Wildlife, Biodiversity and Forest Health

Forest-management activities contribute to the conservation of biodiversity. Standard 5 addresses Forests of Recognized Importance.

Standard 6: Forest Aesthetics

Forest-management activities recognize the value of forest aesthetics.


Standard 7: Protect Special Sites

Special sites are managed in ways that recognize their unique historical, archaeological, cultural, geological, biological or ecological characteristics.

Standard 8: Forest Product Harvests and Other Activities

Forest product harvests and other management activities are conducted in accordance with the landowner’s objectives and consider other forest values.