Becoming a Certified Tree Farmer

The American Tree Farm System (ATFS) is a unique, internationally recognized certification program designed specifically for landowners who actively manage woodlands that are between 10 and 10,000 acres in size. The Certified Tree Farm sign tells your community and the world that you:

  • Meet the highest standards of sustainability
  • Actively manage your woodlands for wood, water, wildlife and recreation
  • Are doing it right!

To become a certified Tree Farmer, you will need to have a written forest management plan and demonstrate, through an inspection, that your management plan and practices meet the requirements of the Standards of Sustainability.

Tree Farmer Preston Floyd talks about the importance of sustainable forest management in this interview.

Farmers make a management plan


To become a Certified Tree Farmer, landowners must commit to upholding the Standards of Sustainability  and demonstrate their commitment to long-term sustainable forest management by having and implementing a written forest management plan. Read further to learn what a qualifying forest management plan must include.

Tree farm inspector


After you apply for certification and every 5 years after, a professional forester will come to your property for an inspection and review your management plan and your tree farm in order to verify that you meet the required sustainability standards.

Tree farm inspector


Landowners should review their management plan annually to be sure it reflects the current conditions on their tree farm.  The N.C. Tree Farm Program requires certified Tree Farms to be inspected and re-certified every five years in order to maintain certification. Continue here for helpful information to maintain your plan and your certification.