Among these efforts, the American Tree Farm System (ATFS) announced a joint effort by AFF, the Florida Forest Service and the University of Florida for a pilot landscape management plan to encourage sustainable forestry and bring more wood grown on family-owned forests into the sustainable global supply chain.
All three certification systems provide guidelines for management to ensure that forests are managed to the highest possible environmental and sustainability standards.
"AFF's innovative approach will ensure many more American family forest owners have access to tools such as certification which is increasingly required by retailers. Family forest owners worldwide in our 40 national certification systems will be able to benefit from this approach," said Ben Gunneberg, CEO of PEFC International.
The new certification approach will reduce barriers for landowners and look at management planning from the landscape level, taking into account conservation priorities and the latest science. It aims to improve overall forest health and conserve and promote benefits for habitat, biodiversity and clean water.
"Our woodland owners offer enormous possibilities for both forest stewardship and sustainable wood sourcing. But in order to tap this potential we must build long-lasting, meaningful relationships with them, continuously provide them with tools, and support them over the long term ownership of their land." said AFF President and CEO Tom Martin.
"This really puts all the pieces of the sustainable forestry story together from the local to the global level. We have an innovative initiative happening through AFF with small landholders that links them to the continent-wide reach of SFI in North America, which in turn is connected to the international level by PEFC. “ said Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI Inc.
"By participating in the SFI Forest Partners Program, we are helping infuse the forest products industry with an increased supply of certified timber. Although responsible forest management has been a priority of the Florida Forest Service since the beginning, this new certification provides conscientious consumers with the guarantee that our focus is on protecting, renewing and sustaining healthy forests," said Jim Karels, Florida State Forester. "