The American Tree Farm System is a nationwide community of more than 90,000 individuals and families joined by their desire for excellence in forest stewardship. These landowners share a commitment to protect watersheds and wildlife habitat; to conserve soil and provide recreation for their neighbors; and, at the same time, to produce the wood that America needs for thousands of useful products.
More than 58% of the productive forests in America are owned by ordinary citizens — not government or industry. These 10 million forest owners hold the key to the kind of forests future generations of Americans will enjoy.
Florida currently has more than 1,000 certified Tree Farms, accounting for approximately 1,000,000 acres of land.
To qualify for Tree Farm certification, woodlands must be:
- between 10 acres and 10,000 acres;
- under management, with a written and implemented plan that accounts for water quality, wildlife habitat, soil conservation and biodiversity, as well as production of forest products;
- protected from fire, insects, disease, and destructive grazing; and
- reforested in a timely manner after harvesting.
Tree Farmers must make good-faith efforts to:
- protect special sites and consider forest aesthetics;
- dispose of slash in an environmentally sound manner;
- use chemicals prudently; and
- contract with licensed and insured loggers and forest management contractors.
If you would like additional information on Tree Farm certification in Florida, or if you meet the qualifications outlined above and want to have your property inspected, please refer to the Tree Farm Districts map for the appropriate contact person in your area. You may also email us at Brittany@FLForestry.org
For more information about the benefits of Tree Farming and the American Tree Farm System, please visit www.TreeFarmSystem.org.
2021 JON GOULD FLORIDA OUTSTANDING TREE FARMERS OF THE YEAR: Ben & Louann Williams, Wetland Preserve (Putnam County)
The Florida Tree Farm Committee selected Ben and Louann Williams of Wetland Preserve as this year’s award winner for a laundry list of reasons. To name just a few of them:
• involvement with innovative ways to increase prescribed fire on private lands
• involvement in research to advance biological understanding of local wildlife and plant species of interest
• active removal of non-native plant and animal species, while maintaining the ecological balance of nuisance species such as coyotes as an important part of the natural ecosystem
• extensive involvement with outreach and community education and
• eagerness to coordinate recreational use of their property via the Florida Trail and for wounded veteran hunting events.
The Williams came to forestry later in life. Having spent 35 years in the seafood business previously, they understand the value of clean water and how the water cycle relates to their land management practices.
“Wetland Preserve exemplifies the Williams’ passion for land management and their desire to leave a lasting legacy,” said Association Vice President Jimmy Bielling, who presented the award. “They are known for their innovation, involvement in outreach and community education, and pride in promoting the stewardship organizations they belong to.”