Massachusetts Tree Farms have been reviewed in three prior assessments in 2011, 2015, and 2020 and passed with flying colors.
This year’s assessment will review the organization and outreach of the Massachusetts Tree Farm program and how individual Tree Farmers carry out the national Tree Farm standards on the ground.
A sampling of Massachusetts Tree Farms will be chosen for review this year with some determined by the national assessors and others proposed by the state program. Tree Farms that are chosen for the review will be asked to provide copies of their management plans and Forest Cutting Plans for any recent harvests on their land.
After reviewing the management plans, assessors will visit the 15 Tree Farms selected over a three-day period in May to see how the Tree Farmers manage their woodlands and protect the environment.
After completing the review, the assessing foresters will make recommendations to the national program for any discrepancies in carrying out the standards on the ground and ways to correct them.
“Our experience is that each Tree Farmer who was chosen to have an onsite visit in previous assessments really enjoyed showing and talking about their Tree Farm, noted Massachusetts Tree Farm administrator Gregory Cox. “The foresters who do the visits enjoy seeing how different woods are managed. The biggest problems we’ve had during the visits (other than ticks) is keeping the visits short and getting to the next Tree Farm on time.”
While waiting to find out which Tree Farms have been selected to be reviewed this year, there are some things Tree Farmers can do to prepare.
The most important is to read over the forest management plan for their Tree Farm and check to see if it is up to date and complies with the Tree Farm standards. The Tree Farm program sent out a Management Plan amendment form to all Tree Farmers in December that can be used to supplement the management plans and address topics sometimes missed in management plans.
In addition, Tree Farmers are encouraged to have a Tree Farm log that documents any major changes or actions done since their management plan was written, and, if they used pesticides on their Tree Farm, a pesticide log that tracks what pesticides were used, when and for what purpose.
A final step is to gather any related documents such as Forest Cutting Plans for recent harvests so they can be copied for use in the review.
If Tree Farmers have any questions, they should call Greg Cox at (413) 339-5526 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.