Every year different Tree Farm programs around the country are assessed to determine how well they are meeting the American Forest Foundation’s Standards for Sustainability. Such assessments both help to confirm the great work that Tree Farmers do in caring for their woodlands, and show ways to better serve woodland owners.
This year, Tree Farms in Massachusetts will be reviewed during the 2020 assessment and a random group of 15 Tree Farms will be selected for on-site visits by the professional foresters sent as neutral assessors. In the last assessment in 2015, foresters visited 15 Tree Farms from Lanesboro to Littleton and were very impressed by the way Tree Farmers here care for their land. Many Tree Farmers very much enjoyed showing off their woods and talking about the problems and fun they had in managing their land.
In early January, members of the Tree Farm Committee met with a representative from Price Waterhouse Coopers to put together a list of Tree Farms they’d like to visit during the assessment in the spring. Right now we’re checking to find out if each of those selected is still actively managed. Once a final list has been determined, we will contact the Tree Farmers who have been selected and ask for copies of their management plans and any Forest Cutting Plans for harvests done in their woods in the previous ten years.
The actual assessment will be carried out over a three day period between May 20th and May 22nd. A member of the Tree Farm committee and the assessor will visit each of the Tree Farms selected for visits, talk with the Tree Farmers about their land and what they’ve been doing with it, walk on the property with the Tree Farmer, and talk with the forester who manages it, if possible.
Massachusetts Tree Farms have been shown by the previous assessments in 2011 and 2015 to be very well managed and we expect the same will be found next year. Almost every Tree Farm we’ve visited has been a great example of how caring landowners take care of their woods.