What is a Tree Farm?

The term ‘tree farm’ is often used to refer to tree plantations, tree nurseries and Christmas tree farms. The Washington Tree Farm Program describes a tree farm as a privately-owned forest managed for clean water, wildlife, recreation, and sustainable timber production.


History of Tree Farm

On June 12, 1941, Tree Farm Number One was dedicated. It was a 120,000 acre forest owned by the Weyerhaeuser Timber Company in Washington State’s Grays Harbor County just outside of Montesano. Chaplin Collins, editor of the local Montesano Vidette, suggested naming the forest the “Clemons Tree Farm” in honor of pioneer logger, Charles H. Clemons.

The name “Tree Farm” caught on. At the Tree Farm dedication, Washington State Governor, Arthur B. Langlie said, “The Clemons Tree Farm may set the pace for millions of acres of such lands throughout the state.”

River RocksThe Governor was right. By the end of 1941, a West Coast Tree Farm Program was established in Portland, OR now known as The Industrial Forestry Association. The Western Pine Association developed a similar program and certified its first Tree Farm on September 24, 1942. During that same year, Alabama certified its first Tree Farm on April 4th, and the Arkansas Forestry Commission was close behind with their first Tree Farm dedication on June 6th. By the end of 1942, the Tree Farm program began to organize as the association now known as The American Forest Foundation.

Today, The American Tree Farm System (ATFS) is a network of family forest owners sustainably managing over 22 million acres of forestland. As a program of the American Forest Foundation, ATFS is the largest and oldest sustainable woodland system in the United States, and is internationally recognized and meets strict third-party certification standards.

For more than 75 years, ATFS has enhanced the quality of America’s woodlands by giving forest owners the tools they need to keep their forests healthy and productive. Stemming the loss of America’s woodlands is vital to our country’s clean water and air, wildlife habitat, recreational activities, and producing the jobs, wood, and paper products we all need.