Forest Certification Programs

GFA recognizes the goal of certification programs to promote sustainable forestry management practices.

Georgia timberland owners have a long history of practicing sustainable forestry on its 24 million acres of private forestland that predates certification. GFA also recognizes that competition among certification programs produces innovation and continuous improvement in certification processes and forestry practices.

The American Tree Farm System (ATFS), the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) are examples of forest certification programs that can make positive contributions to our nation’s public and private forests. GFA advocates for a voluntary and inclusive approach to certification as it relates to landowner objectives.


The Georgia Tree Farm program recognizes landowners who are managing their land well. As a certified Tree Farmer, a landowner receives periodic mailings of the American Tree Farmer magazine. They also receive a certificate and the familiar green and white Tree Farm sign to display on their property. The Tree Farm program provides for periodic visits by professional foresters to help the landowners keep their forests productive.

Georgia Tree Farm Program representatives: Phillip Exley, Chair, phillip.exley@weyerhaeuser.com(478) 472-5432; and Buford Sanders, bsanders@gfc.state.ga.us, 478-951-8238

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Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting sustainable forest management. SFI works with conservation groups, local communities, resource professionals, landowners, and countless other organizations and individuals who share our passion for responsible forest management.

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Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an independent, non-profit organization that protects forests for future generations.

FSC is an open, membership-led organization that sets standards under which forests and companies are certified. Their membership consists of three equally weighted chambers — environmental, economic, and social — to ensure the balance and the highest level of integrity.

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