C.A. "Buck" Vandersteen, Louisiana Forestry Association, bvan@laforestry.com (Presenter)
Sarah Crow, American Forest Foundation, scrow@forestfoundation.org
Stephen Pecot, Larson & McGowin, Inc., specot@larsonmcgowin.com


The American Tree Farm System (ATFS) is the oldest sustainable woodland system in America. Established in 1941 as a landowner recognition program, ATFS has evolved to become an internationally recognized, third-party audited certification system. The Louisiana Forestry Association (LFA), is a not-for-profit trade association promoting healthy, productive forests through the practice of sustainable forestry. With the professional assistance of Larson & McGowin, a forest management and consulting firm, the LFA established an ATFS Independently Managed Group (IMG) to provide an opportunity for interested members to receive third party certification. The LFA ATFS IMG group certification brings a number of landowners together under a single umbrella certificate, distributing the costs of certification among group members and reducing each member's administrative costs of complying with buyer inquiries that wood they purchase comes from sustainably managed forests. LFA members have supported the Tree Farm program since its inception in Louisiana in 1951. Many inaugural ownerships outgrew the acreage limitations to be in the Tree Farm Program for family landowners. The LFA IMG provided a way to remain in the Tree Farm program.