Washington D.C. – The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and the American Forest Foundation (AFF) have formed a new partnership to grow the amount of certified family and other small holdings in North America. Through this partnership, SFI and AFF are working together on a Small Lands Group Certification Module (Module), an innovative way to grow certified family lands and small holdings by building on the foundation of SFI’s Fiber Sourcing Standard and drawing on the strengths of the American Tree Farm System (ATFS) forest management standard.

Under this Small Lands Module, companies certified to the SFI Fiber Sourcing Standard will be able to form a new type of certification group to certify small lands within their wood and fiber supply area.

This partnership builds on SFI’s previous work to create a Small Lands Group Certification Module, draws on AFF’s expertise in family woodland conservation, adding elements to clarify support for long-term landowner engagement, ongoing monitoring, and forest management practices consistent with the ATFS Standards of Sustainability, to enable lands in the U.S. to be certified to ATFS, and in Canada to SFI, through the Module. By adding these and other components, the Module will improve forest conditions over time, support family landowners throughout their tenure and be credible in the marketplace as producing sustainably managed fiber.

With this new partnership, SFI and AFF will work together along with a Task Force of knowledgeable leaders in sustainable forestry, government, conservation, indigenous groups, and the forest products sectors to respond to comments received during a 60-day comment period. Members of the task force will be listed at the Small Lands Module public engagement page when confirmed. The final agreed text of the Module will be submitted to the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) for approval this Spring. Upon approval, fiber produced from lands certified under this program will be certified content for both PEFC and SFI labels and chain of custody systems.