American Forest Foundation
The American Forest Foundation (AFF) works on-the-ground with families, teachers and elected officials to promote stewardship and protect the values provided by our nation’s forest heritage. A commitment to the next generation unites our nationwide network of forest owners and teachers. AFF works nationwide and in partnership with local, state and national groups to address ecological and economic challenges that require the engagement of family forest owners.
AFF’s mission is to “ensure the sustainability of America’s family forests for present and future generations in conjunction with our strategic partners.” AFF is committed to creating a future where North American forests are sustained by the public that understand and values the social, economic, and environmental benefits they provide to our communities, our nation, and the world.
AFF’s highest priority information needs include:
- Absentee forest landowners – Who are the absentee landowners of small woodlots across America, what motivates them, how do we reach them and what do they need to help them make more informed decisions in the management of their forestlands?
- Next generation of woodland owners – What are the characteristics of the next generation of people who will own America’s woodlots, what motivates them, how do we reach them, keep them engaged over time, and what do they plan to do with their forestlands?
- Local community planning and community development – What are the best approaches to engage local communities on forest resource issues? What methods work best for integrating forest conservation, ecological and economic goals at the community level?
- New technologies to assess and document impact – How can AFF and rural forest communities use new and emerging communications, remote sensing, and computer technologies to better assess and communicate the impacts of family forests and AFF contributions on the values that people care about?
- Issues, trends, and challenges for family forests – What are the causes of and solutions for current and emerging threats to America’s family forests, including fire risk, invasive plants and insects, and forest loss?
- Human dimensions training of forestry students – How can curricula at NAUFRP institutions enhance the communication and human dimension skills of professional foresters to meet the current and emerging needs of family forest owners?
- Engaging family forest owners in era of declining budgets – What new approaches or innovations can be used by Cooperative Extension, USFS, NRCS, state agencies, etc. to maintain or increase their education and outreach services to family forest owners in an era of declining federal and state budgets?
- Improved connections with NAUFRP institutions – How can AFF and family forest owners across the country better connect and collaborate with forest researchers and educators at NAUFRP institutions to develop more place-based projects, engage and inform forestry and wildlife students on family forest issues, and more directly serve the needs of family forest owners?
- Engagement pathways – What actions should AFF promote to family forest owners to achieve on-the-ground improvements to their forests? What barriers and benefits are associated with those actions? How do we keep family forest owners engaged on the pathway over time?
- Market infrastructure – Is there enough capacity to serve family forest owners interested in taking forest management actions? What are the medium- and long-term market trends for their timber?
- Internet connectivity in rural communities – What is the level of internet connectivity in rural communities, how do those in rural communities use the internet, how is the internet used by small woodland owners to make stewardship decisions on their lands, and what, if anything, can be done to improve the situation? How does technology affect information transfer and engagement of family forest owners? Do the lack of connectivity and/or uses of the internet create barriers to engagement, or are they the same barriers faced with landowners that are also connected?