Position Statements

Sustainability of American Forests


Promote sustainable forest management, leverage credible processes and tools for achieving and assessing sustainable forest management across the scale and diversity of forests in the United States, and position America’s sustainability journey and current performance in a global context.


Core criteria of sustainable forest management, evolution of sustainability in an American context, and available resources, tools, and data for forest landowners and managers to quantify, evaluate, monitor, and provide assurances of sustainable forest management for stakeholders, consumers, and others.


The Society of American Foresters (SAF) supports and promotes sustainable forest management, for both consumptive and non-consumptive objectives, with forest landowners, land managers, and the forest products industry as partners in conservation and sustainability. SAF helped establish a strongly engrained culture of conservation within the United States and has nurtured the sustainability journey of American forests. Sustainability has a distinctive position in SAF’s Code of Ethics, Vision Statement, and other organizational writings and commitments. SAF recommends that sustainability goals factor in short- and long-term objectives that address the needs of current and future generations of landowners, land managers, and society. Sustainability is achieved via a balanced approach to forest management, at both the stand- and landscape scales, recognizing that not every forested acre can simultaneously meet every objective.

Planning, management, and harvesting decisions need to consider environmental, economic, and social values, incorporate best available science, and apply commonly accepted best management practices (BMPs) while also addressing existing operational constraints. Sustainable forest management provides for the sustained production of forest-based products and services, which supports continued conservation and investment in those forests over the long term. SAF works to raise awareness of the current threats to American forests created by evolving social, environmental, and economic forces. As the organization representing professional forestry, SAF is well positioned and committed to working with others to address these interconnected challenges and ensuring the continued health, integrity, and use of forests to benefit society in perpetuity.

Approved: April 2022

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