The American Forest Foundation has a long and respected history of developing innovative solutions and engaging partnerships that address our nation’s most pressing conservation challenges.



American Forest Products Industries begins operations, focusing on fire prevention outreach and support for self-regulation of privately owned forests.


The American Tree Farm System® is founded.


American Forest Products Industries evolves into the American Forest Institute, a forest products industry trade association dedicated to improving the management of America’s forests.


The American Forest Foundation is chartered as the nonprofit arm of the American Forest Institute, tasked with performing its educational, scientific and charitable activities.


The American Forest Institute evolves into the American Forest Council, an education and outreach organization to supplement the lobbying activities of the National Forest Products Association.


The American Forest Foundation becomes a co-sponsor of Project Learning Tree, an environmental education program administered by the American Forest Council.


The American Forest Council aligns with the American Paper Institute to form the American Forest & Paper Association. The American Forest Foundation takes over the administration of Project Learning Tree and the American Tree Farm System.


The American Tree Farm System receives an international endorsement from PEFC, the world’s largest independent, nongovernmental organization that promotes sustainably managed forests through independent third-party certification.


The administration of Project Learning Tree is shifted to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.


The American Forest Foundation acquires Woodscamp, an online tool that matches landowners with opportunities and connects them with professional support.


In partnership with The Nature Conservancy, the American Forest Foundation launches the pilot of the Family Forest Carbon Program in Pennsylvania.

Our Story

The American Forest Foundation was chartered in 1981 to perform the educational, scientific and charitable activities of the American Forest Institute, whose programs had been active since 1932.

Initially, the goal of this newly chartered group was to explore the effectiveness of two new organizational concepts: first, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that could bring together groups with diverse agendas to work on specific, common objectives, and second, a low-risk setting where innovative programs could be tested and then extended.

By the 1990s, awareness had started to increase that tree farming was not just about growing trees as a crop, but that it had many other benefits too.

By better managing their forests, family forest owners were also improving the health of their woods and supporting essential benefits for their communities—like clean water, wildlife habitats, recreational activities, sustainable wood supplies and more.

This shift in thinking was a turning point for the forestry industry in general and also the American Forest Foundation, and it laid the groundwork for the conservation work that our team has expanded on today.

A long history supporting family forest owners

Our history of supporting America’s family forest owners has positioned us as a key player in forest conservation, wildlife protection, watershed protection and forest policy.

Today, our conservation efforts attract a broad coalition of partners who, like us, are dedicated to preserving our nation’s forests and the many benefits they provide for generations to come.