The Center provides programs for consulting, industrial, and state foresters. Consulting or industry foresters interested in participating in the management of certified forests or ultimately in managing their own certified groups can participate in the Center's Cooperating Foresters program. Cooperating Foresters will be provided training, technical assistance, and tools that ultimately will allow for efficient development of their own certified group composed of forest owners that they worked with at the Center. State foresters as well as consulting and industry foresters that do not wish to actively manage certified forests can participate in the Center's Associate Forester program.
The Center’s Cooperating Foresters (CCFs) are private industry or consulting foresters that have received training through the Center's Cooperating Forester Program that provides training, technical assistance, and tools for Forest Stewardship Council® and American Tree Farm System® forest management planning. CCFs are approved by the Center to work with forest owners (20 acres plus) on the development of forest management plans and implementation that meets the Center’s forest management standards. Upon application these forests can then be FSC and ATFS certified through the Center's group certificates. The following is information specific to CCFs.
- CCFs pay to undergo Center sponsored certification training and are approved by the Center to work with its participating forest management members.
- CCFs may bring existing clientele into the Center for certification under its group forest management certificate(s).
- As new forest owners apply for membership in the Center they will be provided with the names of CCFs that they are required to choose from to work with them on their certification.
- Forest owners pay the CCFs for inventory, monitoring, and other services (fees to be negotiated upon between the CCF and forest owner under the general guidelines provided by the Center).
- The Center provides technical, database and plan writing tools and support, and reporting mechanisms to deduce plan writing time and costs.
- The Center provides a network of forest industries that are interested in certified wood procurement and provides opportunities for certified wood purchase agreements.
- CCFs develop their own agreements with the Center’s forest management participants on management fees associated with certified wood sales.
- CCF’s build their capacity to manage certified forests, understand the costs and benefits associated management of a group certificate and at the appropriate time have the ability to establish their own group certificate with forest owners that they work with through the Center using provided operations manuals, management plan templates, databases, and internal control documents.
As a Cooperating Forester you will be provided technical assistance and assistance in inventory and management plan development. You can bring your clients into participation with the Center and work specifically with these properties to get them certified under one or more of the Center’s group certificates. This allows you to build expertise in group certification management without having to risk the funds associated with managing your own certificate. If you decide to develop your own group certificate the Center will transfer their certification from the Center’s group certificate to your group certificate at the appropriate time. The cost of becoming a Cooperating Forester is an initial training fee associated with your participation the Centers training workshop for Cooperating Foresters. As a Cooperating Forester you are obligated to conduct forest inventories of the forests that are you are involved with (the forest owner pays for the inventory). In conjunction with clients that you bring to the Center there may be opportunities to work with forest owners that come to the Center without a forester. Forest owners pay your inventory costs and you have the ability to generate income from the sale of certified products from these ownerships. The Center will facilitate opportunities for the sale of certified timber and pulpwood that you will be directly involved in and benefit from.
The Center also has an Associate Forester Program. Associate Foresters are both state and private (consulting and industry) foresters that have been provided formal no-cost training and information on the Center. Associate Foresters can effectively provide information to forest owners on certification and direct interested forest owners to the Center. Associate Foresters are kept up-to-date on forest certification issues and have the ability to effectively become Cooperating Foresters if the need arises.