Ronald H. Hufford

TREE FARMING. The American Tree Farm System of private timberland management began on the West Coast in 1941, when the concept of a tree farm-an area of privately owned forestland dedicated by its owner to growing and harvesting forest products-was first used by Weyerhaeuser Timber Company in Washington. In April 1942 Alabama became the first state to start a statewide tree farm program. The program was launched in Texas in 1944, under the sponsorship of the Texas Forest Service, the East Texas Chamber of Commerce, the Texas Forestry Association, and the Southern Pine Association. The program in Texas had grown to 2,510 certified tree farms with more than four million acres of privately owned timberland by 1984. Nationally Texas ranks sixth in the total number of certified tree farms and tenth in total acres. The key requirement for tree farm certification is a management plan that includes as the major objective the production of trees as a repeated crop. Other objectives include recreation, protection of wildlife habitat and watershed, and enhancing the appearance of the land. Most of the timber growing and wood processing in Texas occurs in the piney woods of East Texas. This area provides the raw materials for a variety of timber-based industries. The lumber industry directly employs more than 74,000 people and returns more than $5 billion annually to the economy of the state. The piney woods contain some 12½ million acres of commercial forestland, defined as land capable of producing wood as a commercial crop and not withdrawn from timber use. The wood-using industries own about 30 percent; privately owned lands make up 63 percent of the East Texas forestland; public holdings, mostly in the national forests in Texas, account for 7 percent. Tree farmers pay no fees, dues, or other costs to participate in the tree farm program.

An Analysis of the Timber Situation in the United States, 1952–2030 (Forest Resource Report 23, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, n.d). Richard Lewis, "Tree Farming: A Voluntary Conservation Program," Journal of Forest History, July 1981.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Ronald H. Hufford, "TREE FARMING," accessed April 23, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Get this week's most popular Handbook of Texas articles delivered straight to your inbox