The Association had its beginnings in 1948 when Alex Setser of Tennessee polled all of the practicing consulting foresters in the United States.
Although the total numbers were relatively small, it was clear that . . .

"There was a strong need for a professional organization to acquaint consultants with their colleagues, protect the field from charlatans by uniform standards specially designed for consulting work, disseminate new techniques as they evolved, and provide foresters, as well as their clients, with a means of locating consulting foresters of proven ability and character in every part of the country. Furthermore, in matters vital to consultants, but of little or no consequence to the forestry profession in general, consultants felt they should be able to take a united stand."

In December 1948, these issues were brought up at the annual meeting of the Society of American Foresters in Boston. Foresters present at that meeting - Halsey Hicks, Robert Moore, Clinton Peltier, Ed Stuart and J. Atwood Whitman - became ACF's Founding Members. A number of consultants brought different opinions as to what type of organization should be formed. At first, it seemed as though Consulting Forestry would become a division within the Society of American Foresters. But Henry Clepper, Executive Secretary of the SAF, indicated that there were too many divisions within the Society and that such a proposed division would not be approved. At that moment, ACF was born.

Although the founders were acutely aware that the new association would need the weight of numbers before it could make an effective start toward its aims, they resisted the temptation to welcome into their ranks all who called themselves consulting foresters. They foresaw an inevitable dilution of authority which would eventually defeat the very purpose for which the ACF was created. So, in addition to requiring a forestry degree from a college or university approved by the Executive Board and at least five years of practical experience in forest administration and management, the founders added the requirement that an applicant have at least one full year's experience as an actual forestry consultant.

A consulting forester was defined as "a professional forester who devotes not less than 75 percent of his working time each year to performing...technical forestry work... on a fee or contract basis" whose services are offered" to the public rather than to a single full-time employer. Requirements for membership have since been amended as the profession and the industry have evolved.



Henry Bango (LA)

Don Canterbury (TX)

Arthur Emmerling (AR)

Halsey Hicks (VT)

Tom Howerton (FL)

Robert Knoth (SC)

Bob Moore (PA)

Clinton Peltier (CA)

Dick Rose (VT)

Tom Shweigert (MI)

Jim Simmons (MD)

S.I. Somberg (SC)

Ed Stuart (VA)

Jack Tillinghast (WV)

J. Atwood Whitman (NC)


Mission Statement, Vision, & Policy

Mission Statement
The mission of the Association of Consulting Foresters of America is to advance the practice of professional consulting forestry.

Core Values

Professional and ethical excellence
Belief in a strong free enterprise system
Commitment to science-based stewardship of natural resources 
Cooperative relationships among ACF foresters


The Association of Consulting Foresters of America, Inc.:

1.  Endorses the free enterprise system, including all rights and privileges inherent to the ownership and management of private property.

2.  Believes forest management, timber growing, and natural resource activities are essential private property enterprises that yield public benefits.

3.  Promotes use of the best professional, economic, and ethical expertise in management of the world’s forest resources.

4.  Believes that subsidized aid and forestry services to the owners of economically viable private forests is contrary to the public interest.

5.  Believes that where subsidized aid and forestry services are conducive to economic viability of private forest management, such aid and forestry services are most effectively and economically applied through the private sector.

6.  Supports fair and equitable income, estate, and property tax policy that promotes long-term investment in forest management practices necessary to maintain a healthy and productive forestland resource.

7.  Supports and encourages unbiased, professional forest research, public information and education, and fire protection as common good activities.

8.  Believes that management of public forestlands for multiple-use, yielding both commodity and non-commodity benefits for all segments of society, best serves the public interest.

9.  Joins with all others who recognize that healthy and economically viable forestlands, as well as economically healthy forest products industries, provide the greatest good for the nation.

Policy updated November 3, 2010

A PDF copy is available here .