SMA Accreditation - what is it, and what does it mean?
The Society of Municipal Arborists has developed a peer-reviewed program that formally recognizes urban and community forestry programs for implementing excellent and comprehensive management practices. Accreditation is structured to build on the Arbor Day Foundation's successful Tree City USA designation by incorporating additional professional standards deemed important by SMA for managing municipal trees. It also applies to programs internationally, not just in the United States. SMA Accreditation sets a high bar, and offers the highest recognition for notable accomplishments.

SMA Accredited Forestry Programs alt

SMA Accreditation Program Standards alt

What are the benefits of becoming accredited?
  • Use of the SMA Accreditation logo and promotional items, which demonstrates the quality of your program and recognition by your professional peers.
  • Develops pride among citizens in your community for the forestry program, and demonstrates how tax dollars are yielding measurable results.
  • Offers elected officials a public relations opportunity, and something to regularly boast about.
  • Recognizes the work of your staff, and creates a source of pride.
  • Gives your program a target for improving operations and upholding professionalism.

Who can apply, and what standards are required?
Any representative from an urban forestry program at the municipal or county level (or equivalent) may apply. To meet minimum standards, the program must have:

  • At least one ISA Certified Arborist on staff, with an ISA Certified Municipal Specialist preferred
  • A Local Forest Management Plan
  • Tree City USA status (or equivalent outside U.S., if possible)
  • A Tree City USA Growth Award within the past five years (or equivalent outside U.S., if possible)
  • Demonstrated preference to TCIA Accredited tree care companies (or equivalent outside U.S.) when private arborists are contracted.
  • Adherence to ANSI Z133.1 safety standards, and ANSI A300 tree care performance standards (or equivalents outside the U.S.)
  • A pledge of adherence to the SMA Code of Ethics and to promote SMA objectives

My program doesn't hasn't achieved all the standards - what resources are available to help prepare for accreditation in the future?
SMA encourages all forestry managers to strive for Accreditation, which serves as a set of guidelines for achieving higher levels of professionalism. Accreditation Committee members are glad to direct managers to appropriate resources, offer advice on how to achieve the various qualifying standards, answer questions, and generally assist you on how to become SMA Accredited.

What does the application process involve, what is the cost, and what is the duration of accreditation?
Begin the process by reviewing the standards listed above, and make sure you have electronic documentation for each requirement that you can attach to the application found online. When you are ready, complete the Accreditation Application Form and pay the initial application fee of $150 online, which includes the first year's fee. Mail in your completed application and documentation, which will be received by the SMA Executive Director and given to the Accreditation Committee for review. Initial accreditation is for a period of one year from the date of the award. An annual renewal fee of $100 will be required along with simple documentation verifying that the standards of Accreditation are still being met.

View and download SMA Accreditation FAQs alt

SMA Accreditation Application Form alt

Pay your SMA Accreditation Application Fee Online

Pay your SMA Accreditation Renewal Fee Online

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