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Want to Learn More about Urban Wood?
Michigan Ag Connection - 01/10/2019

Ever wondered if there was a better use for wood that comes from trees removed from urban areas, besides fuel for roasting chestnuts or mulch for flower beds? There is, and a new Urban Wood Toolkit can provide tips on starting an urban wood use program locally.

The Urban Wood Toolkit is a series of bulletins (available at miurbanwoodnetwork.com/toolkit) funded by the U.S. Forest Service and the DNR. It's a planning guide for municipalities, city foresters, arborists, tree care workers, sawmills and woodworking businesses that could use logs and lumber made from urban trees.

People interesting in learning more about the toolkit and starting an urban wood program are invited to join a free webinar Jan. 30 at 1 p.m. (Eastern).

"Every year, thousands of trees are removed in cities as part of routine maintenance and utility line pruning," said David Neumann, DNR forest utilization and marketing specialist. "Most of that wood ends up in landfills, is sold for firewood or gets chipped for mulch -- but it doesn't have to. Some logs could be repurposed for use as lumber or other products."

Such a program could be a good fit for some communities, said Kevin Sayers, DNR urban and community forestry specialist.

a modern wood-and-metal table sits against a lush green forest background "Each tree has a story to tell, and finding higher-value uses for them at the end of their 'life' makes sense for many reasons," Sayers said. "Urban wood use programs can strengthen community sustainability efforts and may help defray costs of routine maintenance and tree replacement."

The toolkit includes step-by-step guidance and ideas on potential uses for urban wood, say the authors Jessica Simons of Verdant Stewardship and Margaret Miller of Spalted Banjo Consulting.

"People love their backyard and street trees, and they feel real loss and sadness when those trees have to be removed," Simons said. "Urban wood products extend that connection, creating new ways for people to enjoy their trees for a lifetime. We hope that the Urban Wood Toolkit can make wood recovery and reuse common in communities all over Michigan and in other states."

This project is part of an effort to promote economic development and the sustainable and efficient use of wood products. For more information, contact Don Peterson of the Urban Wood Network at 906-875-3720 or info@urbanwoodnetwork.org.

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