Category: News

Forest Service Extends Wood Innovation Grant Deadline

The U.S.D.A. Forest Service announced that the Wood Innovations Grants deadline, originally scheduled for Jan, 23, has been extended to Feb. 25 due to the government funding shutdown.

The Forest Service invites grant applications for projects that expand wood product and wood energy markets, reduce wildfire risk, and improve forest health.

Grants provided through the agency’s Wood Innovations Program simultaneously boost local economies while helping make communities safer through the reduction of hazardous fuels on the landscape.

In 2019 the program will invest up to $8 million in projects designed to have a long-term impact on both Forest Service and other forest lands. Funding is available to support a diverse range of activities, such as completing the engineering designs, cost analyses, and permitting necessary in the final stages of commercial construction projects that use wood as a primary building material; establishing Statewide Wood Utilization Teams and Statewide Wood Energy Teams; and developing clusters of wood energy projects in a geographic area.

Since 2005 over 310 grants have been awarded to small businesses, non-profits, institutions of higher education, tribes, states, and local governments to promote the economic and environmental health of communities. Since 2013, this funding has also helped establish 10 Statewide Wood Utilization Teams and 22 Statewide Wood Energy Teams that collectively expand and support wood products and wood energy markets.

Information on how to apply is available on the Wood Innovations homepage.

The mission of the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains world-renowned forestry research and wildland fire management organizations. National forests and grasslands contribute more than $30 billion to the American economy annually and support nearly 360,000 jobs. These lands also provide 30 percent of the nation’s surface drinking water to cities and rural communities; approximately 60 million Americans rely on drinking water that originated from the National Forest System.



UWN Q&A: Tim O’Neill, Urban Lumber Company

Tim O’Neill, owner of the Urban Lumber Company, has been salvaging wood from Kansas City’s urban forest to sell to local woodworkers since 2012.

The Urban Lumber Company has grown leaps and bounds since its humble roots operating out of a garage and now operates as an independent LLC from Missouri Organic Recycling. As of November 2018, The Urban Lumber Company’s website boasts that it has recycled a total of 1,149,822 pounds of wood and yielded 157,170 board feet of lumber from its sawmill operation.

While the company sources wood from municipalities and individual homeowners, O’Neill says, “(O)ur biggest and best source for logs are developers and architects for larger construction projects. When construction companies have to do a major demo, they bring us in to grab logs off of the site. This helps them, and it softens the impact of new construction, both environmentally and socially.”

Read the full interview on UrbanWoodNetwork.org.



New Report Explores How Certification Can Grow Urban Wood Demand

Dovetail Partners takes a closer look at developing industry-recognized urban wood certification to help grow awareness and demand for urban wood lumber and products in its recently released report, “Increasing Urban Wood Use Awareness and Product Demand: An analysis of green market opportunities.”

This analysis examined existing programs used in the management and care of the urban forest to identify areas of alignment and potential for green market opportunities. The analysis included identifying needs and gaps in addressing urban wood use and opportunities to increase awareness and product demand.

The project includes working with partners to develop an urban wood certification approach that could be adopted and promoted by existing programs utilized by municipalities and businesses. Dovetail’s partners include The Arbor Day Foundation, Society of Municipal Arborists, Right-of-Way Stewardship Council, Utility Arborists Association, and Tree Care Industry Association. The results of this collaboration are meant to support state urban wood groups, help create consistent messaging, and will be presented to various audiences and venues.

Several areas of opportunity are available for development of an urban wood certification approach and for the promotion of urban wood use. The opportunities summarized in the report include green markets related to:
• green building programs;
• third-party forest certification programs;
• third-party forest certification chain-of-custody programs;
• mutual recognition and program partnerships; and
• regional activities.

Click here to download the report for free.



Urban Wood Toolkit Offers Guidance for Utilizing Community Trees

The Urban Wood Toolkit was designed to be used by municipal foresters, city managers, community volunteers, or students who are interested in finding the highest and best use for removed urban and community trees.  Using wood from urban and community tree care residues is an effective way to reduce municipal forestry costs and waste, promote stronger linkages with the forest products industry, and produce new economic opportunities.

The Urban Wood Toolkit helps users to prioritize the most important goals and objectives for their community’s wood, recognize the types of information or resources necessary to advance, and identify the types of services that you may need from additional partners. The following toolkit bulletins are currently available:

The Urban Wood Toolkit was developed in 2018 by Verdant Stewardship and Spalted Banjo Consulting through support from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Sustainable Resources Alliance, and the USDA Forest Service Northeastern Area.



Urban Wood Network Sets 2019 Membership Fees

The Urban Wood Network (UWN), a network of independent businesses, organizations, municipalities and advocates who utilize urban wood, was brought into existence in 2018.  Members were offered free membership for 2018 thanks to support from a USDA Forest Service Northeastern Area, State and Private Forestry Landscape Scale Restoration Grant, and the Urban Wood Network established connections with over 150 members in more than 20 states, two Canadian provinces and Switzerland.  With the completion of the grant, the UWN is relying on membership fees and sponsorships to provide the necessary funding to maintain and expand the Network.  The 2019 membership fee has been set at $50 per entity and founding sponsors are being sought.

We’ve learned from experience that the only way to have a lasting impact, to truly establish full circle urban forestry management, is to work cooperatively from arborist to value-added manufacturer. A cohesive supply chain is the only way to get the highest product from these trees. We want to use our collective experiences to assist other businesses and other states to join the urban wood industry.

Through the power of the network, UWN has been able to connect members with specific interests or needs with other members who have that expertise. UWN has also been able to connect members with technical resources outside of the network. In addition, UWN has connected members within the same state who were previously unaware of each other.

Join the urban wood movement today by becoming a member of the Urban Wood Network.  The membership agreement can be completed online at: www.urbanwoodnetwork.org/join-the-movement/membership-agreement.

To date, UWN has been directed by representatives from Illinois, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin who were partners in the grant project.  Going forward, a steering committee will be formed to provide direction for UWN’s next steps.  Each state that has 5 or more members will elect a UWN Committee Representative for their state and those members not in a state with five or more members will elect a Regional Representative.  The US will be split into an eastern and western region (based on the Mississippi River) and each region will elect one committee member. 

In 2018 UWN established the urbanwoodnetwork.org website and the “How To Do Urban Wood Webinar Series”:  Webinar #1: Urban Tree Removals – Reducing Costs and Promoting Utilization, Webinar #2: Urban Lumber – How to Produce and Market It, Webinar #3: Producing Urban Wood Products – What, How and Where, and Webinar #4: Starting a State Urban Wood Network.  These webinars are archived for viewing on the UWN website.  New memberships, resources and webinars will be shared on the website as they are developed; UWN members will help identify topic areas of need.

UWN is hosting an Urban Wood Toolkit Webinar on January 30 at 1:00 PM EST which will provide participants with a set of resources developed by some of our Michigan members.  These resources collectively make up the Urban Wood Toolkit. The toolkit guides urban wood advocates through the development of an urban wood plan for their community.  The toolkit was produced with the assistance of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. 

The UWN is a program of the Sustainable Resources Institute, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization specializing in natural resource research, education, training and certification.

For more information visit urbanwoodnetwork.org, or contact us by email at info@urbanwoodnetwork.org or by phone at (906) 875-3720. 



Urban Wood Network Slates ‘Urban Wood Toolkit’ Webinar for Jan. 30

Registration is open for the Urban Wood Toolkit Webinar, scheduled for 1:00 p.m. EST Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019. The webinar is a free 90-minute presentation of the Urban Wood Network.

The Urban Wood Toolkit was created to walk users through the necessary components of building an urban wood use plan and establishing wood utilization efforts within a community. The Toolkit is designed to be used by municipal foresters, city managers, community volunteers or students and to arm them with information needed to advance their wood utilization plan.


Register for the Webinar Now

Urban forests can be sustainably managed from ‘seed to sawdust’ by capturing valuable urban forest products from urban trees that need to be removed. This webinar will show different models of full circle urban forest stewardship that are used to reclaim urban forest products from those felled trees, and what strategies have been employed to support the reclamation of those urban forest products.

The Urban Wood Toolkit is divided into six bulletins:

—  Bulletin #1: A Guide for Creating Urban Wood Utilization Plans

—  Bulletin #2: Building Organizational & Community Support for Urban Wood

—  Bulletin #3: Exploring Product Options for Urban Wood Utilization

Bulletin #4: Establishing an Urban Log Collection and Sorting Yard

—  Bulletin #5: Building Relationships with Wood Industry Partners

Bulletin #6: Recommended Resources for Building an Urban Wood Use Plan

The Urban Wood Toolkit was written by Jessica Simons of Verdant Stewardship and Margaret Miller of Spalted Banjo Consulting. With support from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources – Forest Resource Division Forest Utilization and Marketing Program (special thanks to Dave Neumann), the Sustainable Resources Alliance and the U.S. Forest Services Northeastern Area – State and Private Forestry Landscape Scale Restoration Grant Program.

SPEAKERS
Author Margaret Miller and MDNR staff
will speak about the need for increasing urban wood utilization in Michigan and beyond and will walk participants through Bulletin #1.

Dave Neumann, Forest Utilization & Marketing Specialist, Michigan Department of Natural Resources.  Dave is a relative newcomer to the urban wood community, and has worked as a private land service forester and as a silviculturist for the DNR for 15 years before joining the wood use program.

Kevin Sayers, Urban & Community Forestry Coordinator, Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Kevin has worked as the Urban & Community Forestry Coordinator at the MDNR since 2002 where he administers the state urban forestry program at the MDNR out of Lansing. Kevin is a graduate of Michigan State University (2001) with a Master’s degree in Forestry. The urban forestry program provides technical, educational and financial assistance to communities and partners throughout the state to support a variety of urban forestry activities. Prior to working for the DNR, Kevin worked in the tree nursery industry, and with the municipal forestry program at the City of Lansing.

Margaret Miller, Spalted Banjo Consulting, MI. With a resume that ranges from championing the opening of an Urbanwood Marketplace within the City of Flint to chairing the City of Grand Rapids first ever Urban Wood Utilization Sub-Committee, Margaret views wood utilization as a vital management practice, obtainable to any community.  As a forester and consultant, Margaret is dedicated to viewing resource management through both an environmental and anthropocentric lens. Margaret received her degree in Forest Science from Michigan State University. As a consultant, for Spalted Banjo Consulting, Margaret strives to assist all of her clients by managing their projects and resources in the most effective and sustainable manner.

The Urban Wood Toolkit presentation is the latest in webinars presented by the Urban Wood Network. The UWN’s four-part “How to Do Urban Wood” Webinar Series is available for viewing on demand.

Access all UWN webinar presentations.

 



Dead Ash Trees Come to Life in Chainsaw Sculptures

 



Hoppe Tree Service Takes Full Circle Approach

Hoppe Tree Service of Milwaukee, WI, illustrates how a tree care specialist can branch out into producing urban lumber.

Hoppe Tree Service, is a full-service tree care company, that third generation owner August Hoppe says cut “our removed trees into firewood and not thinking anything of it.”

That approach changed in 2014, when Hoppe Tree Service purchased a launched the Urban Wood Lab and stated milling some of the logs of those removed urban trees into lumber. The company operates a retail store catering to professional custom woodworkers, hobbyists, etc.

In a 2017 interview with the Urban Wood Network, Hoppe said urban lumber sales were still a fraction of the company’s annual sales but had a great upside. “Right now it is still low, 3 to 5 percent of our business, but the company is growing at a fast rate. Within five years, I predict it will become between 5 and 10 percent of our revenue. Our goal would be to get to a place where we both remove trees and take on logs from other sources, becoming more of an aggregate of urban logs.”

To grow Urban Wood Lab’s business, Hoppe said, “We cross-brand to our existing client base. Telling the story of urban wood and providing the uniqueness of natural edge wood slabs are both working very well for us right now. We also participate in local networking and exhibiting events, such as home and garden shows. We market to anyone who has an appreciation for the uniqueness of wood.”

Read the full interview on UrbanWoodNetwork.org.

Learn more about the Urban Wood Lab.



Green America Honors GA Urban Wood Business

Eutree, an urban lumber business based in Villa Rica, GA, was one of two green businesses to receive the fall People & Planet Award from Green America.

Eutree is a sawmill and lumber supplier established in 2010 to divert what would otherwise be urban tree waste into flooring and other wood products. The company plans to use the $5,000 award to install log collections containers at tree service locations so that it can more efficiently collect them to convert into lumber.

According to EU’s website, the company’s founder Sims Acuff, an arborist in Atlanta, “got tired of throwing away logs… It’s so important that we stop neglecting the treasure of old-growth trees around us and begin utilizing the timber that is being remove from the people’s yard.”

The other fall award winner is Nature’s Magic, a woman-owned business in Athens, GA, that produces plant-based, non-toxic cleaners.

Green America is a non-profit whose “mission is to harness economic power – the strength of consumers, investors, businesses and the marketplace – to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society. .



How to Improve Yields Milling ‘Out of Shape Logs’

“There are opportunities for improving yield in out-of-shape hardwood saw logs. Good decision-making is important. To maximize the yield and economic value of the end products, have a plan before the log is opened up. Th ere are more critical decisions to be made on the outside of a log than the inside, because that is where most of the clear wood is located. Finally, maximizing yield has to be in balance with sawing times, and thus sawing costs.”

This is just a sampling of the advice served up in a 2014 report authored by Neal Bennett of the U.S Forest Service, Northern Research Station, in Princeton, WV. The title of the report is “Sawing Methods for Improving Lumber Yield Recovery of Out-of-Shape Hardwood Saw Logs.”

Here’s the abstract: “Not every saw log is straight and cylindrical in shape. In fact, logs are commonly out-of-round, tapered, or crooked, and often a combination of these shapes. Sawmill operators employ every means to recover as much yield as possible from each log. Yield recovery can be the difference between a profitable and a non-profitable log. There are opportunities for improving yield in out-of-shape hardwood saw logs while still maintaining lumber quality.”

The report includes milling strategies for logs that are out of round, tapered or crooked.

Read the report.