National Wood Certification Project Update

Editor’s Note: This article was previously published in the North Carolina Urban Wood Group’s September 2018 newsletter.

By Lucy Cohn-Still
Urban & Community Forestry Specialist
NC Forest Service

While attending the International Society of Arboriculture’s 2018 Annual conference in Columbus, Ohio, I participated in the urban wood certification grant meeting with Dovetail Partners executive director Kathryn Fernholz and other key players in the Urban Wood Certification Project to increase awareness and product demand for national urban wood use. We met together to discuss and examine the existing programs that are utilized in the management and care of the urban forest to identify areas of alignment and potential for mutual recognition between compatible programs. The project also includes looking for any needs and gaps in addressing urban wood use and opportunities to increase awareness and product demand.

The scope of work for this proposal includes working with partners to develop an urban wood certification approach that could be adopted and promoted by existing programs (including The Arbor Day Foundation, Society of Municipal Arborists, Right-of-Way Stewardship Council, Utility Arborists Association, Tree Care Industry Association, and Dovetail Partners Inc.), and utilized by municipalities and businesses. The results of this collaboration would support state urban wood groups, create messaging, and be presented to various audiences and venues.

Several areas of opportunity are available for development of an urban wood certification approach and promotion of urban wood use.  The opportunities we discussed include possibilities related to:

  • Green Building Programs
  • Third-Party Forest Certification Programs
  • Third-Party Forest Certification Chain-of-Custody Programs
  • Mutual Recognition and Program Partnerships
  • Regional Activities

Urban wood use may already occur to a limited degree within green building programs and third-party forest certification programs. Further research could identify current activities in these areas to highlight possible case studies or promotional opportunities. With further development, the use of urban wood in green building could be expanded and recognition within third-party forest certification programs could be formalized.

North Carolina’s role within this project is to provide financial and technical assistance, as well as work with Virginia and other states throughout the south east to promote urban wood utilization and standards. This certification project is a national project involving several partners, but North Carolina will assist within the southeast by raising awareness and encouraging discussions about urban wood standardization and utilization. Our next step will be to develop draft pilot strategies and ideas of approaching urban wood certification.

For more information on the Urban Wood Certification Project, visit www.dovetailinc.org or contact me at Lucy.Cohn-Still@ncagr.gov.