Category: News

Cheyenne, WY, Braces For EAB’s Arrival

The emerald ash borer (EAB) continues to migrate across the United States, leaving millions of dead ash trees in its wake.

While the deadly beetle yet to be detected in Cheyenne, WY, the city is taking a proactive approach to bracing for its arrival, noting that is has been sited in Longmont, CO, as well as Nebraska and South Dakota. The Cheyenne Urban Forestry Division (CUFD) created an EAB plan in August 2019 and has begun implementing several of its initiatives, including removing and replacing ash in poor health and providing outreach to the public.

Using Tree Plotter, an online tree inventory system, the CUFD estimates that about 750 ash trees are on city-owned property and that there are about 5,700 ash trees on private property. Cottonwood – 1,800 on city-owned land and 15,883 on private property – is the city’s dominant tree species.

Measures of the CUFD’s EAB plan include:

  • Educating CUFD staff including taking workshops and hands-on training in cities affected by EAB outbreaks such as Boulder, CO, and Longmont. Training included sampling ash trees for the presence of EAB as tree removals or maintenance based on government agency and research programs.
  • Conducting inspections and collecting samples of any symptomatic trees reported by citizens or other entities.
  • Educating local, licensed arborists to be trained in proper sampling techniques and encourage them to inspect all ash trees as they do tree removals or maintenance. Ask that they report any suspicious tree samples they encounter to CUFD.
  • Maintaining EAB traps on city properties.
  • Removing and replacing ash trees in fair or worse condition.
  • Evaluating ash trees in good condition other pest infestations and treating them as necessary.
  • Educating the public to be proactive in managing their ash trees tol lessen the negative impacts of EAB once it arrives.
  • Enacting quarantines as deemed necessary to prevent the spread of EAB and associated regulated items beyond the area currently affected.
  • Establishing a marshalling yard to store and process ash wood separate from other tree species in a rapid manner to comply with quarantine regulations.
  • Implementing an urban wood utilization program.

Download the CUFD EAB Plan.

 



Video: Urban Sawyer Awarded Grant from Cal Fire

NBC Bay Area news recently aired this profile of Nick Harvey, owner of Bay Area Redwood, as part of its “Climate in Crisis” coverage.

Harvey, a former scientist at the Lawrence Livermore Institute, now operates a mill to convert trees mainly milled in the area’s urban forest into lumber for custom furniture and other value-added products. He was recently awarded a forestry grant for Urban Wood and Biomass Utilization from Cal Fire. Harvey plans to use those funds to further his efforts to salvage wood from urban trees and to plant news trees.

 



Twin City Closet Turns to Wood From The Hood for Reclaimed Ash Conference Table

Twin City Closet Company (TCCC) is mighty happy with the reclaimed ash conference table gracing its showroom in Mound, MN. The table, featuring a live edge top supported by a u-shaped base, was fabricated by Wood From The Hood of Minneapolis from 8/4 ash.

In a June 3 Facebook post, TCCC exclaims, “A big shoutout to our neighbors over at Wood From the Hood! Their wonderful shop reclaims and repurposes trees into beautiful wood products. When we opened our West Metro Showroom, they engineered a a new conference table out of an Ash tree. We’re proud to support their cause in preserving the natural beauty of Minnesota.”

Rick Siewert, co-owner of WFTH, says the ash tree used for the TCCC’s conference table was salvaged from within zip code 55406 of Minneapolis. “The table was designed by one of TCCC’s designers,” Siewert notes. “It has a light gray stain with a conversion varnish finish on it. The legs have an internal trough through them to hide electrical cords.”

TCCC also operates its flagship showroom in Minneapolis. The company has been providing the closet and home organization solutions since 1991.

 



Syracuse Designates $2M in Stimulus Money to Plant Trees, Combat Climate Change

Syracuse, N.Y. plans to invest $2 million of the $123 million in pandemic stimulus funding it received from the federal government to plant 3,600 trees over the next three years, according to a report by Syracuse.com. The 3,600 trees are part of the city’s new ReLeaf Syracuse program to plant 70,000 new trees by 2040.

The city’s Urban Forest Master Plan, adopted in June 2020, spells out the myriad benefts of a sustainable, healthy urban forest. These include improving the quality of life, boosting property values and combatting climate change.

On this latter point, the Urban Forest Master Plan includes the following two tables. The first includes Syracuse’s urban tree specicies that are most threatened by anticipated climate change. The second includes species that could thrive due to anticipated climate change.

How to Read These Tables: Negative change in Importance Value (IV) numbers mean a decrease in suitable habitats; positive values mean increase in suitable habitats, and thus no threat and in fact potential for growth. For example, if current IV = 3.4 and future model shows an anticipated change of -3.4, a total loss of suitable habitat is predicted for that species (Prasad et al 2007).

Click here to download Syracuse’s Urban Forest Master Plan.

 

 

 



Waukesha County, WI, Urban Wood Program Among SFI Community Grant Recipients

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) announced 13 SFI Community Grants today featuring collaboration between 63 partner organizations in the United States and Canada, including two that dovetail with the development of a new SFI Urban and Community Forest Sustainability Standard.

One of SFI’s grants supports, “Promoting Urban Forestry and Harvesting Waste Wood,” a project being undertaken by Waukesha County, WI, to complete its urban forest management plans for wood that must be removed due to disease, pests, or other circumstances. This project is led by the Sustainable Resources Institute (SRI), which will help share this work so that other communities can benefit in their urban tree lifecycle planning processes.

SFI awarded a second urban forest grant to the Michigan State University Department of Forestry for its program Supporting Curriculum on Urban Forests, Carbon Storage, and a Changing Climate. MSU, through its work with SFI, will expand course content on forest carbon to create case-study-based materials for foresters, planners, builders, and decision-makers in cities and municipalities. The climate benefits linked with sustainable forest products and green buildings will also be featured.

“SFI’s commitment to making better choices for the planet also means better choices for its people,“ said Kathy Abusow, president and CEO of SFI. “Our grantees are leaders in their communities and we look forward to collaborating with them on so many important issues that will strengthen local communities and support solutions to important sustainability challenges.”

Other SFI grant recipients include:

Project Learning Tree’s (PLT) Forest Literacy Framework, which translates the complex language of forests, trees, forest practices, and sustainable forest management into accessible concepts that everyone should know and be able to integrate into their lives and careers. PLT is an initiative of SFI that provides activities for educators, community leaders, and families, including its flagship resource the Explore Your Environment: K-8 Activity Guide. The guide engages kindergarten through grade 8 students in exploring their environment through 50 field-tested, hands-on activities that integrate investigations of nature with science, math, English language arts, and social studies. There are more than 800 workshops across the U.S. every year organized to train educators on implementing PLT, and contributing to building a lifetime of learning for youth to build a green career pathway. The SFI Community Grants advance SFI’s education work with projects targeted at both youth and adults:

Teacher Tours in New Hampshire—The New Hampshire SFI Implementation Committee is bringing teachers together for a four-day workshop featuring forest and mill tours in July. Teachers will learn about the PLT curriculum, sustainable forest management, and forest products manufacturing, in order to engage students in learning about the natural world.

Creating Climate Training Module for Wood Producers—The Quebec SFI Implementation Committee will develop an interactive, user-friendly training module on climate change mitigation for wood producers that will align with the requirements of the SFI Sustainable Forest Management Standard which was launched on Earth Day this year.

Forest Literacy and Education on Forest Certification Standards—The Association forestière de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue will be engaged in learning opportunities focused on forest certification standards and the benefits of sustainable forest management, delivered to local schools and through in-person events at public libraries. Elevating forest literacy will help create better understanding around the connections of forests to solving sustainability challenges.

Sustainably Managed Forests Training for Architecture Students—Students at the University of Miami School of Architecture will experience timber harvesting in a sustainably managed forest. This will provide hands-on experience of the sustainable nature of forest-based supply chains and the emerging influence of forest products, such as mass timber, on climate-smart building design.

Community Training to Enhance Wetland Conservation Through Sustainable Forest Management—Ducks Unlimited Canada will provide training and resources to forestry students and Indigenous communities across Alberta to ensure better understanding of the role of sustainable forest management in effective wetland conservation.

Using Forestry and Natural Resources to Educate and Empower Women—Clemson University is helping to address the future that women landowners will play in sustainable forest management through this project. The Women Owning Woodlands (WOW) network will facilitate specific skills development for women landowners including chainsaw and pesticide safety.

Creating Equity in the Mississippi Forest and Conservation Sector—Working with the Mississippi Forestry Foundation, this project will involve outreach to new workers, military veterans, and dislocated workers as a way to increase every Mississippian’s opportunity and ability to join the forest sector’s green job workforce.

Promoting Understanding and Respect for Cultural and Medicinal Plants—The shíshálh Nation, SFI and other partners are building on an earlier grant to increase the cultural capacity of shíshálh members, support self-determination in the shishalh swiya (territory), and promote cross-cultural learning through providing cultural plant identification cards to local forest sector companies.

Creating Forest Career Pathways for Students—Friends of the Trinity County Resource Conservation District and Nor-Rel-Muk Wintu tribal members are working together to select locally tailored curriculum and produce high school field guide workbooks focused on Indigenous land stewardship, sustainable forestry, and related green career pathways to benefit the local workforce.

Engaging Citizen Scientists to Map the Birds of Newfoundland’s Sustainably Managed Forests—Birds Canada is engaging citizen scientists to deliver the province’s first breeding bird atlas to map the distribution and abundance of all breeding bird species in Newfoundland. Having solid baseline data about the distribution, abundance, and health of bird populations is essential for sound conservation and management decisions.

Creating Youth Advocates for Community Greening and Climate Action—SFI will work with the Medway Community Forest Cooperative in Alberta to plant tree saplings and conduct tree-health assessments over two years to engage younger generations as environmental champions who take local action on global issues.

SFI Community Grants are awarded for collaborative community-based projects, activities, or events that support SFI’s efforts to connect communities to forests. Projects supported have included providing educators with tools to showcase green career pathways for students, incorporating Indigenous knowledge into forest management planning and education curriculum, and building youth engagement in outdoor education and conservation projects. Since the SFI Grants started in 2010, SFI has awarded 96 Community Grants totaling more than $900,000 to foster community-building projects. When leveraged with project partner contributions, that total investment is over $5 million. Learn more: forests.org/communitygrants.



The Story of Urban Wood Guitars

Taylor Guitars’ Builder’s Edition 324ce made with the new Urban Ash™

Editor’s note: The following article is an excerpt of a lengthier piece posted by Jennifer Alger of Urban Salvaged Woods, a member of the Urban Wood Network: Western Region. 

One strength of the Urban Wood Network is the inclusion of every aspect of the supply chain. Typically businesses network within their own direct niches, but that can limit the scope of collaboration, something the Urban Wood Network aims to overcome. 

One stunning example of this shows in the collaboration between three Urban Wood Network members West Coast Arborists (WCA), Wood-Mizer, and Tree San Diego, and how these three directly and indirectly connected with end-user  guitar manufacturer Taylor Guitars. Ultimately even though these companies represent different aspects of the supply chain, there is a shared goal in caring for our urban trees, increasing our tree canopy, and making urban wood available in the volume, consistency, and quality needed for small, medium, and large manufacturers.

WCA is a family-owned tree maintenance and management company that provides services to over 330 municipalities and public agencies.  While they do tree care and tree removals as expected, they also focus on tree planting and the upcycling and salvaging of urban wood that they sell through their program, Street Tree Revival.

Currently, this team is upcycling over 36 different species, and salvages over one thousand urban logs annually for lumber. They also supply wood and logs to makers, sawyers, and others further in the supply chain. One of these species happens to be ash wood from Southern California, signature to the urban ash guitar from Taylor Guitars!

Two years after WCA came to be, Taylor guitars was founded. Taylor has had a reputation for its innovation, quality, and consistency for decades.  Taylor is the best-selling acoustic brand in the world, finishing close to 900 guitars per day. Part of their innovation has always included the consideration of sustainability. Guitar makers typically source tropical wood from all over the world.  They seek species such as mahogany, spruce, maple, ebony, and rosewood, and those have been used by luthiers for hundreds of years.  Although Taylor always had a focus on sustainability, refusing to waste what traditionally had been wasted in their industry, founder Bob Taylor was constantly seeking even more sustainable materials and processes for his company. 

So now, we have the supplier (WCA) and the maker and retailer (Taylor Guitars), but the bridge between these two links is the equipment manufacturer. WCA uses a Wood-Mizer LT40 super hydraulic, a WM1000, and a Super 70, and they have another Super 70 on the way.  Using low energy thin kerf bandsaws allows WCA to process wood efficiently with a low carbon footprint, rescuing even more urban wood. One of the beautiful things about Wood-Mizer is that they too have been engaged in replanting efforts. They frequently have sent out new trees for replanting with the purchase of their mills.

The Urban Salvaged Ash Guitar: The Network in Action
Bob Taylor and Andy Powers, (founder and master designer for Taylor Guitars respectively) had previously visited WCA’s yard looking for wood for Taylor Guitars, they were able to find seven different species that were of interest, but their prize find was finding the shamel ash, an urban wood double for 30+-year-old mahogany featured in the urban wood guitar series.

Scott Paul, Taylor Guitar’s sustainability manager, notes that he suspects these other species will bleed into their existing lines over time as long as suppliers are able to guarantee that same quality, volume, and consistency that were so crucial to the ash decision. Those three points coupled with the presence of tonewood in the WCA yard meant that Urban Wood Network member West Coast Arborists was definitely able to meet the needs of Taylor. The next step was to cut the logs on the Wood-Mizer, dry the lumber, and make the prototype to ensure proof of concept.

Paul explains that an acoustic guitar is typically made up of five to six different species of wood, each selected as a specific part and chosen for different physical properties that are required for each part.

Once they decided on the ash, it quickly earned the nickname “the golden retriever of tonewoods” because of how eager it was to please. Being compared to 30-year-old mahogany, is the best compliment a guitar builder can give to a species of wood.

By the next ADF Partners In Community Forestry Conference where Scott and I both spoke on a panel about urban wood, he had an urban wood guitar prototype in hand. A few short months later, Taylor Guitars was releasing it at NAMM.

The Future of the Urban Wood Industry
While Taylor is a high-profile company, they don’t use enough volume alone to move the needle on urban wood use. In an ideal world, more wood product manufacturers would look to try and forge relationships with local mills and wood sources and when nationally branded companies can get behind this concept, we stand to be able to create a circular economy. 

The surface is just being scratched on this industry and there is so much more potential. For urban wood producers, this movement is just becoming somewhat mainstream and the idea of a tree on the street or in a yard needing to be removed for disease or other reasons and then being used for lumber is still a foreign concept.   But who knows, with the rising prices of lumber that we have seen over the last year, perhaps more companies interested in sustainability will take a serious look at urban wood.   

Through working with groups like the UWN and collaborating there is the potential to provide even large manufacturers with the consistency, volume, and quality they need, but it’s going to require a group effort. One key component that will help is the introduction of the new USRW Certified Urban Wood Standards that will provide consistency and standardization for wood produced by Urban Wood Network members to ensure it meets the needs of the users.   Creating an industry around trees that need to be removed can boost local economies, provide more opportunities for small business and produce high-end products, all while improving our environment and reducing strain on our landfills. 

Read the Full Article

Also see related article: Taylor Guitar Uses Urban Ash for Tonewood



Video: Deadwood Revival Design brings urban forest full circle

Deadwood Revival Design of San Luis Obispo, CA, has built its business model around producing handcrafted furniture and slabs salvaged from California’s central coast. 

According to its website, “Deadwood Revival Design is a team of passionate artisans who believe in offering their customers not only the highest quality products but designs made from 100% guilt-free wood…. When you enlist our services, you gain the automatic assurance that each and every piece of wood that we use came from a tree destined for firewood, the chipper, or a burn pile. By using materials previously deemed ‘waste’ we’re able to reduce our carbon footprint.” 

The Deadwood Revival team includes Daniel Torres and Mitch McCormick, each a former firefighter with experience battling forest wildfires. As the website notes, “The sight and thought of these once majestic forests left for dead inspired (Torres) … to co-found Deadwood Revival Design, where he was able to combine his passion for chainsaws and skills as a sawyer in the most impactful way.”

Rounding out the urban wood utilization businesses’ core team is designer Pepe Sanchez, a graduate of architecture and environmental design from California Polytechnic State University. Sanchez’s designs commonly revolve around incorporating reclaimed live edge slabs for table tops for residential, commercial, and office customers.

Deadwood Revival produced the accompanying video highlighting its full-circle approach to urban forestry. That circle begins with taking possession of logs of urban trees removed at the end of their service through milling and drying, producing custom furniture and ultimately taking part in planting trees. 

Deadwood Revival is a member of the Urban Wood Network and the Sustainable Furnishings Council.

Learn more at deadwoodrevivaldesign.com.



USDA Awards $15M in Wood Innovations Grants Program

 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently awarded more than $15 million to fund grant proposals to develop and expand the use of wood products, strengthen emerging wood energy markets and protect community forests.  

The grant funding, delivered through USDA Forest Service programs, will support 60 projects that cover a diverse range of activities from the development of affordable housing to expanding markets for mass timber, biochar, wood energy and other emerging wood products. The grants also include funds to help tribes, local governments and qualified non-profit organizations permanently conserve working forests that benefit communities.

Forest Service awards will leverage an additional $30 million in matching and partner funds bringing the totals well above $45 million.

“To manage wildfire and address climate, we need to manage our forests. Today’s investments underpin USDA’s commitment to address the climate crisis with a market-based approach that begins to move us toward a clean energy economy, led by production of renewable fuel and energy and biobased products grown and manufactured here in the U.S.,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The American Jobs Plan and USDA’s budget request for 2022 make sure the Forest Service can prioritize forest management and restoration.”

“We are placing emphasis on assisting wood energy facilities in economically challenged areas to retool or add advanced technology to replace systems that are inefficient or fueled by fossil fuels.” said Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen. “The grants will also expand markets for cross-laminated timber in commercial and multi-family housing, which supports the important connection to healthy forests and manufacturing in rural communities.”

Wood Innovations Grants

Forest Service Wood Innovations Grant program awards for fiscal year 2021 include $8.9 million for 44 projects across 23 states and Puerto Rico. Twenty-one of the projects focus on mass timber and cross-laminated timber. These projects will support critical needs for expanding markets and species options (hemlock, ponderosa pine, white fir), improve structural performance, increase education and outreach, and promote design and construction of highly visible buildings.

Seven of the projects will focus on developing affordable housing using mass timber as a major building component to support equity, economic opportunity, and climate change priorities. Additional projects focus on developing markets for emerging wood products like biochar and cellulose nanomaterials, and support installation of new wood energy systems. A complete list of Wood Innovations Grant recipients is available now on the Forest Service website.

Community Wood Grants

Forest Service Community Wood Grant program awards for fiscal year 2021 include $2.1 million to support six shovel-ready projects in six states. Initiated in the 2018 Farm Bill, the grant program helps to fund the costs of installing wood energy systems and building innovative wood product facilities in rural communities nationwide. Awardees will use locally sourced wood to reduce energy costs and fossil fuel use while supporting sustainable forest management.

These grants also support innovative wood products manufacturing facilities that make products like building components and other products made from low-value or low-quality wood.

Two of the Community Wood Grants are awarded to DCI Furniture, Inc. in New Hampshire and Arizona Log & Timber Works, LLC in Arizona. DCI Furniture will use the funds to install a new wood boiler to generate heat and electricity at a furniture plant. Arizona Log & Timber Words will use the funds to build a biochar plant, firewood kiln, and pole peeler to expand a forest products facility. A complete list of Community Wood Grant recipients is available now on the Forest Service website.

Community Forest Grants

Forest Service Community Forest Program awards for fiscal year 2021 include $4 million to support 10 projects across nine states. The grants include financial assistance to local governments, Indian tribes, and qualified nonprofit organizations to create, expand and enhance community owned and community managed forests. Project work will help communities acquire and conserve forests that provide public access and recreational opportunities, protect vital water supplies and wildlife habitat, serve as demonstration sites for private forest landowners, and provide economic benefits from timber and non-timber products.

Since 2012, the program has supported 88 community-driven projects across 25 states and territories and permanently conserved more than 24,000 acres.

View the complete list of 2021 Wood Innovation Grant recipients and projects.

 



5-Step Plan for Managing Urban Forests to Fight Climate Change

Vibrant Cities Lab developed the Climate & Health Action Guide. It outlines a process for creating an urban forestry project to optimize for climate and health outcomes. The guide is designed to  help the user “reduce climate risks and proactively respond to changing conditions while also providing important benefits to the health and well-being of your community.”

The underlying key premise of the guide is that Healthy urban forests provide substantial benefits for communities, improving the environment and supporting human health; forests are critical to combating the effects of climate change.”

The process is based on the five-step Adaptation Workbook, developed by the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science (NIACS). The Adaptation Workbook provides a structured, yet flexible approach for integrating climate change into urban forestry projects, and this guide takes you one step further by integrating human health. The complete Adaptation Workbook can be used to take a deeper dive into creating a complete climate change adaptation plan.

Access the Climate & Health Action Guide.



Video: Restoring the American Chestnut Part 2

For more than two decades, the USDA Forest Service has conducted research to develop a blight-resistant American chestnut with the high hopes of restoring this once-dominant hardwood species.

Much of this research has focused on working with partners like the American Chestnut Foundation and the University of Tennessee to back-cross breed the blight-resistant Chinese chestnut with American chestnuts. Since 2009, about 4,500 hybrid American chestnut trees have been planted in three national forests. About 60% of the trees are still alive, some reaching 40 feet in height. 

The American chestnut flourished in the eastern forests for more than 10 million years but was virtually wiped out within 60 years by a catastrophic blight.

Part 1 of the Forest Service’s two-part video program focuses on the historical significance of the American chestnut and its death knell.