Editor’s note: Madison, WI, has been a leader among U.S. municipalities in salvaging urban trees from the waste stream. The following information is featured on the Urban Wood Network’s website as a shining example of how a city can play a leadership role in the urban wood movement.

The City of Madison Parks Model (MP) works as a cost neutral trade between Madison Parks (Parks) and WUW partners. Parks provides the logs and WUW sawyers produce lumber for park benches, maintenance materials, and over time, finished conference tables. “Knowing the trees will live on makes us feel a lot better about having to take them down,” says Charlie Romines, Asst. Superintendent for Parks Operations “[C]utting the trees to preserve the log actually reduces fatigue and boosts morale for our crews.” The remainder of the wood from Park’s trees is kiln dried and available through local businesses. Many of the first logs removed under the MP quickly found a home in a local development featuring ash countertops.

The adaptive reuse of urban wood allows us to be sure that EAB won’t have the last word when it comes to our ash trees. We think Madison residents will share our appreciation for this silver lining to the loss of our ash trees and other park trees,” says Eric Knepp, Parks Superintendent. The success of this arrangement ultimately lies in the hands of local residents. When residents buy local wood, they reduce transportation emissions, reduce waste, and make it possible for local businesses to stay involved in salvaging the wood from these trees.

A sample of the WUW-Madison Parks Proposal can be found here.