A new initiative to support increased urban wood utilization and community benefits has been launched. The project will develop a unified urban wood certification strategy with the goal of aligning existing programs that recognize responsible management practices in the urban forest. Existing urban forestry programs range from accreditation and licensing to training and certification programs.
“We’re not starting with a blank slate,” said project manager, Kathryn Fernholz, executive director of Minneapolis-based Dovetail Partners. “There are many high-quality existing programs that support the practice of urban and utility forestry – from Tree City USA and Tree Line USA to Arborist certifications – and we’re looking at how these programs support shared goals and can respond to the growing interest in urban wood and responsible sourcing.”
The intent of the project is to develop a certification process to be incorporated into existing professional and accreditation standards, adopted by municipalities, and embraced by tree-related operations within urban forests including arboriculture businesses and wood processors.
Partners of the project include the Arbor Day Foundation, Society of Municipal Arborists, Tree Care Industry Association, Utility Arborists Association, Right-of-Way Stewardship Council, Dovetail Partners, North Carolina Forest Service and the USDA Forest Service. Support for the project is provided by the North Carolina Forest Service, Urban and Community Forestry Program and the USDA Forest Service.
The project also seeks to develop consistent messaging to engage stakeholders and target audiences in the value and benefits of local urban wood products and promote the value-added opportunity for local businesses. Some municipalities have already incorporated urban wood into their sustainability plans and are utilizing their own wood for local use. The project hopes to support these existing efforts and to encourage similar efforts by other municipal sustainability and solid waste programs. These combined efforts ultimately increase long term carbon storage and avoid carbon emissions associated with burning or decomposing.
“By working together, we aim to increase demand for locally-sourced wood and wood products by the public and businesses,” said Nancy Stairs, Urban and Community Forestry Coordinator for the North Carolina Forest Service. “We want to help arborists and processors put urban wood to good use and reduce the amount of wood entering landfills.”
For more information about this project, visit dovetailinc.org.
About the Project Partners:
The Arbor Day Foundation
Founded in 1972, the Arbor Day Foundation has grown to become the largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees, with more than one million members, supporters, and valued partners. During the last 45 years, more than 250 million Arbor Day Foundation trees have been planted in neighborhoods, communities, cities and forests throughout the world. Our vision is to help others understand and use trees as a solution to many of the global issues we face today, including air quality, water quality, climate change, deforestation, poverty and hunger. As one of the world’s largest operating conservation foundations, the Arbor Day Foundation, through its members, partners and programs, educates and engages stakeholders and communities across the globe to involve themselves in its mission of planting, nurturing and celebrating trees. More information is available at arborday.org
Society of Municipal Arborists
Founded in 1964, the SMA is an organization of municipal arborists and urban foresters. Our membership also includes consultants, commercial firms, nonprofits, tree boards, tree wardens, allied professionals, and citizens who actively practice or support some facet of municipal forestry. A professional affiliate of the International Society of Arboriculture, the SMA has members from across North America and beyond. Through our magazine, City Trees, our conferences, our website and our many active members, we strive to create networking and educational opportunities that promote the sound, professional management of a vital and invaluable resource. urban-forestry.com/
Tree Care Industry Association
The Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) is a trade association of 2,300 tree care firms and affiliated companies and was established in 1938 as the National Arborist Association. The TCIA develops safety and education programs, standards of tree care practice and management information for tree and landscape firms around the world. We provide continuing education, training, conferences and publications to promote the safe and appropriate practice of tree care. tcia.org/
Utility Arborists Association
The UAA is an organization of over 4,200 individuals with interest in and a commitment to the maintenance of trees and other vegetation for the purpose of ensuring the safe and reliable distribution of energy, including electric, oil and gas, to business and residences. uaa.wildapricot.org
Right-of-Way Stewardship Council
Right-of-Way Stewardship Council is an accreditation program that is being pursued by a diverse group of stakeholders to provide standards of excellence for environmental stewardship along rights-of-way (ROW) and presents the opportunity for utility companies to demonstrate their commitment to such standards. It establishes standards for responsible ROW vegetation management within high-voltage electric transmission corridors. The aim of the program is to promote the application of integrated vegetation management and best management practices to the utility vegetation management industry in order to maintain power system reliability and address ecological concerns. www.rowstewardship.org
Dovetail Partners provides authoritative information about the impacts and trade-offs of environmental decisions, including consumption choices, land use, and policy alternatives. Dovetail is a highly skilled team that fosters sustainability and responsible behaviors by collaborating to develop unique concepts, systems, models and programs. Dovetail Partners is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. dovetailinc.org
North Carolina Forest Service, Urban and Community Forestry Program
North Carolina’s forest land is one of the greatest influences on the state, providing economic value and adding immeasurably to the quality of life for its residents. The forest products industry is the largest manufacturing business sector in the state, contributing approximately $31.4 billion annually to the state’s economy and providing around 144,000 jobs for North Carolinians. The NC Forest Service’s primary purpose is to ensure adequate and quality forest resources for the state to meet its present and future needs. The U&CF Program supports urban forestry in North Carolina by administering a cost-share federal grant program for municipalities, local governments, non-profits, educational groups and schools and providing technical and/or educational assistance. ncforestservice.gov/Urban/Urban_Forestry
USDA Forest Service
The U.S. Forest Service manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live. fs.fed.us
The Illinois Wood Utilization Team is pleased to participate in Bringing Urban Forestry Full Circle, a new, multi-state collaborative project that will promote full-circle urban forest management to capture the full worth of community trees from seed to sawdust, expanding the public benefits of trees, from shade to finished wood products. The project is supported by the USDA Forest Service Northeastern Area, State and Private Forestry Landscape Scale Restoration Grant Program.
Interested persons and parties are invited to connect with this project by exchanging information.
Along with regional program leadership provided by Glacierland RC&D, located in Green Bay, WI, these lead partners in four states are working together:
Illinois – The Metropolitan Mayors Caucus and Illinois Wood Utilization Team
Michigan – Southeast Michigan Resource Conservation and Development Council and Recycle Ann Arbor
Missouri – Missouri Department of Conservation
Wisconsin – Sustainable Resources Institute Inc. and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Bringing Urban Forestry Full Circle (Full Circle) will draw from the broadly collaborative work that was done to create the Urban Forest Products Alliance (UFPA) in 2009-10. The U.S. Forest Service Wood Education Resource Center supported that effort that created a consensus strategic plan to “promote the sustainable recovery and the highest and best use of the products of urban forests.” The Full Circle project proposal can be downloaded from the Forest Service website at: http://www.na.fs.fed.us/rfp/.
Full Circle has a two-tiered work plan.
1. First, the partners will be guided by the UFPA strategic plan to build regional and national capacity for an urban wood market. The project partners will create a marketing plan for urban wood; maintain a website to promote urban wood knowledge and bolster industry by advocating and educating the public of high-value uses of urban wood. Most importantly, the project will bring together established and nascent urban wood efforts in the partner states and beyond, providing leadership and sharing of information.
2. At the state level, each of the partner will work to strengthen its state’s urban wood utilization capacity program. Existing state urban wood teams in Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin will be strengthened and a new team will be formed in Missouri. The partner states also will work together to convene their own urban wood conference sharing experiences and resources.
We invite you to (re)connect with this group by signing up for email updates. By signing up, you’ll be among the first to learn about events, demonstrations, reports and other news from this project. To subscribe to Urban Forest Products Alliance e-mail news alerts, follow this link: UFPA e-mail news alerts. If you are not already participating in the UFPA Linked In group, please also join that international informal dialogue. (You will need a Linked In profile to join.)
UFPA has sustained urban wood dialogue in the past few years despite lack of organizational capacity and funding. The U.S. Forest Service now reinvigorates the movement by supporting Full Circle for 2 years. Please join us.
Nick Kuhn, Missouri Department of Conservation
Edith Makra, Illinois EAB Wood Utilization Team and the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus
Don Peterson, Sustainable Resources Institute, Inc.
Jessica Simons, Southeast Michigan Resource Conservation & Development Council and Recycle Ann Arbor’s Urbanwood Project