By Rich Christianson
“Buy American” has spawned the “Buy Local” movement.
The opportunity to support your community by sourcing materials and buying value-added products locally is a key component to what makes the urban wood market tick. For far too long far too many community trees ravaged by invasive insects, felled by storms or removed for development have been chipped or mulched without much thought given to salvaging and utilizing the wood from these trees for lumber and ultimately furniture, cabinets, flooring and other value-added products.
The swiftness and widespread devastation wrought by the emerald ash borer has given a growing number of foresters, arborists, custom sawyers and custom woodworkers pause to consider what more can be done with an urban tree after its life has ended. Urban wood utilization movements have taken hold in nearly every state of the union and several Canadian provinces.
The Illinois Wood Utilization Team has networked with many independent and government groups, including forming a strong partnership with urban wood groups in Wisconsin, Michigan and Missouri. This partnership includes sharing intelligence, ideas and best practices to develop and promote a stronger urban wood market.
The best of the best of this shared learning will be on full display at the Bringing the Urban Forest Full Circle Conference, March 18, 2016 at Hamburger University, Oak Brook, IL. This event is a unique forum for land managers, foresters, arborists, sawyers, woodworkers, architects and designers, retailers, educators and other stakeholders that make up the links of the urban wood supply chain to share, learn and network with like-minded professionals.
There is already a small but growing number of companies and individuals committed to the source local, buy local appeal of urban wood utilization. They have seized the opportunity. But there is plenty of room for more entrepreneurs ready to roll up their sleeves and do themselves and their communities a great favor.
I can think of no better way to jump start the urban wood marketplace than by attending the Bringing the Urban Forest Full Circle Conference.
I hope to see you there!
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