Encourage and help facilitate Idaho to direct its urban wood to the highest and best use.
To accomplish this, we want to work with the entire chain of local individuals and businesses, including the arborists and municipalities who produce available urban timber; the local sawyers, mills and kilns who can turn these logs into timber; the craftspeople who will turn this timber into beautiful and functional products; and finally the consumer who buys the end products
What is urban timber?
Urban timber consists of trees planted or maintained in the urban area. Trees that grow in our yards, city parks, along our streets and in our business/ housing developments.
What currently happens to urban timber?
Urban trees that are removed typically suffer 1 of 3 fates.
- Chopped up into firewood
- Dropped into a landfill
- Chipped up into Mulch
It is estimated that in the United States over 200 million cubic yards of urban tree and landscape residue are generated every year. Of this amount, 15 percent is classified as unchipped logs. To put this figure in perspective, consider that if these logs were sawn into boards, they theoretically would produce 3.8 billion board feet of lumber, or nearly 30 percent of the hardwood lumber produced annually in the United States
What do we mean by highest and best use?
The highest and best use for a tree will vary with each tree. For example a small diameter softwood tree maybe turned into a bowl by a wood turner vs ending up as mulch. A larger diameter hardwood that is turned into a table, is better than ending up in a landfill.
Benefits of Urban Wood Utilization
- Reduced Landfill space
- Carbon reduction, through both carbon sequestration and carbon reduction
- Carbon sequestration
One half of a tree's dry weight is carbon
- - https://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/pubs/jrnl/1993/ne_1993_nowak_003.pdf
If a tree is taken to the landfill, chopped up to mulch or burned as firewood, the sequestered carbon is released into the atmosphere
- Carbon Reduction - wood produced is local and not imported, reducing transportation emissions
- Local Economy and Jobs. Every thing we have setup so far is with local companies, employing local people. We are using the farm to table idea with food and applying it to our process.
o Grown here
o Harvested here
o Processed here
o Crafted here
- Cost reduction to local municipalities and tree service companies (landfill costs)
- Emotional benefits
A lot of the benefits of urban timber are rational, but I think one of the biggest benefits to urban timber is the emotional side. Brian told me a story about how one of the desks in his office was made from a special tree that had been lost. In that office, that desk is unique and it has a story. The idea that you can buy a coffee table from a local craftsmen using timber from a tree that grew down the street (or maybe in your yard) is special.
There are times when a healthy tree is removed due to construction or expansion. In these cases, the impact can be lessened if the tree is salvaged and re-used as timber. The business that needs to take down the tree may even opt to have something made from the tree.