Increasing Urban Wood Use Awareness and Product Demand

Lead Author: Kathryn Fernholz

Publish date: 01.15.2019

 

An analysis of green market opportunities

 

Executive Summary

 

This analysis examined existing programs used in the management and care of the urban forest to identify areas of alignment and potential for green market opportunities.  The analysis included identifying needs and gaps in addressing urban wood use and opportunities to increase awareness and product demand.

 

The project that this analysis is a part of includes working with partners to develop an urban wood certification approach that could be adopted and promoted by existing programs (including The Arbor Day Foundation, Society of Municipal Arborists, Right-of-Way Stewardship Council, Utility Arborists Association, Tree Care Industry Association, and Dovetail Partners Inc.), and utilized by municipalities and businesses. The results of this collaboration support state urban wood groups, help create consistent messaging, and will be presented to various audiences and venues.

 

Several areas of opportunity are available for development of an urban wood certification approach and for the promotion of urban wood use.  The opportunities summarized in this report include green markets related to:

  • green building programs 
  • third-party forest certification programs        
  • third-party forest certification chain-of-custody programs   
  • mutual recognition and program partnerships 
  • regional activities 

 

There are regionally specific activities that may provide opportunities for expanded urban wood use. In the Midwest, the Urban Wood Network includes participants from Illinois, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin working to support urban wood utilization. In the West, an urban lumber network has formed under the name Urban, Salvaged and Reclaimed Woods, Inc. (USRW) and has members in California, Montana, Oregon, British Columbia, Hawaii, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. An example of a well-developed program for urban wood sourced through deconstruction and reclaimed building materials operates in Baltimore, Maryland.

 

Urban wood use is reported anecdotally within green building programs and third-party forest certification programs. Further research could quantify activities in these areas to highlight additional opportunities. With further development, the use of urban wood in green building could be expanded and recognition within third-party forest certification programs could be formalized. The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) has announced an expanded scope of their program to include street trees and urban forests. The guidelines for their process offer a clear customizable pathway to internationally recognized, third-party certification for urban forest management and urban forest products.

 

 

 

Partners on 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, Virginia Department of Forestry, 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.

 

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