Every year in our cities and towns, thousands upon thousands of trees and the billions of board feet they contain are thrown away as garbage. What isn’t dumped in landfills is buried on construction sites, ground up for mulch, or cut for firewood. At the same time, we pay dearly at lumber yards and home centers for many of the hardwoods and softwoods we continue to burn, bury, grind, and throw away. Our forests cannot be treated as an inexhaustible source of timber. Along with sustainable forest management, we must make better use of wood from other sources, like the trees that grow in our own yards, parks, and even near our city streets.
The purpose of this booklet is to educate and encourage you to support a “tree-roots” effort to make better use of urban timber by saving the best logs for lumber that can be used to build furniture and other fine craft items. As I see it, every urban tree we use for lumber is one less tree that must be cut from our forests and one less piece of green waste that would be dumped in our landfills. This booklet describes the basic ways you can harvest urban timber and a number of individuals and businesses who are making a living doing so.