Sample Urban Tree Recycling Policy
This is a suggested template that may be utilized or edited based on your community’s needs. This suggested template has been endorsed by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and Urban Community Forestry Program
This policy supports the City of _________’s Sustainability Plan, Climate Action Plan, and/or Urban Forest Management Plan to ensure the sustainability of the urban forest. The goal is to optimize ecosystem services, including greenhouse gas reduction, and to utilize trees that must be removed in the most efficient way possible.
Such removed trees shall be used for the highest and best use possible. Environmental benefits are realized by diverting wood that would otherwise populate landfills and produce greenhouse gas emissions which are released through traditional disposal processes. Co-benefits include sourcing local raw materials for construction, maximizing benefit from trees being removed, and displaying urban wood products in the community. This tells the story of the City in which the trees matured and added to the community character. With this policy adoption, the City of ________ will be at the forefront in the nationwide effort to certify urban wood usage within City projects.
Tree Removal Utilization Plan.
Any trees that are removed for reasons such as failure, disease, or decline or other reasons stated within the City of ______’s management plan are subject to be repurposed for their highest use. This includes, but is not limited to, being milled into lumber, left in public spaces as natural architecture including wildlife habitat or crafted into usable products such as benches, picnic tables, new construction elements and / or other wood crafts/projects.
Suggested resources for wood processing can be found at urbansalvagedwoods.com, urbanwoodnetworkwest.org, usrwcertified.org, & urbanwoodnetwork.org.
The selection criteria for urban wood shall be made at the discretion of the city arborist or other designated city representative using current industry standards.
Should wood not be eligible for repurposing into other product, trees may be mulched or converted into other biomass products for use in the community.
Desirable Species Replacement Plan.
Tree replacement criteria should include consideration of the full suite of benefits that may be provided throughout the life of the tree, including a consideration for end of life uses, such as high quality lumber.
It is recommended that these replacement species be selected in collaboration with local experts based upon the unique region and climate.
Species information may be found at SelecTree: A Tree Selection Guide. Should consultation be needed for suitable species, West Coast Arborists, Inc. may be utilized as a resource.
Urban Wood Utilization in New or Modified Public Construction Projects Plan.
Use of the USRW North American Standards for Certification and Chain of Custody for Urban, Salvaged and Reclaimed Woods as set by USRW Certified Woods and endorsed by the Urban Wood Network is recommended to ensure quality. https://usrwcertified.org/
Urban wood should be considered in all city projects. To gain the maximized benefits of repurposed lumber from city trees, it is recommended that any new or modified public construction development that takes place within the city limits should include an urban wood element that is at a minimum cost of 1% of the overall project. This 1% is not in addition to project budget but can be included in items that would be necessary despite urban wood policy (i.e. locally sourced urban wood table vs traditionally harvested lumber table).
This measure assures that the market for the City of ________’s urban wood is local (local being defined as within 500 miles or less per USRW certification, with lesser distance traveled preferred) and sustainable, maximizing the benefit of repurposed lumber from urban trees.
It is suggested that urban wood utilization plans be approved by the City of ______’s planning department, if applicable.
When approval is required, all project scope details shall be in accordance with all municipal construction and / or building code standards.
Other means of quantifying urban wood usage in public/private projects are acceptable, such as incentive programs for contractors.
*This document is a sample template