In this week's installment of 'Issues of the Environment', we explore the growing benefits of salvage wood and the difference it's making right here at home.
* Southeast Michigan's dead urban trees could produce over seventy-three million board feet of lumber each year, but unfortunately, trees removed from our cities are usually fated for the chipper.
* The Urbanwood project saves and recycles the best logs, and their partners create a wide variety of remarkable green products.
In 2002, the emerald ash borer, an invasive insect destructive to ash trees, was first identified in Michigan, and a number of agencies began working to figure out how to deal with afflicted ash trees in the southeastern part of the state. Many trees needed to be removed to prevent further damage, and much of this wood ended up being burned or sent to landfills.
One of the positive things to emerge from the plight, though, is the Urbanwood Project, a collaboration between the nonprofit Southeast Michigan Resource Conservation and Development Council, the Genesee Conservation District and Recycle Ann Arbor, an organization devoted to recycling in Ann Arbor.
The Urbanwood Project utilizes the wood from diseased or other fallen urban trees and turns it into a usable resource. The project, which is a cooperative of local sawmills and conservation organizations, connects the dots between people who have fallen trees, sawmills that are willing to process unusual logs and those in the community interested in purchasing unique lumber.