Urban wood

Markets growing for urban wood across Wisconsin

By Scott Lyon, Forest Products Specialist

Many communities have expressed greater interest in local goods and services over the last few years; as a result, urban wood recycling efforts have increased in Wisconsin. The increase of trees killed by invasive insects and disease caused many municipalities to seek alternative uses for urban wood rather than disposing material in a landfill. Recent efforts to market this growing source of material and develop ways to recycle urban trees within communities led Wisconsin to become one of the leading states in urban wood utilization.

Live edge walnut slab table at a Milwaukee based business.

Throughout the state, markets have started to grow; at least 30 companies are producing products made from urban wood. The City of Milwaukee cut their disposal costs in half by sending their street tree removals to Kettle Moraine Hardwoods and Bay View Lumber. Consumers are drawn to urban wood for its unique character appearance that enhances its use in furniture, cabinets, flooring, millwork, wall and ceiling panels. Urban wood can now be found in large scale projects such as ceiling and wall panels at the new Milwaukee Bucks Arena, and apartment and business buildings in Milwaukee. In both Milwaukee and Madison, the hobbyist wood worker can find urban wood lumber and live edge slabs at the local Habitat for Humanity Restore. Urban wood manufacturers have noted an increase in demand for live edge slabs for use in tables, desks and countertops.

Demand for urban wood has increased not only in Milwaukee and Madison, but across the state in other communities such as Green Bay, Appleton, and Eau Claire. In Eau Claire, urban wood is making some noise (literally) after repurposing in the manufacture of guitars. In addition, the City of Eau Claire has partnered with some Wisconsin Urban Wood members to produce furniture and specialty products. Wisconsin Urban Wood is the brand that assures consumers that the wood originated from Wisconsin’s community forests and passed through an entire supply of Wisconsin-based business to arrive as the final product.

However, a need still exists to help end-consumers and other users, such architects, interior designers, and engineers, understand the benefits and value of using wood and overcome perceived barriers. Wood is a renewable resource as opposed to substitute non-renewable products such as concrete, steel, and plastics.

For more information on urban wood use or to find an urban wood user in your area please visit Wisconsin Urban Wood or the Urban Wood Network.

Urban forestry finds a voice on the Council on Forestry

Jordon Skiff“I have an opportunity to be a voice in the conversation.” As a new member of the Council on Forestry, Jordan Skiff, Fond du Lac public works director and Urban Forestry Council chair, will be an advocate for urban and community forestry, sharing its challenges and proclaiming its benefits. Skiff fills the urban forestry seat vacated by Dr. R. Bruce Allison in December 2016. Continue reading “Urban forestry finds a voice on the Council on Forestry”

Trees help achieve resolutions to be healthy

The sedentary lifestyle has become more common, and the shift has been costly. One result is an increase in obesity. Childhood obesity rates have tripled (12–19 years old) or quadrupled (6–11 years old,) and adult rates have doubled since the 1970s. Obesity increases risk of chronic diseases and conditions such as: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, cancer and mental illness. This rise in chronic diseases related to obesity results in billions of dollars in medical costs and lost productivity each year. Continue reading “Trees help achieve resolutions to be healthy”

Another productive year for Wisconsin urban forestry!

Written by Jeff Roe, Urban Forestry Team Leader

As I reflect on this year, what stands out to me is cohesion and enthusiasm. Within the DNR, Division of Forestry, Urban Forestry Team and with our partners, I feel that communication, enthusiasm and follow-through have been hallmarks of this year.

Continue reading “Another productive year for Wisconsin urban forestry!”

Improve employee attitudes and well-being with exposure to trees and nature

The start of another weekday and we commute to work, only to be met by a dark cubicle or office covered in various shades of beige and grey. Ever wonder why your mood starts to match the walls? It’s because workplace environment contributes to employee health.

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Tree City USA applications are due

Trees make a town a special place to live. Trees shade homes, businesses and streets. They clean air and water, increase property values, reduce energy costs and make neighborhoods greener, safer and healthier. By becoming recognized and fulfilling the standards of Tree City, Tree Line, or Tree Campus USA, communities, companies and campuses are putting their citizens first and building a better community with the forest outside your door. Thousands of communities across America are enjoying these many benefits of trees and being recognized as a Tree City USA.

Continue reading “Tree City USA applications are due”