… that felled urban trees add to the greenhouse-gas-producing biomass brought to landfills each year? That’s truly a waste because there are productive uses for all those downed trees.
First a little background: Trees sequester carbon in their tissue through the process of photosynthesis. When downed trees are put in a landfill, they’re covered over by layers of other material so there’s no oxygen, and the woody material decomposes. In the decomposition process, the sequestered carbon is released as methane (CH4), which, pound for pound, has a global warming effect about 28 times greater than the CO2. So, keeping the woody biomass of trees out of a landfill avoids more greenhouse gas emissions. That’s where finding a purpose for downed urban trees comes into the picture.
California recently enacted SB1383, which requires a minimum 40 percent reduction of methane emissions from our landfills by 2030. As one way to address this, downed urban trees can be “harvested” as a resource rather than sent to the landfill as waste. The range of marketable products from urban wood is broad -- from fencing, furniture, and general construction to musical instruments to mulch and wood pellets. Downed urban trees can do just about anything forest trees can do.
At the present time, commerce in urban-tree lumber and woody biomass enterprises in the San Diego region exists in only small pockets below most people’s radar. The number of production facilities is limited, the supply of urban wood is inconsistent and located all over the region, and there is little public awareness about the value of re-purposed trees. For these reasons, there’s currently no organized market despite a variety of marketable products.
However, there is a training facility with some tree-repurposing technology available at Palomar College in North County. Unfortunately, there has been little in the way of networking between Palomar and those who might be brought together from urban forestry, architecture, construction, and landscaping professionals to generate that commerce in repurposed urban trees. But the potential exists, and Tree San Diego intends to be proactively involved in this venture.
A crew of youth from the Urban Corps of San Diego County took advantage of a wet and rainy day in late December to plant trees at Dorothy Petway Park in the Southcrest neighborhood of the City of San Diego as part of Tree San Diego’s Parks Plus Project. Funding for this project was provided by California ReLeaf and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection as part of the California Climate Investments Program.
Thanks to Urban Corps Environmental Supervisor Steven Hana for snapping the shots of these young urban foresters in action.
Tree San Diego's Laurie Broedling spoke at the City Council hearing in favor of the adopting the plan and of filling city staff positions. Our congratulations go to all the city staff who worked on this plan and to Anne Fege and the other members of the Community Forest Advisory Board for achieving this major milestone.
Join TREE SAN DIEGO's Membership Program!
2017 opens up our new annual cycle of our membership program. As San Diego County’s urban forestry non-profit partner, we are building the resources to increase our region’s tree canopy. By becoming a member, you will be actively helping us to increase the number of trees we can plant as well as expand our choices for locations where we can plant them, reducing the way-too-big gaps in our urban forest.
Thanks to everyone who joined in 2016. As a token or our appreciation to the first group to join, we’re offering 2017 as a free membership year. However, if you want to pay to renew this year, your contributions are always needed.
Members, please save the date for a member-only invitation to join us on a very special day—Thursday, March 23rd. We’re turning about 100 5th graders from Chollas-Mead Elementary School and 20 Urban Corps crew members into Junior Tree Stewards certified as competent in basic tree watering. The capstone event on March 23rd will be held at the dog park near Morley Field in Balboa Park. More information to follow.
Click on the Member Badge to join our team!
Volunteer Opportunities at TreeSD
If you would like to volunteer with this dynamic and growing pro-environment nonprofit, please contact Kalli Legakes at firstname.lastname@example.org and introduce yourself. We will work with you to select a task that suits your skills and interests. For specific information about current volunteering possibilities, click here.
Funding for San Diego Tree Advantage Program
has been provided by the California Greenhouse
Gas Reduction Fund through the California
Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
(CAL FIRE) Urban and Community Forestry Program.