By P. Eric Wiseman, Ph.D. Forest Resources & Environmental Conservation Virginia Tech
Urban forests are an important component of Georgia’s natural resources. They clean our air, protect our water, and beautify our cities. They also create jobs for arborists, nursery operators and urban foresters. According to a 2009 study by the US Forest Service, there are over 293 million trees in Georgia’s urban and community areas. Each year, thousands of these trees are cut down due to storm damage, pest infestation, land development, and natural attrition. This is a tremendous fiber resource that has high potential as urban forest products. Utilization of urban forest waste is good for both the environment and the economy. Processing downed trees into firewood, lumber, and other products diverts waste from landfills and creates revenue for an assortment of green industries.
Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) sees opportunities for greater utilization of urban forest waste around the state. For this reason, the GFC wants to better understand current practices and perceptions of waste utilization among tree care services and municipalities. The GFC has partnered with the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation at Virginia Tech to conduct an online survey of ISA Certified Arborists and municipal tree waste administrators during 2015. Virginia Tech researchers were selected as partners for this study because they have conducted similar surveys in Virginia and North Carolina as part of a multi-state project funded by the US Forest Service. In this survey, questions will be asked about current practices of urban forest waste generation and utilization by commercial and municipal operations. The researchers also hope to understand perceptions about the incentives, barriers, and interest level in urban forest waste utilization. With the results of this survey, the GFC will target its outreach and technical assistance programs to increase participation and profitability in urban forest products. Solicitations to participate in the online survey were sent in early March 2015.
For further information about this project, contact Dru Preston in the Utilization Department of the Georgia Forestry Commission at (478) 283-5117 or at email@example.com.