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Trējuvenation

Summary of Tree San Diego’s Trējuvenation Project July 2017 – March 2020

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Trējuvenation is a regional urban wood utilization project, grant-funded via CalFire, and administered by Tree San Diego, a 501(c)3 non-profit. The goal of the project is to divert end-of-life urban trees away from the wood-chipper/landfill and toward beneficial products like lumber, furniture, musical instruments, biopolymers, and wood charcoal/biochar (made from low-value wood that has no current market; biochar is a powerful soil amendment for enhanced microbial growth and nutrient runoff prevention among other things).

The Problem

By making use of downed trees almost entirely for mulch or firewood the existing urban forest in the San Diego region is not providing the highest and best economic and social value it could be. This waste of value is likely a factor in the stagnant growth of San Diego’s forest canopy. Unfortunately, there is a relatively large supply of these downed trees, limited capacity to store, dry, and market them, and low demand for local wood overall. Due to these issues most of the trees that come down quickly meet the blade of a grinder or wood chipper and end up as either firewood, mulch, or worst case they buried in a landfill where their biomass breaks down with limited oxygen which leads to the formation of methane, a greenhouse gas over 20 times more potent than CO2 in terms of global warming potential. Half of the methane generated at the Miramar Landfill is turned into electricity, while the other 50% is flared turning it into CO2. Soon they will move to 100% utilization for energy, but other landfills in the county don’t have this infrastructure and Miramar is near capacity. With climate change hurtling toward us, we cannot afford to needlessly discharge greenhouse gases like methane into the atmosphere while wasting valuable wood.

How We Can Help

Trējuvenation can make a real impact on these problems. By filling in gaps in the existing urban wood industry our intention is to increase the amount of urban wood diverted from the wood chipper and landfill. Our arborist partners can cut the wood into longer, more valuable logs, and we will provide them access to drop sites that are closer than their standard locations. As a bonus, Trejuvenation sites will not have the “tipping” fees that landfills charge somewhat offsetting the greater expense of transporting larger logs, and we can even pay them for the logs in some cases. We will also augment the local capacity to kiln-dry logs, something that is sorely needed if this wood is to reach its full potential in terms of market value. Finally, Trejuvenation will enhance the existing urban wood network so they can more effectively collaborate, fulfill larger commercial orders, create value-added products like biochar, and market their products to a wider audience.

Benefits of our solution

  • Fewer members of our urban forest being chipped or burned first, and asked questions of their value later. We still might do those things, but we will first consider the highest and best use for each log.
  • Human benefits: Job training and education in an industry fit for a 21st-century circular economy
  • Improving utilization of valuable resources (i.e. avoiding waste), and honoring our gentle green giants by giving them a second life beautiful life

Major partners

 

Lumbercycle

 

West Coast Arborists

Ol’ Fashioned Lumber

San Diego chapter of the Green Building Council

Agri Service Inc.

For more information

Contact Project Director Tony Endress at aendress@treesandiego.org

or Project Manager Cody Harrison at charrison@treesandiego.org, 434-242-6879

Funding for this project is provided by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention                          as part of the Urban & Community Forestry, and California Climate Investments programs.