Urban Wood Use Action Guide

Using recovered and fresh-cut urban wood to build and sustain vibrant communities.


Baltimore created a comprehensive program to collect, salvage, make and sell products from urban wood. You can too.

Wood is an abundant, renewable resource. Yet each year over 78,000 tons of urban wood is wasted in Baltimore alone —about 3,900 truckloads. Throughout the country, more than 28,000,000 tons of urban wood waste is generated annually — from clearing for development, demolition of abandoned buildings, removal of dead or diseased trees.

But when you treat wood as waste, you spend money you needn’t, and miss opportunities you shouldn’t. Baltimore took advantage of these “invisible” assets and moved their community closer to its vision of a sustainable future. You can too.

“We wanted to minimize waste, maximize profit, improve employment, and restore the land and water. It was like putting a giant puzzle together, but we’ve found ways to accomplish all of these things using both salvage and fresh-cut material and we’ve found great partners to work with.” — Morgan Grove, PhD, Forest Service lead social scientist at its Baltimore Field Station.

For a copy of the Urban Wood Workbook, based on the Baltimore experience, click here.



The Urban Wood Workbook is a publication of the USDA Forest Service, 2020.

Mike Galvin, Sarah Hines, Morgan Grove, Lauren Marshall
Hines, Grove and Marshall work for the US Forest Service. Galvin is director of consulting for SavATree.
The authors are grateful for review and comments from a panel of expert reviewers.
Jessica Simons, Owner/Consultant, Verdant Stewardship; William Rees, Utility Vegetation Management Consultant; Daniel R. Rider, Stewardship Manager, Forest Service. Maryland Department of Natural Resources; P. Eric Wiseman, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Urban Forestry, Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation, Virginia Tech; Jan Wiedenbeck, Ph.D., Research Forest Products Technologist, USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station; Shaun M. Preston, Camp Small - Yard Master, Baltimore City Forestry Division.
Urban Wood Use Action Guide