Virginia Urban Wood Group
News & Updates
June 23, 2022 | Issue-13
Full Circle Management

Welcome to the thirteenth edition of the Virginia Urban Wood Group's newsletter!

Seeing the title of this article one might think they are about to read about some form of management system for small business operations. In reality you are partially correct, it is a management system, but for urban forests.

A while ago urban forest managers realized that there was a desperate need to manage urban forest resources beyond the end of the biological life of the tree. Far too many tons of urban wood were headed for an uncertain, unplanned future once these trees were dead and being removed. Side note - typically urban trees have a shorter lifespan than trees in yonder forest due to restricted rooting spaces and other adverse environmental growing conditions that are unique to the urban environment. Additionally, recent years have seen a string of invasive insects and diseases that have taken heavy tolls on our urban trees. A good example of this is the City of Harrisonburg which over the past three years has removed 1100 ash trees from municipally-owned properties. That number does not include the ash trees removed from private properties across the city.

Thus a need was born for the planned management of not only the living urban forest, but also the trees that have been killed by a critter, or removed due to building or infrastructure construction. As you might imagine a shift in this approach to the management of our urban forests does not immediately happen - it's sort of like turning a battleship, slowly but surely it begins to go in the desired direction.

We hope that you have had a good first half of 2022 with even better things to come for the next six months, enjoy the rest of the newsletter!

Joe Lehnen
VA Dept of Forestry
Urban Wood Program Coordinator
Feature Stories
Urban Wood as a Natural Resource

Since the Virginia Urban Wood Program was launched in 2017, an increasing number of municipalities and other public entities have embraced the idea of the full-circle management of their urban forest resources. Coordinating with the Virginia Dept. of Forestry's Urban & Community Forestry and Forest Health teams, the VDOF has developed a comprehensive program that provides full circle management planning and technical support for communities across the Commonwealth. A parallel program also offers financial assistance for replanting a more diverse urban forest in those communities which have been devastated by the emerald ash borer.

Following are examples of two wonderful municipality full circle management programs from Virginia, and also one from California! Be sure to check out the links for more details about the great work being accomplished in these localities!
Harrisonburg's tree removals and tree renewals!
Fredericksburg hosts tree giveaway programs and is home to an amazing local wood workshop!
When it comes to creating urban wood products, there are no
"bad" trees
City of Harrisonburg, VA
Like many other communities across Virginia, the City of Harrisonburg has embraced the full circle management concept of their urban forest resources. Unlike most other Virginia municipalities, the EAB (emerald ash borer) has certainly tested the limits of their capacity to loyally adhere to this resource management system.

To date the city has removed over 1100 dead ash trees from municipal properties. These trees ranged from not even firewood size to behemoths with logs of sawtimber size and quality. Staff from the Department of Public Works were able to appropriately use these for a variety of products including wood chips in a bioreactor, firewood for sale on public auction, lumber for municipal projects, and also auctioning some of the logs which are purchased by local wood businesses.

Completing the full circle management of the urban forest, Harrisonburg plants hundreds of new trees each year in an effort to replenish the canopy cover that was lost to ash mortality and also to improve the diversity of their urban forests.

Visit the Harrisonburg Urban Forest-Urban Wood website for more information about their program >


City of Fredericksburg, VA

Fredericksburg Virginia has a truly amazing full circle management urban forestry program! Unique to this city located midway between Richmond and Washington is their powerhouse Tree Fredericksburg volunteer program which provides hours of time and thousands of dollars to assist the municipality with tree care.

Launched in 2002, Tree Fredericksburg has grown into a vibrant organization of well-trained volunteers who plant, mulch, water and prune younger trees throughout the city. Additionally, Tree Fredericksburg helps to sponsor Arbor Day & Earth Day events and conducts tree giveaway programs for city residents. This volunteer program has saved the city thousands of dollars each year in tree care costs and has made Fredericksburg one of the most beautiful and vibrant Tree City USA programs!

Additionally, Fredericksburg has one of the strongest, ever-expanding urban wood economies in Virginia! The city is home for several urban wood businesses which can be found in the VDOF's Urban Wood Business Directory

Fredericksburg is also home to a hands-on, wood skills teaching facility known as The Workshop Under the watchful and skillful eye of Tim Eggers and other instructors, people can plan and make the furniture piece of their dreams on site, selecting from an amazing wood inventory which includes local trees with a story!

Additional information about Tree Fredericksburg and the city's urban forestry program can be found at:


Full Circle: A Sustainable Approach
to Urban Lumber!
San Luis Obispo, CA

The Full Circle project, funded through an Urban and Community Forestry grant from CAL FIRE, has multiple facets that excite and inspire us on a daily basis. Starting with a robust tree planting initiative spearheaded by ECOSLO, and leading to salvaging and processing urban logs (keeping them out of the landfill) by Deadwood Revival Design, this project leads to an increased supply of beautiful urban lumber in the local market and the creation of incredible heirloom furniture with a local connection to our wonderful community.

Click here for more details >>



Many thanks to Trees Virginia (Virginia's Urban Forest Council) for hosting this newsletter and allowing access to their Constant Contact platform!

The Virginia Urban Wood Program is supported by the Virginia Department of Forestry and a grant from the U.S. Forest Service, Southern Region.

The Marketing Corner

People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it!

The first time I read this I was like whaaaat?!
I didn't understand what this meant until I took a deeper dive into the meaning of this very important marketing strategy. Once I learned more about it I had that "lightbulb moment" and
thought of the many times I made a purchasing decision based upon the "why" and not the "what".
Reaching back a few years, this marketing concept was promoted by Simon Sinek, motivational speaker and the founder of "Our Why". In his TED Talk, Simon talks about the "Golden Circle" - why>how>what - concept that successful companies (he uses Apple as one example) use to become the most trusted and valued companies in the world. As Simon relates, "The goal is to not do business with everybody who needs what you have, rather the goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe".

His message is well worth a few minutes of your time >>

Have people be a part of what you do. Whether
you offer landowner services, or are a maker of fine wood crafts, being able to communicate the "why" of what you are doing will create a loyal customer for life. And also need to produce a quality product/service which they will find invaluable and incomparable to everyone else that does exactly the same thing you are doing.