Tree Crew Perspectives on Wood Product Recovery from Utility Vegetation Management
Danielle P. Kloster, Anita T. Morzillo, John C. Volin, and Thomas E. Worthley
Abstract: Utility vegetation management generates large quantities of wood that require disposal. To explore opportunities for reducing wood waste and promoting wood recovery, we evaluated the perceptions and experiences of utility-contracted tree crews regarding a wood recovery program. We conducted interviews with tree crew members both involved (n = 24) and not involved (n = 58) with the pilot program. Interview questions focused on workflow, interactions with homeowners and the public, and opportunities for implementation of a wood recovery program from the crew member perspective. Participants generally had positive attitudes toward a wood recovery program, wanting to provide benefits for communities through revenue from log sales and to reduce wood waste. Potential challenges associated with such a program included: (1) increased time required for tree removal; (2) safety concerns for removing larger logs; (3) physical obstacles such as mailboxes and stone walls; (4) homeowners wanting to keep the wood; and (5) low-quality wood (i.e., containing rot or metal). The protocol was modified to address such concerns. With the input of tree crew members, our findings suggest that a wood recovery program has the potential to be successful in reducing wood waste from utility vegetation management and generating benefits for communities, particularly in urban environments.
Keywords: Tree Crew Perspectives on Wood Product Recovery from Utility Vegetation Management