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Tree Reuse: Sustainable Urban Timber


Urban forestry: urban timber – a new frontier in silviculture?

We have been working with Lantern Environmental since 2016 to help developers and councils in urban centres celebrate urban forestry.  What happens when trees come down? Normally they get disappeared one way or another. Chipped, landfilled, firewood, dumped.  We think there is a better way that makes use of the timber and supports local communities.

How does this work?  Fits things first, we hope that the trees can remain.  We work with the architects and developers to see how they could be incorporated into the new landscape. A new model of urban silviculture.  If they are to come out we assess the trees using our own innovative approach to urban tree inventory that can estimate volumes of sawn timber from open-grown trees.

When the trees come down we provide instructions to tree surgeons on felling & stacking. Then we have the timber taken to a local mill for conversion and drying.  Working with architect and developer we assess the uses for the timber and commission the making.

Furniture for public spaces; book cases, outdoor benches and picnic tables; signs; art; habitat enhancements; community carving sessions; wood for school craft & design lessons.  These have all come from urban grown timber for community and architectural use in the very place the trees once grew.

The branch material, the poorer grade timber, it get’s used as well.  Some may go into habitat creation in the new landscapes.  Some will go off to schools to be used in technology classes.  Some for community activities such as sppon carving workshops.  Often timber goes into art installations.

We’ve learnt some lessons along the way.  Not least is the exceptional quality timber can come from open-grown urban trees.  That communities can be inspired by the idea that they live in an urban-forest and can be part of a wood supply-chain on their doorstep.  And that urban forestry is compelling, fun and a new exciting area of real silviculture.

Clients have included Lendlease (Elephant Park and Silvertown), Network Rail, Cardiff City Council and Lesnes Abbey Woods amongst others.



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