In Hampshire County, Massachusetts, woody material from tree trimming and removal (tree debris0 is a regularly generated resource that can be expected to increase in volume in the near future. The effects of climate change (such as an increase in pest-and weather-related tree damage and mortality) and the related proactive resiliency work (such as the removal of trees and limbs from around power lines) will continue to provide influxes and irregular spikes of supply in addition to the regular volume of tree debris currently generated.
The Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) contracted with the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC) to pilot an analysis in Hampshire County to understand the customary fate of this material. Predicated on the results of interviews with, and an electronic survey of, Hampshire County tree wardens and supplementary interviews with regional private tree care companies, this report illustrates existing strategies for processing and utilizing tree debris within the region and highlights opportunitites and constraints for expanding those strategies. The report also offers recommendations for advancing tree debris utilization within Hampshire County. These recommendatiopns are tailored toward municipal, and regional and state stakeholders, and are formulated to provide suggestions for both short-term actions municipalities can take to increase the use of their tree debirs, and longer-term strategies that regional and state stakeholders can undetake to develop partnerships, create and/or secure funding sources, and study the potential for a strong formal wood processing economy within the county.