The Research and Development Cluster
In January 2013, the Juneau Economic Development Council (JEDC) began laying the foundations for a collaborative working group focused on developing collaborative research and promoting Juneau as a center for research. Their initiative resulted in a research and development cluster composed of members from the Pacific Northwest Research Station, USFS; the School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, UAF; the School of Arts and Sciences, UAS; the Alaska Coastal Rainforest Center; and JEDC. The R&D cluster will focus on six initiatives:
- Develop a collaborative research network focused on key themes in Southeast Alaska
- Link industry needs to local researchers in Southeast Alaska
- Connect Research to Communities
- Market the unique geographic, natural and infrastructure features of our region
- Promote STEM Education in our Region
- Become SCoR (State Committee on Research) Area of Excellence
Please visit the JEDC R&D Cluster site for more information.
ACRC and the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station are working to characterize some emerging forest product markets in southeast Alaska. This work will address important socioeconomic issues in the region, provide needed forest inventory information for new forest products, and support jobs for healthy rural communities. Our first project will initially focus on the yellow-cedar wood products market; however, in subsequent years we may also investigate the young growth biomass energy market.
Southeast Alaska old growth yellow-cedar provides an emerging opportunity to develop dispersed, small-scale rural timber mills, producing high-quality timber for value-added wood products. Yellow-cedar is experiencing a climate change-induced range shift, with large stands throughout southeast Alaska experiencing die-offs. Unlike spruce and hemlock forests, these old growth yellow-cedar stands provide little benefit to wildlife once the trees have died; however, the timber is of very high quality and highly desired by builders. There are several small-scale mills throughout the region, including sawmills in Hoonah and Thorne Bay, but access to timber is difficult, storage and transport of raw wood and finished products is limited, and the demand by building contractors is unpredictable. We will gather and synthesize long-term and emerging data regarding forest ecology, the yellow-cedar market, estimated social costs, and regulatory forces. This research will lead to a greater understanding of the specialty forest product market in Southeast Alaska, identify inefficiencies, and identify some of the challenges and benefits of further developing these markets in the region.
|Yellow Cedar Timber, photo by Paul Hennon||Yellow Cedar Sawing, photo by Paul Hennon||Yellow Cedar Forest by Robin Mulvey|