The Appalachian Hardwood Center (AHC) at West Virginia University, is a jointly supported center of the WVU Extension Service and the WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design.
The center was established in 1987 by the West Virginia Legislature to provide technical and research support for the state's growing wood products industry. The AHC is a center of excellence for outreach; extension and technology transfer; professional development; and applied research. The AHC serves sustainable natural resource-based businesses and communities as well as private forest landowners and natural resource professionals in the Appalachian forest region.
IKEA announced in 2012 (marketwired.com) it was transitioning to a “lean alternative shipping platform” that would eventually result in the phase out of all wood pallets within IKEA operations. According to BusinessWire, the OptiLedge, which is based on a Swedish innovation, has led to “IKEA stores being the first global example of how to work with non-wooden pallets in a high-volume retail environment.” This is another example of how a large retailer can affect the pallet/wood packaging material (WPM) industry. Costco set a block pallet standard that went into effect in January of 2011. The decision was based on several considerations, not least of which is the fact that block pallets provide full four-way entry. This decision sent ripples through the WPM industry but at least it still utilized wood as the raw material.
The Hardwood Research Trust is a newly formed research program developed to encourage innovation related to improving the value of poor quality Appalachian hardwoods. This program was made possible through a significant contribution by the Bowlby Family as well as a WV Research Trust Fund match. The intent is to focus research on topics that will improve the value of hardwoods in the Appalachian region and provide a place for industry to bring problems and together with University researchers develop solutions to these issues. Projects funded under this solicitation must have a defined industry and academic partnership. It is the intent of the HRT to solicit real world issues from the Appalachian Forest Products industry and develop potential solutions through a collaborative effort with WVU researchers. Topics can be narrowly focused; however, potential solutions should have the ability to increase the use and value of Appalachian hardwoods. The HRT is currently being managed and implemented by the Appalachian Hardwood Center at West Virginia University.
The primary mission of the HRT is to develop and implement a program for encouraging innovation and cooperation related to improving the value of poor quality Appalachian hardwoods. The primary objective of this program is to seek innovative ideas related to the science of Appalachian hardwood management, processing, and product development that have the potential to increase the growth of the region's forest based-economy.
The HRT is officially requesting proposals to seek projects that meet the objectives of this initiative. Currently, $25,000 is available for individual projects proposed under this request for proposals. Matching funds during this initial request are not required, however; projects that provide industry- based match will be given priority.
The Northeast Woody/Warm-season Biomass Consortium will be hosting a field tour demonstrating the establishment and growth of short rotation bioenergy crops on a reclaimed surface mined site in central West Virginia.
NEWBio researchers from West Virginia University will be leading the tour which will take place on July 31st 2014. Participants will be provided an update on NEWBio activities and will have the opportunity to visit a study site and view the development of bioenergy crops. Those attending the tour will see trial sites planted with Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), Miscanthus (Miscanthus x giganteus), and giant cane (Arundo donax L) all three of which are potential bioenergy crops.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Forest Service asked the Appalachian Hardwood Center to help conduct the Timber Product Output (TPO) survey. This periodic survey, last conducted in 2007 (LINK), is designed to determine for this year, the: