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.
Who is Eligible?
Projects can be led by either industry representatives or University researchers; however, all projects should have both sectors represented. Industry relationships beyond West Virginia borders are welcome, though all projects must have include collaboration with a West Virginia University research program, where project management and budgeting will occur.
Proposals must be developed and submitted by August 4, 2014. The following format is required for the submission of proposals:
Abstract: A brief description of the project that clearly describes problem, research goals, and anticipated results that clearly relate to the objectives of the HRT. The abstract cannot exceed 200 words.
Introduction: A description of the problem, current research or lack of research addressing the problem, and detailed objectives of the research project. The introduction must not exceed 500 words.
Methods: A detailed description of the project methodology that distinctly relates to the proposals objectives. A section detailing the risk related to each method proposed should be included. The methods section should not exceed 500 words and should be clearly defined through logical steps that provide a hypothesized solution.
Collaboration: A description of the collaborative relationships that will be utilized to make the proposed project successful. This should include a description of industry support as well as integration into the projects approach. A clear tie to industry challenges must be included in this section as well as the defined roles of industry and WVU partners. This section should not exceed 250 words.
Budget: The attached excel budget template should be used for all submissions. Three main categories are included in the budget and represent personnel, supplies, travel and contracts. A budget justification should be included that describes each of the main budget components and their relation to project completion. The budget justification should not exceed 250 words, except in the case of contractual funds. For all contracts, a detailed 1-page scope of work should be submitted and signed by the contracted entity. It is up to the investigator to be certain that all contracts follow current University guidelines. Matching funds are not required under this RFP; however, those with some level of matching funds will be given priority. Funding for overhead will not be considered.
Review: All proposals will be reviewed by the HRT Advisory Board. The HRT Advisory Board will identify key projects and opportunities to be leveraged by the Hardwood Research Trust at West Virginia University. The Advisory board is comprised of industry representatives with a vested financial incentive to improve the value of Appalachian Hardwoods. Applicants will be expected to provide additional information related to their proposed project to the board if requested. All projects will be selected based on Advisory board recommendations. The Appalachian Hardwood Center will not be selecting projects for funding.
Submission: All proposals must be submitted in electronic form (PDF) on or before August 04, 2014 to:
Shawn Grushecky, Associate Director
WVU Appalachian Hardwood Center
with the subject line "HRT Research Proposal"
To assist potential applicants in determining those projects that received positive reviews last year, the abstracts from the top 2013 submissions are included below.
Innovation in Cross Laminated Timbers from Low-Value Hardwoods
Cross laminated timber (CLT) panels are a relatively new structural building material that have been traditionally limited to construction in Europe and have recently gained interest in Canada and the United States. ANSI/APA PRG-320 Standard for Performance-Rated Cross-Laminated Timber has been approved for softwood species only by the Structural Committee of the International Code Council for adoption in the 2015 International Building Code (Yeh et al. 2012). There is no reason why many of the low-value Appalachian hardwoods would not be good candidates for producing CLT products once the necessary research is performed. Low-grade hardwood timber is an abundant resource in the hardwood forests in the Eastern United States. While some limited research on hardwoods is being conducted, no specific research is being performed to look at using a combination of different Appalachian hardwood species and preservative treated hardwoods. Using alternative hardwood species (alone or in various combinations) is extremely important as prices in hardwood timber and lumber can fluctuate rather quickly due to market conditions. The main goal of the proposed research is to improve the market potential and acceptance of low-value, low quality, Appalachian hardwoods in the manufacturing of CLTs in the Appalachian region. We propose developing and testing non-treated and treated CLT panels of both single and mixed Appalachian hardwood species. The anticipated results are that the research will show that CLTs can be made from the right combinations of low-value, low quality Appalachian hardwood species to meet the requirements set forth in CLT product standards.
Modeling the Post-Harvest success of desirable hardwood reproduction subjected to release and fertilization
In the central Appalachians, the regeneration of oak and other desirable hardwood species is one of main objectives associated with harvesting activities. To assist managers with regeneration prescriptions, a number of decision support systems have been developed. Despite their availability, a significant trend in our forest composition is the declining stocks of oak following regeneration harvests.
Each of the decision support systems essentially creates survival or dominance probabilities for a furture point time (e.g., age 10) based on seedling size immediately prior to harvest. The challenge in regenerating stands to favor oak and other recalcitrant species is the need for established advance reproduction (seedlings present prior to harvesting); a condition that is uncommon in mature hardwood
stands. Operationally, most stands are harvested based on financial considerations and wood supply factors, not based on the regeneration potential. It is rare that harvesting activities coincide purposefully with regeneration conditions, and given the periodicity of seed crops, such scheduling would be challenging.
Recognizing that suitable regeneration conditions rarely exist prior to harvesting, a study was initiated in 2013 to evaluate the potential to manage regeneration post-harvest. Individual seedlings were permanently marked on sites throughout WV. Select oaks and black cherry seedlings in stands 1-5 years post-harvest were treated by controlling competing vegetation and/or fertilizing. Follow up measurements will be used to develop a basis for new guidelines that predict the success of seedlings that were subjected to management. This will ultimately provide managers new opportunities to assess the current regeneration potential, but also the potential with additional treatments.