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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.

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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.


RRtieConstantly changing market conditions often lead to some creative problem solving, and that was the case during 2014 as increasing prices and demand for low grade hardwoods added to the challenges for the railway tie industry. Two AHC clients took different approaches to solving their inventory issues.

One client chose to continue with domestic species, but began to look beyond their preferred species and their preferred regions for obtaining raw material. To assist that client, AHC performed some basic bending strength and spike withdrawal tests on green ties from sources outside the Appalachian region. Data will be compared to raw material from the client's preferred species and sources.

Another client went further in search of raw material, evaluating the potential for using plantation grown eucalyptus from Brazil, and natural grown Nothofagus species ("South American beeches") available from Chile and Argentina. AHC staffers searched the available literature for strength properties and performance data for these species when used as RR ties, and how they compared to familiar domestic hardwoods.

For more information, please contact Larry Osborn

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