Congress mandates that researchers receiving federal funds must publish research results and distribute them to as wide an audience as possible. As one of the two founding research schools at UAF, the School of Natural Resources and Extension has generated plenty of research to report on over the last century. Topics cover a broad spectrum, from peony marketing to reindeer husbandry to the projected effects of climate change in the Arctic to the dynamics of forest soils in the taiga.
The AFES/SNRE Information Services Office provides the editing, publishing, and distribution activities to support the dissemination of faculty and student research. Publications are written for a general or scientific audience, ranging from the research magazine, Agroborealis; to annual variety trial circulars detailing the results of tests on herbs, vegetables, and flowers at the Fairbanks Experiment Farm; to the Senior Thesis Series, highlighting the research of undergraduate students.
AGROBOREALIS vol. 43 no. 1
In this issue:
Global climate change, food security, wildlife management and tourism, water resources and knowledge generation, and the potential for Alaskans in the peony market.
On the cover: Professor of Horticulture Meriam Karlsson in the controlled environment facility with “Sunny Smile” dwarf sunflowers, grown as part of a series of experiments to test crop response to light emitting diodes, or LEDs. Other crops tested with LEDs in 2012 included petunias and strawberries. AFES photo by Nancy Tarnai.
The 2012 annual report highlights research by AFES and SNRAS scientists, including research into biomass production potential of poplar as a short-rotation bio-energy crop, timber evaluation for birch, aspen, and white spruce, environmental controls over peat accumulation, biochar application in subarctic soils, gray molds on peonies, sustainable livestock production, estimating visits to Denali National Park, and wildlife genetics.
Sustainable Livestock Production in Alaska
The Global Food Security Index measures three core issues fundamental to food security: food affordability; food availability; food quality and safety. Alaska’s long food miles, high transportation costs, and heavy dependence on fossil fuels result in a highly vulnerable food system that is both expensive and of poor quality. Industrialized, factory farming is not an economically viable option in Alaska and has never gained traction. On the other hand, an agricultural model that is based on small and midsized, sustainable farms is exceptionally well suited to this state. We have the capacity and the land base to produce enough meat to feed many more Alaskans – but we have not done it! Why not? This simple question became the theme for a meeting and workshop, sponsored by USDA and hosted by the SNRAS at the Sheraton Anchorage Hotel in October 2011.
volume 43 number 1
This issue of Agroborealis looks at global climate change, food security, wildlife management and tourism, water resources and knowledge generation, and the potential for Alaskans in the peony market (both in the flower's demonstrated ornamental demand and its potential as a medicinal plant). Our professors went to Taiwan, China, and Namibia on their sabbaticals and returned with valuable insights on alleviating stormwater flooding and soil erosion, marketing and researching peonies, and developing and managing communal wildlife conservancies.
on the cover: Geography Awareness Week, hosted by the UA Geography Program, a department of SNRAS, included an event on Nov. 19 at the UAF Wood Center based on the theme “Geography: the Adventure in Your Community.” Pearl Creek Elementary School fourth grade teacher Mary Maisch brought a huge 3-D map of Alaska her students made. The detailed relief map featured rivers, mountain ranges, parks, forests, cities and villages.
This report covers two years' worth of research, highlighting the Agricultural Research Service's integrated pest and invasive plant management projects as well as the work of SNRAS. Highlights of AFES and SNRAS research include examination of environmental policy and law; effect of progesterone and melatonin on gestation length in reindeer; alternative agronomic crops; poplar as a short-rotation bio-energy crop; and organic amendments and fish byproducts for peonies.
Senior Thesis 2011-01
Assessing Food Security in Fairbanks, Alaska
Since the arrival of non-Native peoples to Alaska, the state has heavily relied on importing most food. Food security concerns have been raised related to supply disruptions, cost, and health. This thesis was designed as a pilot study and intended to provide information on local vegetable and fruit production in the Tanana Valley through a survey of commercial vegetable and fruit producers.
The survey provided insight into characteristics of producers, production, and marketing practices. Increasing crop production in the Tanana Valley is possible, but measuring current production may require a more complex measuring system that is more consistent with producer practices. Alaska faces many challenges if it is to transition from an un-integrated food system to a more comprehensive food system that generates value to local communities.
Annual Flowering Plant Evaluations
Trials at the botanical garden consist of new and standard cultivars suitable for small market gardens and home gardens in the Tanana Valley, Alaska. Each year more than 300 annual flowering plants are grown in field trials.
MP2010-02 Peony Research 2009
on the cover: experimental peony plot at the Georgeson Botanical Garden
Research has been conducted at the Georgeson Botanical Garden since 2001 on peony field cut flower production and distribution, from field selection and planting to post harvet handling and packaging for export. This publication is the latest in a series, and addresses three components of the production cycle: field planting dates, root quality and plant productivity, and post harvest handling of cut stems.
Growing Small Grains in Your Garden
With the recent release of 'Sunshine' hulless barley there has been an increase in interest about growing grains in a small-scale garden setting. Even though the scale is greatly reduced, a few square feet versus many acres, the same principles apply to growing a high yielding crop successfully. This publication reviews crop selection of species and varieties suitable to the north, seedbed preparation, soil fertility, tilling, pest control, harvesting, processing, and flour storage.