Agroborealis is the research publication of the Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station and the School of Natural Resources and Extension. It describes research in the areas of agriculture, soils, forest sciences, natural resources, and economic and community resilience. The research magazine, which was founded in 1969, is available now in a new format. Easily downloadable research stories — at least two Agroborealis research highlights twice a year — will be published spring and fall.
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Please visit our archived page to download past copies of the Agroborealis magazine.
Spring 2017 Research Highlights
Growing Alaska Wheat
The quest for a spring wheat variety that grows well in Alaska has been ongoing for more 200 years.
Russians reportedly tried to grow wheat, with limited success, in coastal Alaska to provide bread flour for the Russian American Co. fur trading posts in the 1790s.
The hunt continued with the development of agricultural experiment stations in Sitka, in 1898, and then in Rampart (1900) and Palmer (1915). Researchers developed several spring wheat varieties, most recently ‘Ingal’ in 1981. Most of the early maturing wheat varieties developed in Alaska have had problems with “shattering,” where the grains fall off the plant before they are harvested.
University of Alaska Fairbanks agronomist Mingchu Zhang is continuing the research with Bob Van Veldhuizen, a research assistant in agronomy and soils. Zhang believes that with Alaska’s warming climate, more opportunities may exist to find or develop a wheat variety that grows well in Alaska.
Keeping forests sustainable
The Alaska Constitution requires a “sustained yield” on harvested state and private forest land. Additional regeneration efforts are required in Southcentral and the Interior if regeneration fails to meet the state’s standards within seven years.
How well has regeneration worked, and what can forest managers do to improve regeneration in the face of a changing climate? Emeritus UAF Professor Glenn Juday said that although the state based its regeneration standards on sound research and accepted forestry practices, no one had done thorough, on-the-ground research to determine how well regeneration has worked over time on harvested Interior forest lands.
As part of her doctoral research with the UAF School of Natural Resources and Extension, Miho Morimoto studied regeneration of state boreal forest lands on which white spruce had been harvested between 1975 and 2004. Her research looked at historical and current practices of reforestation as well as predictive models of change based on different climate scenarios.