• Evaluating short rotation poplar biomass on an experimental land-fill cap near Anchorage, Alaska

      Byrd, Amanda G. (2013-05)
      Biomass energy has enjoyed a resurgence of scientific interest recently. Indeed, biomass may have the potential to replace diesel fuel as the primary source of heating in some parts of Alaska. In addition to forest biomass, short rotation crops have been considered as a sustainable source of woody biomass, and a potential sink for carbon sequestration. In this study, Populus balsamifera was evaluated as a short rotation crop for use as an energy source in Southcentral Alaska. Growth and yield rates were measured on an established P. balsamifera stand under a two-year rotation, yielding an annual biomass production of 5,530 kg/ha/yr. A fertilizer application study was conducted and demonstrated no effect on growth. Energy content of P. balsamifera measured 19,684 kJ/Kg, with a total energy yield of 217,715 MJ/ha after two years. Carbon sequestered below ground was estimated at least 5,338 kg/ha. Biomass may not be carbon neutral, but the carbon emitted from burning biomass is at least partially renewable. With use in high-efficiency boilers, there is potential for biomass to offset costs, and even save money by displacing diesel heating fuel.
    • Nutritional ecology of moose in an urban landscape

      Welch, Joseph H.; Barboza, Perry; Hundertmark, Kris; Spalinger, Don; Farley, Sean (2012-08)
      Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER), Alaska supports a large population of moose that lives in and around the urban and industrial development of Anchorage. This study evaluates the body condition of adult female moose on JBER and calculates the relative nutritional value of habitat for planning development and for mitigating the effects of development on this population. Body condition of moose on JBER was similar to that of other populations of moose in Alaska. Our nutritional model predicted that shrublands could support 11-81 times more moose than any other habitat on JBER. Activity patterns of JBER moose were similar to those published for non-urban moose, indicating habituation to human activity. Activity levels increased as moose moved through higher quality habitats. Sustained production of this heavily utilized population requires maintaining shrublands in undeveloped portions of the base where moose-vehicle collisions can be minimized.