Research Institutes and Centers
Additional Information about Research at ESF
- Academic Departments
...for research projects based in individual ESF academic departments.
- Buildings & Facilities
A review of ESF's outstanding campus resources.
- Regional Campuses
Field stations, forest preserves, campuses, and more...
- Forest Service Northeastern Research Station (USDA)
Local Contact: D. Nowak; 315-448-3212
- Patuxent Wildlife Research Center (USDI/USGS)
Local Contact: B. Underwood; 315-470-6820, 315-470-6985
Research Institutes and Centers
Adirondack Ecological Center
The Adirondack Ecological Center (AEC) is the leader in ecological sciences in the Adirondack Mountains of northern New York and a major contributor to international, place-based research. The mission of the AEC is to understand the Adirondack ecosystem through research and education.
The AEC was established in 1971 by the State University of New York College of Environmental Forestry (ESF) in Syracuse. AEC is located on ESF's Huntington Wildlife Forest, a 15,000 acre (6,000 ha) field station in Newcomb, NY in the geographic center of the six-million-acre Adirondack Park.
The AEC and amenities at the Newcomb Campus attract researchers from throughout the world, providing a base of operation for research on the natural and cultural systems of the Northern Forest. AEC conducts and facilitates the science that underpins the management of Adirondack Park, one of the world's foremost experiments in conservation and sustainability.
Over eighty years of research have been incorporated into over 30 ongoing monitoring efforts. The Adirondack Long-term Ecological Monitoring Program (ALTEMP) currently monitors over 100 physical, chemical, and biological attributes to provide the long-term perspective necessary to detect changes and identify trends in the Adirondack ecosystem. More than 70 ongoing basic and applied research programs investigate the restoration of wildlife, development of new forestry, impact of acidic deposition on soils and lakes, social organization of deer, movement of soil ions, silvicultural regimes, Adirondack Park biodiversity, and much more. Nearly 200 graduate degrees stem from studies conducted at this site to date.
The Newcomb Campus is home to the Adirondack Interpretive Center, a public education facility. Also located on the Newcomb Campus is the Northern Forest Institute for Conservation Education and Leadership Training (NFI) with a focus on education, leadership and stewardship of both natural and designed environments.
Combining modern housing, a dining center and meeting rooms with a remote and spectacular wilderness setting, the Newcomb Campus provides a retreat-like atmosphere for educational programs and meetings. Programs can be conducted any time of year and can span days to weeks. Most research, short courses, and meetings are developed by faculty at ESF, but about 30 percent of program activities are conducted by scientists and professionals from other institutions and governmental agencies.
American Chestnut Research and Restoration Center
The mission of the American Chestnut Research and Restoration Center is to conduct basic and applied research that will lead to the development of a blight-resistant American chestnut tree (Castanea dentata). Our goal is to reintroduce a population of these resistant trees back into forest ecosystems of New York and then the rest of the eastern United States.
The project has evolved from basic research into a multifaceted endeavor which includes such areas as the identification of plant pathogen resistance-enhancing genes, the development of American chestnut tissue culture, field testing chestnut trees from tissue culture, public participation through the identification of rare remnant survival chestnut trees, collection and exchange of viable nuts and the establishment of large restoration plantations throughout New York State.
Ongoing activities include basic research on various single and pyramided resistance-enhancing gene designs, identification of genes associated with Asian chestnut resistance, chestnut tissue culture and gene transfer into American chestnut trees, determination of the genetic diversity in surviving remnant chestnut populations, greenhouse and field testing of putative resistant transgenic trees, the collection of rare chestnut germplasm, and the establishment of germplasm archives throughout New York.
The concepts, techniques, and gene cassettes we are developing for American chestnut will also have broad applicability in managing diseases affecting the productivity of other important tree species such as Dutch-elm disease and elm yellows (which devastated another American heritage tree, the American elm, Ulmus americana) and Septoria leaf spot and canker disease of hybrid poplar (which is becoming a key biomass tree species).
Analytical and Technical Services
Analytical and Technical Services (A&TS) was established at the College in the early 1970s. Its mission is to provide specialized, customer-focused, value-added support services contributing to the ESF missions of instruction, research and public service. Areas of support include instrumental analytical methods, scientific equipment and instrument repair/design/fabrication, and chemical/laboratory apparatus stockroom services. A&TS also maintains the flexibility to develop new services in response to evolving campus needs.
The A&TS team is a technologically diverse collection of skilled professionals who provide an array of centralized analytical and support services for the benefit of ESF and its research partners. A&TS has developed an extensive portfolio of chemical analysis methods and capabilities in computer and instrument repair, electronic design and chemical stockroom services to complement the academic activities of the ESF community. Provided services include nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometry, gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GS/MS), liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS), instrument and equipment repair and fabrication, inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES), chemical and laboratory apparatus stockroom, Syracuse University Scientific Glassblowing, and polymer rheology and mechanical properties.
Although the cost of our services is very modest, direct expenses such as replacement parts or specific materials for an individual project are recovered via monthly charges to our customers. Analytical instruments are available on an hourly charge basis or, in some cases, at a defined cost per sample. Items charged out of the Chemical and Apparatus Stockroom are billed monthly to customer-provided NYS or RF account numbers.
In addition to serving its ESF customer base, the strategic objectives of A&TS also include an entrepreneurial mission to enhance interaction with external customers including regional academic institutions (SU, UMU, SUNY campuses at Oswego, Cortland, and Binghamton, Cornell, Hamilton, MIT, Clarkson), governmental agencies and local industries (Bristol-Myers Squibb, Albany Molecular). In this fashion, A&TS positively contributes to the economic development of the CNY region.
Cellulose Research Institute
The Cellulose Research Institute's (CRI) mission is to stimulate development and dissemination of new fundamental knowledge about cellulose and related biopolymers, leading to their increased utilization.
The CRI was founded in 1957 in response to an initiative of the cellulose-utilizing chemical industries. CRI members have played major roles in areas such as the physical chemistry of polymers, lignin and wood chemistry, hemicellulose composition and determining the distribution in plant cell walls, and the molecular and supra-molecular structure of cellulose and related polymers. Several members have received the American Chemical Society's Anselme Payen Award for outstanding cellulose chemistry research.
Located in the state-of-the-art Edwin C. Jahn Laboratory, the CRI facilities, which include 600 MHz solid state NMR and laboratories for polymer molecular-weight characterization, thermal analysis and molecular modeling, offer researchers and collaborators an outstanding facility for long-range academic/industrial research and development.
Some areas of current interest include non-destructive methods of characterizing cellulosic process streams, preparation of cellulose nanocrystals for use in reinforced polymers, bioconversion of hemicellulose and cellulose into commercially useful biopolymers, and development of novel, environmentally benign cross-linking agents for cellulosics. The application of structural chemistry and modeling to understanding fundamental changes in cellulose such as mercerization continues as a CRI focus. Another activity is the offering of a distance-learning course in carbohydrate and polysaccharide chemistry (FCH 540) through the SUNY Learning Network and the development of short courses in aspects of cellulose chemistry.
Center for Cultural Landscape Preservation
The Center for Cultural Landscape Preservation was formed to coordinate, expand, and disseminate the work that the SUNY ESF Department of Landscape Architecture has undertaken in cultural landscape preservation over the past two decades, including historical research, landscape inventory and evaluation, and design strategies for landscape treatment. This work has been accomplished through partnerships with faculty from landscape-related disciplines at ESF and with public agencies and non-profit organizations, notably the National Park Service's Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
The Center provides students with a variety of opportunities to explore the field of cultural landscape preservation, gain practical experience, and fulfill academic requirements. Through the Center's partnerships, many students have received financial support in the form of tuition waivers and stipends. Related coursework in historic preservation and natural resources is available at Syracuse University and in other departments within ESF. Opportunities include cultural landscape seminars and studios, summer field schools at national parks, independent research, and preparation of reports that document a landscape's history and plan its future management. Several projects have involved interdisciplinary work to address relationships between natural and cultural resource management. While these opportunities focus on cultural landscape preservation, they also provide training relevant to other fields of landscape architectural practice.
Center for Native Peoples and the Environment
Our region is the home of two great intellectual traditions regarding stewardship of the earth: traditional ecological knowledge of indigenous people and scientific ecological knowledge. The mission of the SUNY-ESF Center for Native Peoples and the Environment is to create programs that draw on the wisdom of both indigenous and scientific knowledge in support of our shared goals of environmental sustainability.
In addition to serving as a bridge between traditional ecological knowledge and western scientific approaches, the Center incorporates indigenous perspectives and knowledge for the benefit of native students and work to educate mainstream students in a cross-cultural context.
The Center includes a significant outreach element focused on increasing educational opportunities for Native American students in environmental sciences, research collaborations, and partnerships with Native American communities to address local environmental problems.
Center for Community Design Research
The Center for Community Design Research (CCDR) is an outreach program within SUNY ESF Department of Landscape Architecture. Working in partnership with communities, elected officials, agencies, not-for-profit organizations, and other academic programs, the CCDR provides technical assistance, educational programs, and research projects that build community capacity to manage sustainable futures.
The CCDR activities provide educational and research opportunities for community residents, students, faculty, and staff, and promote the design and planning professions through community education, modeling new ways of working, and disseminating research findings.
Center for the Urban Environment
The Center for the Urban Environment integrates and highlights ecological issues in urban settings. The same principles of systems ecology apply in urban environments as in natural ones, but renewed interest exists in the United States and globally to integrate our understanding of ecological processes as influenced by humans in populated areas.
The Center is dedicated to:
- Investigating and developing novel ways to mitigate urban environmental problems;
- Educating and training the next generation of urban environmental scientists, engineers, and planners;
- Engaging urban residents in the study and improvement of the urban environment; and
- Working with communities, business, industries, and governmental and non-governmental organizations throughout New York State to achieve a more sustainable future.
Central New York Biotechnology Research Center
The biotechnology industry has doubled in the past decade and is widely considered the nation's most promising vehicle for economic growth. Central New York is rich in intellectual capital, ripe for economic revitalization, and proven ground for biotechnology ventures. Central New York is currently home to nearly 3,000 jobs in the biotechnology sector and is poised to expand its reach in this promising arena.
To commercialize their extensive research findings, two cornerstones of CNY's research community, SUNY Upstate Medical University (UMU) and SUNY-ESF, have partnered with the Metropolitan Development Association of Syracuse and Central New York and the Syracuse Veterans Administration Medical Center to create the CNY Biotechnology Research Center (CNY-BRC).
These entrepreneurial SUNY institutions, with a combined force of 300 research investigators, are cultivating private partnerships to nurture biotechnical discoveries with strong commercial potential. SUNY-ESF, with research excellence in natural sciences, and SUNY Upstate Medical University, with research excellence in medicines, share strong commonalities in the biotechnology realm. Both institutions utilize many of the same molecular biology procedures and biotechnology equipment.
With the creation of the CNY-BRC, SUNY Upstate and SUNY-ESF will have access to the high-caliber technology necessary to commercialize biotechnical products and services. A key component of the center will be its world-class core facilities for DNA, proteomic, bioinformatic and tissue-engineering technologies, processes that capitalize on new genomic discoveries and fuel the explosion of the biotechnology industry.
The CNY-BRC, to be built in Syracuse, will include laboratories, greenhouses and business incubation facilities, plus customized classrooms for training the workforce required by this complex industry. Strong economic viability is an essential factor for project incubation in the CNY-BRC. Biotechnology products and services to be selected for research and development must have demonstrated market potential. Also critical is compatibility with the research strengths of SUNY Upstate and SUNY-ESF.
Corporate partnership, a key indicator of market viability, is also influential. This confluence of opportunity, expertise and corporate investment dramatically enhances the CNY-BRC's potential for generating jobs and biotechnical ventures.
Council on Biotechnology in Forestry
Forest biotechnology is a growing field of study that has many potential benefits for humankind and our environment. In addition to the traditional uses of wood products, cellulose from trees is being used as a feedstock to the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, currently supplementing, but in the future possibly replacing fossil fuels. Biomass from trees will be increasingly utilized as a renewable energy source, as well as a carbon sink to help control global warming. Because many species of forest trees have extensive and perennial root systems, and transpire large amounts of water, they are excellent for use in phytoremediation (i.e. the cleanup of polluted soils). Lastly, trees are keystone species in many environments and are necessary for the maintenance of healthy forests and for restoration of damaged ecosystems. Research into their biology and into ways to use and enhance the unique qualities of tree species is essential to our future.
The mission of the council is to:
- perform cutting edge research that will enhance our understanding of forest tree biology and lead to improved productivity and biodiversity of our forested ecosystems;
- educate and train researchers at the undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral levels in the application of molecular biology, biochemistry, and genetic engineering techniques to the study of forest tree species and other organisms relevant to forest productivity, conservation, and ecology;
- enhance collaboration and communication among SUNY-ESF faculty, staff, and students engaged in forest biotechnology research, other academic and agency researchers, and stakeholders;
- promote the programs in forest biotechnology at SUNY-ESF across New York State, the nation, and internationally.
Council for Geospatial Modeling and Analysis
Instruction in geospatial modeling and analysis (GMA) seeks to produce informed, qualified, and professional scientists, managers, decision makers, problem solvers, and designers. A diverse collection of courses and experience provides flexible approaches to learning that ranges from broad knowledge to detailed expertise.
GMA uses an interdisciplinary, problem-solving approach that includes elements of mapping sciences, geography, mathematics, information management, and system analysis. Combined with ESF's world-renowned environmental expertise, GMA generates fundamental knowledge about the world and contributes to more comprehensive management of natural and cultural resources.
GMA research at ESF is developing new ways to collect and use geospatial data. Some of the benefits of using spatial information are the ability to visualize spatial relations, study temporal changes, freeze action in dynamic processes, study global, regional and local processes, and model problems in easily understandable ways. These benefits lead to better understanding and more effective management or decisions. The most common method for exploiting geospatial data uses a geographic information system (GIS). A GIS is an automated computer hardware and software system for collecting, storing, retrieving, manipulating, managing, analyzing, and displaying spatial data. GIS is a tool that has broad relevance to environmental science, management, and monitoring at many scales of analysis. The term geospatial modeling and analysis seeks to recognize this broader context and the integrating nature of spatial approaches.
Collecting, processing, and displaying spatial data has a long tradition at ESF through fieldwork, photointerpretation, photogrammetry, and remote sensing. Powered by an explosion of relatively easy-to-use geographic information systems, integration of spatial data is increasingly efficient and effective. With GIS and other technologies, more complex analysis can occur, increasing the applicability and accessibility of GMA. As a result, GMA is integrated into the Departments of Environmental Resources Engineering, Environmental and Forest Biology, Environmental Studies, Forest and Natural Resources Management, and Landscape Architecture.
Council on Hydrologic Systems Science
The Council on Hydrologic Systems Science conducts research and provides outreach on knowledge essential to the wise ecosystem use and sustained yield of appropriate quality water. The special focus of the Council is biogeohydrologic processes in natural forested systems, including relationships to water supply and waste-water treatment systems. This organized unit also deals with water dependent products of sustainable value in integrated water resource systems.
Having a strong interdisciplinary nature, this Council consists of faculty members from SUNY-ESF from the following academic units: Chemistry and Environmental Chemistry, Environmental and Forest Biology, Environmental Resources Engineering, Environmental Studies and Forest and Natural Resources Management. Through the Council, faculty members provide workshops, conferences, publications, consultation, and advising to municipalities, state and federal agencies, corporations, regional watershed advisory groups, technical committees, and professional organizations.
The Council and its members are committed to the development of programs related to water and watershed resources. The presence of the vast diversity of watersheds and instrumentation within the region provides a unique opportunity to understand and quantify the degradation and restoration of watershed resources and services.
ESF offers a variety of degree programs related to watershed resources and is continuously moving forward by adding new faculty and courses to watershed resources-related programs. ESF and its partner institutions have the capacity to further develop world-class faculty who offer interdisciplinary opportunities in the area of watershed resources.
Council on McIntire-Stennis Forestry Research
The council coordinates SUNY-ESF's research through the federal USDA McIntire-Stennis Cooperative Forestry Research Program, which provides knowledge essential to the efficient and effective use of the nation's forest resources. Timber production, forest land management, wood utilization, and the associated development of new products and distribution systems are the key elements of forestry research. This research deals with other products of the forest, including wildlife, recreation, water, range and environmental quality, whose production, management and distribution are an inextricable part of the long-term productivity and profitability of the integrated system of forest resources.
In addition, McIntire-Stennis research has the objective of helping to create and maintain a highly qualified cadre of forest scientists through their direct involvement in the research projects as part of their graduate education. These young men and women, educated in the sciences fundamental to forestry, will ultimately help to maintain the security and well-being of this country through service in private industry, in various levels of government, and in academic institutions as managers and scientists.
Empire State Paper Research Institute
The Empire State Paper Research Institute (ESPRI) is a leading international research organization in the pulp and paper industry. Established at ESF in 1960, this renowned organization is supported jointly by SUNY-ESF and the Empire State Paper Research Associates, a consortium of leading pulp and paper companies throughout the world.
A model of industry and academic synergy, ESPRI investigates fundamental aspects of pulping, papermaking, and paper physics, including chlorine-free bleaching, properties of papermaking materials, paper structural characteristics, and printability.
Empire State Paper Research Associates Inc.
The Empire State Paper Research Associates Inc. is a non-profit corporation created to foster fundamental, precompetitive research for the benefit of its member companies and other constituents. The association provides funding for ESPRI and helps steer research projects and communications between the faculty, staff and students of ESPRI and ESPRA members. It is one of the very few associations with international membership and scope fostered toward application of academic research in the forest products industry.
ESPRA partners with SUNY-ESF to jointly fund the research activities of ESPRI within the Department of Paper and Bioprocess Engineering (PBE). ESPRI is located in Walters Hall, the home of the PBE faculty on the SUNY-ESF campus. This building houses a modern pilot plant including two paper machines (PM1 & PM2 48" and 12" trim widths), pressurized 12" disk refiner, batch digesters, well-equipped pulping, bleaching, papermaking and paper testing laboratories. An environmental engineering laboratory and a complete deinking pilot facility are also available.
ESPRI has a worldwide reputation for leading advances in pulping chemistry and lignins, bleaching including non-chlorine based bleach processes, water drainage and fines retention, physics of paper consolidation, moisture effects and diffusion, physics of paper materials, fiber mechanics, paper formation and surface properties. Recently, ESPRI has pioneered the concept of the biorefinery and development of new forest-based materials to provide value prior to pulping of wood.
Great Lakes Research Consortium
The Great Lakes Research Consortium is an organization of 18 colleges and universities in New York, with nine affiliate campuses in Ontario, dedicated to collaborative research and education on the Great Lakes. We have nearly 400 member faculty, who are conducting research in every facet of Great Lakes science. The GLRC is governed by a series of bylaws (PDF) with the Board of Governors and Campus Representatives selected from each of the member campuses.
Our mission is to improve the understanding of the Great Lakes ecosystem, including the physical, biological, and chemical processes that shape it, as well as the social and political forces that affect human impact on the lakes and their associated economic resources. We accomplish this through research, instruction, and public service.
The Consortium's goals are to facilitate research and scholarship involving Great Lakes issues, the education of students on topics related to the Great Lakes ecosystem and the dissemination of information gathered through consortium-sponsored research and seminars. The GLRC administers cooperative grants programs, sponsors scholarly workshops and research task forces, coordinates fall and spring seminar series, maintains a database of New York Great Lakes scientific and scholarly work, and publishes a biannual newsletter, a research review and a bimonthly e-mail newsletter.
A student-faculty conference is held each year, providing a forum for students to display their research and affording the opportunity for scientists and scholars to come together to share their ideas and form new collaborations.
Institute for Sustainable Materials and Manufacturing (ISMM)
The Institute for Sustainable Materials and Manufacturing (ISMM) will study, develop and transfer the latest technologies in sustainable materials and manufacturing. Initially, the ISMM will include two focal areas: (1) ultra-violet (UV) light, electron beam (EB), and x-ray technologies in sustainable product development and manufacturing; and (2) development of sustainable coatings, adhesives and composites (CA&C’s). These complementary areas will be under the ISMM and its advisory board. The goals of the ISMM and its focal areas are to facilitate and support: (1) research and development; (2) education at the national, regional and graduate and undergraduate levels through formal classes, outreach, training sessions and webinars; and (3) a pilot-plant approach that will allow end-users and manufacturers to confidentially test new formulations and equipment.
International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE)
The mission of the International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE) is to inspire, encourage and enable the advancement of taxonomy and exploration of earth’s species. The IISE represents a convergence of cutting-edge computer science and engineering with the goals of descriptive taxonomy. The results will include a transformation of taxonomy, the rapid discovery of earth’s species, and open access to reliable information about them.
Joachim Center for Forest Industry, Economy and Environment
The Joachim Center focuses on improving the understanding and resolution of environmental problems facing the pulp and paper and related forest industries. The ultimate objective is maintaining a high-quality natural environment and a profitable, vigorous, and competitive industry. The goals of the Center are achieved through four program areas:
- Objective intellectual inquiry into the key challenge: contributing to a strong economy by harvesting, processing, and manufacturing timber, a renewable natural resource, into industrial and consumer products and the maintenance of a high-quality living environment.
- Development and promotion of a research agenda that focuses on finding effective solutions to the most critical environmental issues facing the forest-based industries.
- Advancement of a better understanding by industry of the environmental issues facing the forest products industry, government, environmental organizations, and the public, with the objective of finding beneficial solutions.
- Support for resident instruction, research, and public service at ESF to address the complex management and policy issues that have an impact on profits, employment, economic growth, and the natural environment.
Michael M. Szwarc Polymer Research Institute
The Michael M. Szwarc Polymer Research Institute is a consortium of associate members drawn from several organizations and institutions. It was established to promote the advancement of polymer science through education and research, coordinate diversified activities of polymer scientists and engineers in the Central New York area, and develop strong cooperative programs with polymer-based industries nationwide. Among its activities are sponsorship of new educational and research ventures, encouragement of individual and cooperative research programs, participation in academic programs leading to the B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees, and promotion of continuing education and new developmental opportunities for scientists. The Institute will engage in all other activities necessary to maintain itself as a center of excellence in polymer science and engineering.
Polymers are the building blocks of living systems and the early research on cellulose chemistry sparked a substantial growth in research towards synthetic polymers. This, in turn, resulted in the development of many Aplastics@ and other polymeric materials and also stimulated research into the structure and properties of more complex biological macromolecules such as proteins, enzymes, and DNA. The direct outcome of the State University of New York initiative to provide a program in polymer research and education, is that many graduates of this program now have leading faculty positions in academic institutions in the United States and abroad or hold important managerial positions in polymer-related industries.
The ever-expanding application of polymer products in recent years lead to the fact that about 70% of all chemistry and chemical engineering graduates will be engaged in polymer research and development in their careers in one way or another. Therefore, the need for polymer scientists and technologists (as is demonstrated by the abundance of job opportunities and high salaries in this field). The economic advantages of polymer-based industries have prompted, in the 80's, many universities to establish polymer science programs. The State University of New York (SUNY) recognized the achievements of the polymer program at ESF and established, in 1966, the State University Polymer Research Center under the directorship of the famed Prof. Michael Szwarc. Under his leadership, the program flourished in the later 60's and early 70's. Scientists from around the world engaged in the centers research activities, and the accomplishments of its staff have been documented in over 1500 scientific publications.
Presently, the Polymer Research Institute (PRI) is comprised of faculty members of SUNY-ESF, SUNY-Albany, Syracuse University, as well as members from industry. Members of the Chemistry Department at ESF administer the Institute, where an intensive curriculum of polymer science for undergraduate, as well as graduate students (M.S., Ph.D.) is provided. All the students in the polymer program participate actively in the research projects that are interwoven with the academic programs.
N.C. Brown Center for Ultrastructure Studies
The N.C. Brown Center for Ultrastructure Studies is the central microscopy facility at SUNY-ESF, located on the second floor of Baker Lab. The Center for Ultrastructure Studies provides students, faculty and research staff with access, assistance, and training in modern microscopy techniques. These techniques include light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, digital imaging, image analysis and a host of ancillary applications.
This facility was first established in 1957 with the installation of the first transmission electron microscope in central New York. The N.C. Brown Center for Ultrastructure Studies was formally established in 1972 when anETEC scanning electron microscope was installed in Baker Laboratory. The Center has always maintained a position of leadership and excellence in the areas of wood structure and microscopy, both nationally and internationally.
Many departments and programs within the College and neighboring universities are represented among the faculty, staff and students who utilize the Center for research. During an average year, 30 faculty, 35 graduate students, and numerous undergraduate students utilize the resources of the Center for their research. Outreach activity is also an important service provided by the Center. These services include providing micrographs for educational purposes, assistance to other universities, tours and demonstrations to interested technology groups, and microscopy assistance to private industry. The types of private industries for which we provided microscopy services include forest product industries, pulp and paper manufacturers, wood preservation companies, consulting engineering firms, and large pharmaceutical companies.
Northern Forest Institute
The Northern Forest Institute for Conservation Education and Leadership Training (NFI) is a working partnership between SUNY-ESF, Open Space Institute, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, NYS Adirondack Park Agency, Northern Forest Center, Adirondack Wild, Purdue University’s Department of Organizational Leadership and others.
Randolph G. Pack Environmental Institute
The Randolph G. Pack Environmental Institute was established at SUNY-ESF in November 1995, based on funding from a generous gift by Virginia Pack Townsend, in honor of her father, Randolph Greene Pack, philanthropist and international forestry policy expert. The Institute supports and encourages the research and public service activities of the Department of Environmental Studies in the broad area of international environmental, natural resources, and conservation policy. Since its founding, the Institute has engaged in a wide variety of activities, incorporating activities launched prior to its inauguration. A key feature has been the large number of faculty participating in activities of the Institute, including scholars from across ESF, Syracuse University, elsewhere in New York state, the USA, and internationally.
The purpose of the Randolph G. Pack Environmental Institute is to enhance the ability of the Department of Environmental Studies to create and disseminate knowledge about environmental concerns of high public interest. Reflecting and strengthening our graduate program themes, the Institute seeks to advance scholarly and popular knowledge of key contemporary issues related to environmental policy and regulation. It focuses on how democratic public decisions affecting the natural environment are made, concentrating on topics such as public participation, environmental equity, and sustainable development. The Institute promotes these interests through encouraging research and service activities in community, state, national, and international venues.
Renewable Materials Institute
The mission of the Renewable Materials Institute is to develop and promote the use of renewable materials, their associated technologies and process engineering. Core studies are on wood and wood-based materials conducted for a variety of sponsors on specific problems. Incorporated under the institute are the Salix Consortium and the Tropical Timber Information Center.
Roosevelt Wild Life Station
The Roosevelt Wild Life Station is a partnership of scientists, educators, and public and private sector leaders dedicated to protecting New York's biological heritage and enhancing New York's future through science-based conservation of natural resources. The mission is to help build long-term economic vitality on environmental quality. Activities focus on predicting the impacts of regional and global economic forces on New York's natural resources, communicating this information to the public, and facilitating public policy based on intelligent conservation of those resources.
- Research: The goal is to provide new scientific knowledge to find creative solutions to the challenges of developing economic opportunity that is built on a base of environmental quality.
- Education/Outreach: The goal is to convey what we learn to the public and foster an understanding and appreciation for conservation issues through short courses and conferences, professional outreach publications, nature interpretation classes for science teachers, and web-accessible conservation information.
- Policy: The goal is to equip policy makers with science-based tools to make management decisions that will foster economic development while enhancing environmental quality.
The Roosevelt Wild Life Station plays a key role in developing a class of broadly trained conservation professionals. It provides fellowships to graduate students to permit them to engage in cutting-edge research on biodiversity issues under the mentorship of an ESF faculty member, and it provides summer internships to undergraduate students to allow them to participate in conservation research under the guidance of a graduate student or faculty member.
President Theodore Roosevelt was an environmental visionary whose name the Roosevelt Wild Life Station honors and whose legacy of natural resource conservation it works to perpetuate.
The New York-based Salix Consortium project is a multipartner endeavor to facilitate the commercialization of willow biomass crops as a locally grown, renewable, lignocellulosic, woody feedstock for bioenergy, biofuels and bioproducts in the Northeast and Midwest regions of the United States. In the 1990s, a series of research, large-scale demonstration, and outreach and education efforts were initiated to facilitate the commercialization of willow biomass crops. This included formation of the Salix Consortium. Willows are well-suited for biomass cropping systems because they are easily propagated from cuttings, grow rapidly, coppice vigorously, currently have few pest problems, produce a uniform feedstock and have large potential for genetic improvement over a short time. The ongoing research and large-scale demonstration of willow biomass crops, supported by the USDoE, USDA and NYSERDA; developments in the extraction and use of xylan from willow biomass; and the active participation of Consortium partners are creating new opportunities to commercialize the system. A vibrant willow biomass commercial enterprise will bolster the region's farm and forestry sectors, increase energy independence, strengthen the protection of the environment, and mitigate waste and pollution problems.
SUNY Center for Applied Microbiology
The SUNY Center for Applied Microbiology was established July 1, 2004, through a generous donation by Dr. Chin Yang. The Center continues to function and provide funding for academic research in the broad arena of applied microbiology. The funds are managed through the ESF College Foundation, Inc. and provide support for graduate students, faculty and modest equipment needs.
The Center now consists of these faculty members: Dr. Christopher Whipps (Director), Dr. Susan Anagnost (Associate Director), Dr. James Nakas, Dr. Chun Wang (Professor Emeritus), and Dr. Christopher Nomura.
Current research is directed toward the revival and maintenance of fungal cultures, mostly basidiomycetes for the EPA-funded project under the direction of Drs. Anagnost, and Wang. Dr. Nakas continues his work on biodegradable thermoplastics. The purpose of this research is to achieve synthesis of these polymers,(polyhydroxyalkanoates, PHAs, totally from wood-based and other renewable feedstocks which include xylan and levulinic acid, both of which can be generated by thewood products industry. Glycerol, a byproduct of the biodiesel industry, is also considered a renewable feedstock for conversion to biofuels and bioproducts. Dr. Whipps continues to focus on microbial diseases of fish and Dr. Nomura has an active program on the metabolic and protein engineering ofbacteria producing biodegradable polymers as substitutes for polypropylene.
SUNY Center for Brownfield Studies
The State University of New York (SUNY) Center for Brownfield Studies is an educational initiative focused on environmental management and the redevelopment of brownfield properties. Brownfields are abandoned, idled, or underused properties where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination. The Center focuses on three major areas:
- academic programs to deliver a holistic curriculum that encompasses skills related to remediation and redevelopment;
- community support programs to become the "go to" place for training and advice on state and federal programs for regulation and funding, and technical assistance on remediation, and economic development;
- research and development of innovative processes and technologies for cost-effective, implementable, and protective solutions to protect public health and environment at brownfield sites.
The Center provides undergraduate and graduate students with varied expertise, disciplines, and skills necessary for returning negatively impacted properties to productive use. Both public and private sectors will teach and learn at the Center and contribute to the research that will ultimately enhance society's ability to evaluate, remediate, and redevelop brownfields.
SUNY Center for Sustainable and Renewable Energy
The SUNY chancellor designated ESF as the SUNY Center for Sustainable and Renewable Energy in 2002. This designation marks SUNY-ESF as the systemwide voice for the advancement of biofuels and energy-saving bioproducts, biomass, wind, solar, geothermal and other forms of sustainable and renewable energy.
The Center serves as a site for resources and programs for scientific research and draws on the expertise of all SUNY-ESF departments as well as the research talent throughout the SUNY system and the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems. SUNY-ESF's applied research agenda supports the SUNY Center's research from hydrogen storage to lignocellulosic ethanol to gasification to biomass feedstock development. The SUNY Center was an active party in the New York Public Service Commission New York Renewable Portfolio Standard development and hearing process.
Working in concert with the U.S. Departments of Energy and Agriculture, SUNY-ESF scientists have conducted more than $20 million in research to maximize the production of woody biomass from salix (willow), develop a sustainable biorefinery based on wood biomass, including the "first of kind" wood-to-ethanol plant, and have conducted both co-firing and gasification demonstration tests.
SUNY-ESF, working with the New York Power Authority and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, is conducting significant fuel cell and fuel cell membrane research and has installed and operates a 250 kW carbonate fuel cell. This project will test the process' ability to provide crucial, distributive, "green" power.
SUNY-ESF has developed a biodiesel production facility and biofuel refueling station on campus. In addition, ESF's longstanding and proven successful Salix Consortium continues to provide feedstock for the co-firing, gasification, and manufacture of levulinic acid for biofuels and bioproducts like specialty and commodity biochemicals, biopharmaceuticals and bio-polymers and plastics.
TRINITY is a institute governed by ESF, the Village of Minoa, SKD Environmental Systems LLC, and the SUNY-Research Foundation with a focus on basic and applied research across fields and disciplines.
The mission of TRINITY Institute is to develop, advance, adapt, implement and promote sustainable energy, water and wastewater treatment technologies and the processes for municipalities, agricultural and industrial applications with strong educational and public service components. All sustainable energy and water system research, development and demonstration activities, are carried out in TRINITY ESF Laboratories, site specific locations and at the Village of Minoa's Cleanwater Educational Research Facility.
Tropical Timber Information Center
The Tropical Timber Information Center (TTIC) provides identification of wood samples and information about general charac-teristics and technical properties of the world's timbers. These services are directed toward the needs of importers and users of tropical woods.
The center, which operates under the auspices of the Department of Construction Management and Wood Products Engineering, was established in 1975 in response to requests from industry for information on tropical woods. It is one of only two such sources of information in the western hemisphere. The center carries out special studies under contract. The technical base for operation of the TTIC is the Department's 35,000-specimen H.P. Brown Memorial Wood Collection of authenticated wood samples and extensive reference materials in its C.H. deZeeuw Memorial library. Both of these resources have been built up over the past 60 years by close cooperation with institutions throughout the world. Primary efforts at the center include responding to requests for services from users of tropical woods, expanding the collection and collecting inform-ation on properties and uses of the world's timbers.
The Upstate Freshwater Institute (UFI) and SUNY-ESF share a long and successful history of collaboration in studies of aquatic resources. This collaboration has included training of graduate students, co-authorship of scientific publications, service on the UFI Board of Directors by ESF scientists, adjunct appointments of UFI personnel at SUNY-ESF, and joint contributions as co-principal investigators on grants and contracts. The formation of a new ESF-wide institution, the UFI@ESF, will enable the scientists and staff of SUNY-ESF and UFI to work together even more efficiently to garner funding, laboratory and field resources from synergies between the two existing entities, and to reduce overlap in administrative tasks.
U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service Cooperative Research Unit
The Northern Research Station of the USDA Forest Service maintains a research center at the college. Since 1978, the Cooperative Research Unit has been conducting research on urban forest effects on environmental quality. The center's efforts provide increased oppor-tunities for faculty and students to collaborate with Forest Service scientists in studies of urban vegetation and environmental problems.
Wood Utilization Service
The Wood Utilization Service is the oldest public service and demonstration effort of the College of Environmental Science and Forestry. It was established in 1913 to carry out activities which facilitate and encourage the most efficient processing, manufacture, marketing and use of wood, the premier renewable, sustainable, economical and environmentally beneficial construction, building, and manufacturing material.
Services provided include advising, answering questions, consulting, testing, demonstrations and use of ESF's unique wood processing and testing facilities. Typical clients include the general public, business and industry, and various government agencies and professional associations. Issues and products can range from the manufacture of high quality hardwood lumber, millwork, furniture and flooring, to baseball bats, utility poles, and pressure treated lumber. Several examples of recent services provided include assisting with wood shrinkage and moisture issues in furniture production, IPPC ISPM compliant international shipping, storage of kiln-dried lumber, wood identification, improving production processes and yields, preservative treatments and wood performance, wood deterioration, best kiln drying of maple, oak, pine and other species, and use of locally manufactured lumber.
College faculty and Wood Utilization Service staff are also active in professional associations including such as:
- Empire State Forest Products Association
- New England Kiln Drying Association
- Forest Products Society
- Society of Wood Science and Technology
- American Wood Protection Association
- National Hardwood Lumber Association
- International Research Group on Wood Protection
- Northeast Retail Lumber Association
- Penn-York Lumbermens Club
The Wood Utilization Service also organizes and sponsors an annual Kiln Drying Workshop: Drying Quality Lumber for Profit.