MSU/MFF team awarded $10k SFI Conservation & Community Partnership Grant

TIMB(R): Timber Innovations for Mississippi Buildings Reimagined

February 11, 2016 – Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI Inc.)

Mississippi State University School of Architecture Assistant Professor, Jacob Gines, and the Mississippi Forestry Foundation (Tedrick Ratcliff, Exec. Dir.) were recently awarded a $10k SFI Conservation & Community Partnership grant for their proposal – TIMB(R): Timber Innovation for Mississippi Buildings Reimagined. This grant is coupled with $12k matching funds from forestry industry partner Plumb Creek, MFA, and others.

Official Press Release from SFI Inc.


WASHINGTON, DC and OTTAWA, ON — Grants were announced today for 19 projects to help further understanding of the conservation benefits of managed forests, and to strengthen the connection between communities and forests. The grants were made as part of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc.’s Conservation and Community Partnership Grants Program. These grants represent collaborations between SFI Inc., SFI Program Participants, and partner organizations throughout North America.

“Our conservation grants advance SFI’s long-standing commitment to forest research. These projects provide the science-based data that resource professionals need to improve forest management, and to assess the value of that work,” said Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI Inc. “Our community grants represent SFI’s unique role at the intersection of sustainable forestry, responsible procurement and thriving communities. SFI engages local communities through a variety of initiatives including youth outreach, forest education programs, and green building projects for low income families”

This year’s suite of SFI Conservation Grants helps focus on the connection between sustainable supply chains and the natural resource values we all care about, like water quality, biodiversity, wildlife habitat, species at risk, and forests with exceptional conservation value. These projects are a joint effort by the grantees, SFI Inc., and SFI Program Participants, who manage more than a quarter billion acres/100 million hectares of forest across North America and source fiber from millions more.

The Mississippi Forestry Foundation will facilitate a course where Mississippi State University architecture students design a state-of-the-art wood building that links sustainable forest management to green building practices.

TIMB(R) Project Details

The state of Mississippi contains approximately 19.8 million acres of forested land, which accounts for 64 percent of Mississippi’s total area. The value of timber harvesting in Mississippi has averaged in excess of $1 billion per year over the past 20 years and accounts for over 70,000 jobs in the state. The promoting of sustainable forest management, reforestation after harvest, and keeping forests productive have strategic long-term benefits for Mississippi. In addition, the continued development of manufacturing processes utilizing innovative technologies to generate competitive timber product solutions is of critical importance to the Mississippi Forestry Association/Foundation (MFA/MFF), Mississippi State University (MSU), and local/regional architects and builders. In an effort to promote the use of existing and emerging timber products, MFA/MFF along with the MSU School of Architecture and MSU Department of Sustainable Bioproducts has teamed up to establish an architecture design studio class focused on designing buildings with certified wood products. The buildings designed by the architecture students will be a demonstration of innovative solid-timber construction in the mid-rise commercial marketplace. The proposals could be used to promote any future construction of an office building for the Mississippi Forestry Association; which would serve as a hub for community and professional outreach as well as a showcase for building with certified wood. Three major activities will take place throughout 2016 to further develop and promote the proposed project.

Architecture Design Studio

A senior level architectural design studio (ARC 4536 Arch Design, 6 credit hours) at the MSU School of Architecture will work collaboratively with MFA/MFF and the MSU Department of Sustainable Bioproducts to plan and design a, first of its kind in the US South, wood based multi-story commercial office building. This process will include a site visit to Jackson, MS to analyze and document a proposed building site, a meeting with MFA board members and project steering committee, a workshop to determine the project’s “vision and goals”, and meet with forest product partners. Throughout the 5-month design and development process students will also engage other industry professionals, conduct related building construction research, and produce drawings, renderings, and models that communicate a series of design proposals. The design work conducted by the studio will be on public display for feedback and will be exhibited in venues throughout the state.

Professional and Community Workshop

Forest product professionals, timberland owners, architects, engineers, constructors, educators, researchers, manufacturers, and public officials will be invited to attend a Professional and Community Workshop dedicated to promoting timber use and innovative building applications. The workshop will include several “wood talks” (15 minute presentations), hands-on interdisciplinary group exercises/activities, and keynote talks from national/international industry professionals that are engaged in the design and construction of today’s most innovative and sustainable buildings.

TIMBR flier