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The Auburn University College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment actively works to increase awareness of the many benefits of cross-laminated timber, known as CLT, and to promote its use for construction in the South. Additionally, the college is engaged with the College of Architecture, Design and Construction and the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering as part of Auburn University’s Mass Timber Collaborative, a multidisciplinary initiative created to advance research, education, and outreach in mass timber design and construction with a focus on the forestry, architecture, engineering, and construction industries in the Southeast.

Shown pictured is the first hotel in the United States constructed with CLT. It is located on the Redstone Arsenal military installation in Huntsville, Alabama.


The Forest Products Development Center in the College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment (CFWE) at Auburn University has a rich history of research, development, and intellectual property advancements in the areas of adhesives and lumber improvement for engineered wood products. Faculty members, Drs. Soledad Peresin, Brian Via, and Yucheng Peng, have undertaken the following key areas for cross-laminated timber, or CLT, research: adhesive performance, younger plantation wood quality issues, and nanotechnology for coatings and chemicals.


  • Research is being conducted in the CFWE on acetylated lignin nanoparticles as a UV photodegradation inhibitor and as moisture protection for CLT. An extensive review on lignin nanoparticles was recently published, which deals with the morphology of lignin nanoparticles and how controlling the process to extract the nanoparticles plays a role in its final properties. Researchers are testing several solvent-shifting methods to determine the optimum ways to find nanoparticles while also considering cost-effectiveness.
  • The CFWE faculty were asked to review the titled “A Specialized Data Crawler for Cross-Laminated Timber Information Resources” for the Forestry Products Society journal that identified the latest topics of crucial interest to the CLT industry in which years of research from across the web has been categorized. The following areas overlap ongoing research at Auburn: moisture control, fire retardancy, environmental performance, adhesives, and acoustics (a form of nondestructive testing).
  • In June 2019, the Alabama State Legislature approved a funding allocation of $890,125 to advance CLT research and outreach.
  • The CFWE has successfully developed a laboratory prototype system for measuring carbon content in trees and lumber that could be used for CLT (R2 = 0.95). Efforts are underway to develop a rugged/robust field method using near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy.
  • The CFWE developed cheap paper-based sensors to measure formaldehyde emissions in wood composites like CLT. Such technology is helpful if CLT is to be used in the indoor environment to keep inhabitants safe from emissions or to ensure safe emission levels before shipping.
  • The CFWE developed a novel nowcasting technique to predict today’s lumber price with daily/hourly Google trends search data (R2 =0.94). This technology would allow buyers to avoid sudden economic downturns in the short term (daily to monthly) or identify underlying relationships between price changes and societal behavior.
  • The CFWE Forest Products Development Center partnered with the Department of Civil Engineering in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering (lead) to apply for a $496,000 Forest Service Wood Innovation grant. This project will expand the mass timber market by developing and testing mass timber panels in composite timber-steel systems. Creating a wood-steel hybrid will assist engineers in the expansion of mass timber into the 6+ story market.
  • The CFWE recruited a post-doctoral researcher to test various adhesive systems for southern pine CLT. Small CLT prototypes have been made, and testing is ongoing. This study will help southern CLT manufacturers understand how competing adhesives will perform in service.
  • The CFWE recruited a PhD student to develop a biobased coating for CLT for UV photodegradation and moisture protection. This project allowed for a multi-institution collaboration that includes the Forest Products Lab at USDA, Madison, Oregon State, MSU, and Penn State.
  • The CFWE research team has partnered with the Wood Biobased Composite Center (WBC), a National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center, or I/UCRC. A proposal for the continuation of this project has been submitted.
  • The setup of an outdoor exposure rack for testing biobased coatings is planned to be installed at the CFWE/ACES Mary Olive Thomas Demonstration Forest. This will also serve as an educational and outreach component for the project.

Outreach & Extension

Increasing awareness about the benefits of cross-laminated timber, or CLT, is a top priority of the College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment (CFWE), as the interest in the use of mass timber for tall buildings has increased significantly in the Southern United States in recent years.


  • The CFWE hosted “The Future of Tall: Building High-Rise in the U.S” seminar and reception presented by Thomas Robinson, founder and principal of LEVER Architecture.
  • The CFWE hosted “Cross-laminated Timber Markets: A Panel Discussion” with Jeff Peters, Steve Lieberman, and Tom S. Chung.
  • A CLT-constructed environmental education building is being built at the Kreher Preserve & Nature Center, an outreach facility of the CFWE located in Auburn, Alabama.
  • To promote CLT collaboration between the two units, a graduate student fellowship was created between the CFWE and the College of Architecture, Design, and Construction, or CADC. Moving forward, this fellowship will focus on creating and implementing CLT outreach and Extension educational material.
  • As part of the Alabama Legislature funds awarded through Auburn University, CLT outreach and education programs and presentations have been delivered routinely since 2020.
  • The Alabama Extension, or ACES, Forestry, Wildlife, and Natural Resources team, or FWNR, has published several articles on CLT production in Alabama. These items were distributed online, via the FWNR newsletter, and in the Alabama Farmers COOP Magazine.
  • The CFWE and ACES have partnered with Oregon State University to gain support from the US Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Education and Literacy Initiative. The five-year program will offer a 12-week research, extension, and intern experience for one of our most qualified undergraduate students.
  • Auburn hosted an industry panel discussion to explore the status and future of the cross-laminated timber industry. Guest panelists included industry representatives Derek Ratchford, CEO of SmartLam, Dothan, Alabama; Jason Reynolds, senior director of WoodWorks Wood Products Council; and Mike Kensler, director of Auburn University’s Office of Sustainability.
  • The CFWE, in partnership with the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering and the College of Architecture, Design and Construction, hosted the first CLT conference in the Southern U.S. on April 27-29, 2022, in Auburn, Alabama. The conference is the premier CLT event in the region and will be repeated October 7-9, 2024.

CLT Conference News

Auburn University is pleased to announce that the premier CLT conference, “The Sustainable Future of CLT in the South: Grow, Design, Build,” will again be held in Auburn, Ala., October 7 – 9, 2024.

Renowned experts in forestry, building sciences, engineering, and architecture and design will address the latest CLT research, trends, and developments in the South. Session tracks will offer information to address the needs of multiple audiences, including designers, builders, contractors, academia, landowners, producers, and suppliers. Look for more information on keynote speakers, sessions, and registration as they become available at

Review sponsorship and exhibit opportunities online or contact Dr. Adam Maggard at 334-844-2401 or email at Conference registration is now available online, and early bird discounts will apply until August 31. Accommodations are available at The Hotel at Auburn University & Dixon Conference Center and can be booked online at

The conference is presented in partnership with the Auburn University College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment, the College of Architecture, Design, and Construction, and the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering.

Dean Janaki Alavalapati

Janaki Alavalapati

Emmett F. Thompson Dean, Professor of Forestry Economics

Office: 3301
Adam Maggard

Adam Maggard

Extension Specialist & Harry E. Murphy Associate Professor, Forest Systems Management

Office: 3325
Maria Soledad Peresin

Maria Soledad Peresin

Associate Professor, Forest Biomaterials; Adjunct Professor, Chemical Engineering

Office: FPL 116
Brian Via

Brian Via

Regions Professor, Forest Products

Office: FPL123
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