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  • Monday, November 02, 2020
  • Stoking the Flame: Subsistence and Wood Energy in Rural Alaska

A new research paper takes an in-depth look at Tanana’s biomass heating program.

Stoking the Flame: Subsistence and Wood Energy in Rural Alaska,” by ACEP’s Amanda Byrd and UAA Institute of Social and Economic Research’s Jennifer Schmidt, was recently published in Energy Research & Social Science.

As remote energy costs increase, many rural Alaska communities like Tanana look to renewable energy options. While many communities have a mixed subsistence-cash economy, the relationship between renewable energy and subsistence had not been studied previously.

Using interviews conducted with 61 households in 2017 and Alaska Department of Fish and Game Division of Subsistence data, the paper shares how residents perceive the City of Tanana-led biomass energy program and its association with subsistence activities.

Interviews indicated that people who harvest wood for the biomass program were six times more likely to engage in subsistence. Subsistence harvests were nearly double in households that harvested wood for personal use versus those that did not.

For more information on the article and research, contact Amanda Byrd at


A wood raft used to transport firewood sits on the banks of the Yukon River near Tanana. Photo by Amanda Byrd.