Newsletter Stories

Monday, 01 April 2002
Duke University Forest Certified

Duke University, as part of an effort of the Southern Center for Sustainable Forests, a partnership between the North Carolina Division of Forest Resources, North Carolina State University and Duke, recently completed FSC certification of its forest through the FSC-accredited certifier SmartWood.

This marks the first FSC forest certification in the state. Duke Forest is a working laboratory for students and faculty in the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, which has a mission to “understand basic environmental processes and to protect and enhance the environment and its natural resources…" The 8,000 acres are home to nearly 1,000 species of plants, thirty species of mammals, ninety species of breeding birds, twenty-four species of amphibians, and thirty species of reptiles. All are well documented through numerous research projects carried out by students, faculty, and outside researchers.

Revenues from forest products sales are obtained from harvesting available areas using a multitude of silvicultural techniques that demonstrate various harvest methods which maintain healthy timber stands. Timber deeds, most often for southern yellow pine, usually go to local brokers or mills. Smaller sales are often conducted by small logging operations through direct contract. In addition to research and timber harvesting, Duke Forest is also managed for various forms of recreation. Significant development and population increase in the surrounding counties has created added challenges for management.

NC State has taken a leadership role in developing a collaborative course with Duke titled “Achieving Sustainable Forest Management in the Southeastern US." Graduates of these schools go on to positions all over the country, in government, forestry operations, conservation organizations, and research institutions. They will now graduate with firsthand knowledge of FSC-certified responsible forestry.

NC State and the NC Division of Forest Resources have recently finalized their certification assessments. All three assessments occurred during June of 2001. The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, through the Pinchot Institute for Conservation, funded the certifications. For more information on this certified forest, read SmartWood’s public summary online and visit