The Office of the Duke Forest engages in a range of monitoring activities, from informal observations to structured data collection programs. Examples of common monitoring activities include visiting harvest sites to ensure compliance with guidelines; hiking trails to check for downed trees and unauthorized access; driving forest roads to assess their condition after storms; and recording instances of invasive plant species or trees affected by insects. Other data collected and processed on an annual basis include yield of forest products, environmental and social impacts of management operations, and budget revenues/expenses. Data related to forest growth rates and tree species composition are collected and processed on a ten-year cycle.

While formal records of monitoring associated with silvicultural work and budgets have always been maintained, a record keeping and summarization procedure for incidental observations was not established until the fall of 2010. This protocol involves staff recording opportunistic and incidental observations about many aspects of the Forest on monitoring sheets that are submitted monthly for review. The information from these sheets is compiled electronically, and unresolved issues are identified. Staff meets quarterly to discuss outstanding problems and create a plan to resolve them.

Details of standard monitoring practices, such as for timber harvests, prescribed burning, invasive species, and Registered Natural Heritage Areas are recorded within respective project records. A record of stakeholder comments and suggestions about all aspects of Duke Forest’s management and operations are also maintained and responded to as necessary.

The following list represents the types of monitoring information collected, maintained, and analyzed by the Duke Forest:

  • Roads
  • Recreation
  • Boundaries
  • Forest Management
  • Forest Health
  • Water Quality
  • Invasive species
  • Natural Heritage Sites
  • Research Sites
  • Stakeholder Input

A monitoring summary is available by request and may be obtained by contacting the office at 919-613-8013 or via email to dukeforest@duke.edu.