Resources for Researchers

Project Assistance

Duke Forest staff members are available to assist researchers in both site establishment and management. Contact the Office of the Duke Forest to discuss your specific needs (call 919-613-8013 or email

  • Stand management: Contact the Forest office for stand manipulations such as thinning, prescribed burning, and forest stand establishment. Research field areas can be mowed, disked, or planted using in-house equipment.
  • Utility hookups: Depending on the site location, utilities such as electricity and phone lines can be made available.
  • Global positioning system (GPS): Plot/study areas can be located using our global positioning system (GPS) units and custom geographic information system (GIS) based maps can be constructed for research projects.

Available Data

The Office of the Duke Forest maintains a comprehensive collection of datasets, maps, and records that are available upon request.

Much of the Forest’s spatial data are also available in a GIS format which can be downloaded upon special request. Contact the Office of the Duke Forest to discuss your specific needs ( or 919-613-8013).

GIS Data

The Duke Forest GIS database includes the following shapefiles and raster images:

    • Property boundaries
    • Political boundaries/tax parcels
    • Forest covertypes (1931 to 2009)
    • Forest management activities (1931 to present)
    • Creeks/streams
    • Topography
    • Soils
    • Public and forest roads
    • Foot trails
    • Natural Heritage Areas
    • Long-term research plots
    • Research towers and other forest infrastructure
    • Aerial photos (true-color, color infrared, black-and-white)
    • Historical/archaeological sites


Available maps include information regarding topography, soil types, stand management operations (1931 to present), boundaries, and covertype maps.

Management Records

Detailed records of management activities dating back to 1931 are available in paper format.  Most management-related maps have also been converted to a GIS shapefile format.

Aerial Photographs

The aerial photo collection spans from 1937 through 1997.  Early photos are black & white, while more recent photos are available in color infrared.  Use of aerial photography in mapping is made simple via NC One Map, a public service providing comprehensive discovery and access to North Carolina’s geospatial data resources.  The Duke Forest database contains the following aerials: Available photos >

Species Lists

The Forest maintains several annotated lists of plant and animal species found within the Forest’s boundaries. Some of these may be found in our Forest Environment section (see plants and wildlife).

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