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To be the global leader in advanced sustainable forest and natural resource management solutions that enhance productivity and value.


Industry Research Programs in Forestry Center (IRPF) increases value to landowners and citizens through continuous genetic improvement of forest trees; creates innovative solutions to enhance forest productivity and value through sustainable management of site resources; leads in conservation and domestication of forest genetic resources for sustainable economic, ecological, and social benefits for present and future generations.


  • Conduct multidisciplinary research to facilitate optimal biological and economic productivity of local and global forests;
  • Provide a pool of talent and resources from industry, University, and governmental partners to address challenges for both local and global forests;
  • Develop and foster forest science research scholarship;
  • Attract and train outstanding students.

History and Organization

The Center for Industry Research Programs in Forestry (IRPF) was established as an administrative umbrella to house several University/Industry/Agency Cooperatives conducting research in the areas of Tree Improvement (since 1956), Hardwood Silviculture (since 1965, no longer active), Forest Productivity (originally Forest Fertilization, then Forest Nutrition) (since 1969), and Gene Preservation of Tropical Pines (Camcore) (since 1980). These cooperatives also attract high-quality faculty who provide basic and applied research leadership for contributing members.    It is one of the oldest and still active UNC-GA Center at NC State University, and one of the University’s largest industry membership consortia.  Currently, fifteen faculty members are affiliated with the Center, and IRPF Cooperatives support a full-time staff of 26.

The Center has close to 100 industry and agency members representing 21 countries and 5 continents.

Cooperative Tree Improvement Program

Located on the North Carolina State University campus in Raleigh, NC, the mission of the Cooperative is to economically increase forest productivity through the genetic manipulation of loblolly pine populations. The North Carolina State University Cooperative Tree Improvement Program (NCSUCTIP) began in 1956 when a group of 11 charter industry members agreed to support research in forest genetics, selection, breeding and testing, and technology transfer for an initial five-year period. This group of visionary industry leaders recognized the need to invest in the long-range regeneration of the forests that were being harvested in the Southeast. Almost 60 years later, the Cooperative is still going strong, providing vital research to the forest industry, forest landowners, and government agencies. Enhanced productivity through breeding, selecting, and deploying superior loblolly pine families is a major goal of the Cooperative.

Brief overviews of our past and current contributions to forestry are:

  • Development of innovative, efficient, and cost effective breeding strategies for forest trees
  • Integrating tree improvement into silvicultural systems
  • Development of optimal selection strategies
  • Understanding the genetic and environmental control of growth and wood properties
  • Increased seed production efficiency from seed orchards
  • Understanding the genetic control and variation in disease resistance and developing deployment strategies
  • Integrating biotechnologies and genomics with conventional breeding strategies to enhance forest productivity

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Forest Productivity Cooperative

The Forest Productivity Cooperative (FPC) is an international partnership committed to creating innovative solutions to enhance forest productivity and value through the sustainable management of site resources. The partnership is led by forestry faculty at North Carolina State University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and the Universidad de Concepción. Team members have expertise in silviculture, forest nutrition, ecophysiology, soils, plant community ecology, growth and yield modeling, process-based models, remote sensing, spatial analysis and geographic information systems (GIS,) and statistics. Partners include the three host universities, forest industry, timber management investment organizations, forestry consultants, governmental agencies, private landowners, and others interested in intensive plantation management. Members own or manage over 24 million acres (10 million hectares) of pine and broadleaved plantations in the southeast US and Latin America, making the FPC one of the world’s largest cooperative silviculture research and education programs.

Our approach includes a mix of applied research, fundamental research, graduate and undergraduate education, technology transfer, continuing education, and consulting. This mix provides a productive environment for addressing questions and immediately incorporating research results into silvicultural practices for cost-effective and environmentally sustainable plantation management.

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Camcore is a non-profit, international tree breeding organization formed by private industry in 1980 and headquartered at North Carolina State University.    It primarily serves the private forestry sector to ensure that it has access to a broad genetic base of the best-adapted and productive species for use in plantation forestry programs in the tropics, subtropics and subtemperate regions. It now has 29 active industry members in 11 countries in the Americas and Africa.

Camcore members include a wide range of forestry companies, from well-established companies with long histories and strong research programs, to brand new organizations with greenfield operations in Latin America and Africa.  These companies also produce a wide array of final products: kraft pulp, dissolving pulp for chemical and industrial use, business paper, sack paper, tissue paper, sawtimber, plywood, utility poles, etc., for use in their domestic markets as well as export.  Collectively, Camcore members plant 180,000 ha of eucalypt and pine plantations each year, with growth rates ranging from 20 to 70 m3/ha/year.

The program works internationally with four tree genera: Pines, Eucalypts, Gmelina and Teak, and with several threatened coniferous species native to the southern US. Camcore differs from other domestic and international tree improvement efforts in that one of its major emphases, in addition to breeding, is the establishment of ex situ conservation plantings of tree species and populations. In addition to the active faculty members, Camcore has a staff of 10 professionals who are University employees.

The staff organizes and guides members in projects in four broad working groups and associated activities listed below:

Tree BreedingCollecting seeds, establishing and analysing genetic trials, selecting superior trees, establishing seed orchards, and making controlled and hybrid crosses.
ConservationLocating and evaluating conservation status of natural populations, assessing genetic diversity of species, establishing ex situ conservation plantings.
Species CharacterizationScreening disease, drought and frost resistance, evaluating wood quality, determining species nutrient baselines, researching reproductive physiology.
Enabling TechnologiesWe test various technologies for use in our projects.  Some current projects include: adapting NIR (near infrared) techniques to tissue analysis, utilizing molecular markers (SNPS, microsatellites) for genetic diversity studies, using electrolyte leakage to measure frost resistance, influencing flowering with hormone treatments.

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