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Home North Carolina Onslow County City of Jacksonville Historical Markers Hofmann Forest

Hofmann Forest

US 17, Jacksonville, NC, USA

Latitude & Longitude: 34° 43' 54.7608", -77° 25' 18.0732"
  North Carolina State Historical Marker
    North Carolina State
Historical Marker
    Marker Text:
"Named for J. V. Hofmann. Research forest of 80,000 acres in Jones & Onslow counties. Acquired, 1934, for use by North Carolina State University."
     Hofmann Forest is located in the coastal region of North Carolina and is a major project of the Forestry School of North Carolina State University, encompassing nearly 80,000 contiguous acres. Dr. Julius V. Hofmann arrived in Raleigh to establish the program in 1929 after working in a similar project in Pennsylvania. Hofmann and the North Carolina Forestry Foundation purchased the property in Onslow County to serve as a field laboratory for forest studies. He chose the site since it reflected a wide mix of the features of eastern North Carolina geography. The forest is situated on what was historically referred to as the White Oak Pocosin. “Pocosin” is an Algonquin Indian word for swamp on a hill and aptly describes the character of this wetland forest.

     Considered a pioneer in forestry sciences, Hofmann developed the forest to be self-sufficient in addition to offering its flora and fauna for study. Periodic timber sales and sales of hunting permits allowed the forest to be economically viable. He established an on-site laboratory and semester-long studies were held onsite. Dormitories, classrooms and a dining hall were constructed to serve the program. Early research concentrated almost exclusively on hydrology and the growth of pines. Many early publications and theses concern interrelationships among water table levels, artificial drainage, and tree height growth.

     Since Hofmann’s pioneering work, the work of the NCSU Forestry School has expanded to include several other study forests. Hofmann Forest continues to support academic programs through graduate fellowships, basic and applied research, and outdoor-classroom instruction. Recent research has studied a wide range of topics including fire ecology, wildlife, seed quality of pond pine, survival and growth of the Atlantic white cedar, forest hydrology, bio-diversity, tree spacing, cattle grazing, forest economics, and water quality.

     The Hofmann Forest, which now belongs to the NCSU Endowment Fund, was, until 1986, managed under a long-term lease to a timber company, most recently Champion International. In 1986, Champion terminated its lease and responsibility and the Forest reverted to the North Carolina Forestry Foundation. The Hofmann Forest is now managed by the Foundation, through its Land Management Committee, with proceeds annually dedicated to support of the Forestry School.

North Carolina State University Forestry School website:
North Carolina State University Pulp and Paper Foundation:
William D. Miller, The Hofmann Forest: A History of the North Carolina Forestry Foundation (1970)
J.V. Hofmann, “Classroom with Roots,” American Forests (1952)
Hofmann Forest Historical Marker Location Map, Jacksonville, North Carolina