Bruce and Barbara Zobel Endowment for International Forestry Studies

The Bruce and Barbara Zobel Endowment for International Forestry Studies was established in 1998 to instill an international perspective in forestry students and to enable them to obtain firsthand experience with forestry in diverse environments around the world. In the past, the Endowment has funded both supplemental scholarships for graduate students and mini-grants to undergraduate and graduate students for travel to other countries.

The endowment offers mini-grants to travel to other countries with an agenda that includes silviculture and production forestry. In 2019, we plan to award grants of up to $5000 each (for activities in calendar year 2019). The committee is also willing to award one large grant of up to $10,000 for up to two years (March 2018 – February 2020) for a proposal of truly exceptional quality. Funding in smaller amounts (up to $1500) can be requested to support participation in workshops, field tours, conferences or internships. We anticipate that requests for more than $1500 will support dissertation or thesis research on production forestry. Participation in study tours sponsored by NCSU is not eligible for funding. Applications from previous recipients of Zobel or Laarman grants will receive lower priority. A 2-3 page report, suitable for publication on the Department webpage, must be submitted within one month of completing the international activity.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis each spring until March 30 or until funds are exhausted. Students should apply for either a Zobel or a Laarman grant (not both, although the international committee reserves the right to fund grants from either source). Application should include:

  1. cover page with your name and contact information, title of your proposal, total amount requested, and name of your academic advisor;
  2. a one-page proposal describing the international activity and how it meets the criteria outlined above;
  3. a detailed budget, indicating other sources of funding already secured and other funding proposals submitted; and
  4. your unofficial transcript.

Please submit applications to Rachel Cook by email (Rachel_Cook@ncsu.edu), with cc to your adviser indicating that s/he supports your funding request.

About Dr. Zobel

Dr. Bruce Zobel, long-time Professor in the Department of Forestry and pioneer in the field of forest genetics, died February 5, 2011 at his home in Raleigh. He was 90. Dr. Zobel came to NC State in 1956 to direct the new Cooperative Tree Improvement Program, and he directed the Cooperative until 1977. Dr. Zobel served as the E.F. Conger Distinguished Professor of Forestry and received the O. Max Gardner award in 1972, the UNC Board of Governors’ highest faculty honor for outstanding contributions to the welfare of humankind. Dr. Zobel’s connection with NC State lasted 55 years. He remained active following his first “retirement” in 1979, founding the Camcore program in gene conservation and forest genetics. He continued to teach undergraduate and graduate classes and mentor graduate students until 2001.

Recognized as an authority on genetic improvement and variation of wood properties, Dr. Zobel earned international recognition in 1975 as the first forester to be awarded the TAPPI Gold Medal for outstanding contributions to the technical progress of the pulp and paper industry. As recently as 2004, the North Carolina State University Board of Trustees awarded the Alexander Quarles Holladay Medal for Excellence to Bruce in recognition of his outstanding career at NC State. The Holladay Medal is the highest honor bestowed on a faculty member by the trustees and the university. The list of awards Bruce has received goes on and on.

Dr. Zobel did consulting work around the world, authored six books and mentored more than 100 graduate students, many of whom hold leadership positions with universities, government and industry. In 1998, he and his wife created the Bruce and Barbara Zobel Endowment for International Forestry to allow students to gain firsthand experience with forestry production around the world.

Bruce was a teacher and mentor without equal. The true mark of excellence in teaching is the ability to teach thinking and independent reasoning; Bruce was unsurpassed in this capacity. Hundreds of students took his graduate and undergraduate courses in forest genetics and tree improvement and went on to be leaders in the field. Because of his influence, forestry and the productivity of forest plantations have been forever enhanced. For example, more than 75 percent of the nation’s tree planting occurs in the U.S. South. That effort requires planting more than one billion southern pine seedlings each year, of which more than 95 percent of the seedlings are genetically improved. Bruce was directly or indirectly responsible for initiating the majority of that effort.

Student Activities funded by the Bruce and Barbara Zobel Endowment

The Zobel Endowment funding for travel and research has touched the lives of many. Click on the reports below to read about the impacts that this fund has made around the world:

  • Stephanie Chizmar was able to travel to Amazonas, Peru in the summer of 2017 to work of her Master’s Thesis. During her stay, she met with landowners and study collaborators provided rich, first-hand information essential for estimating economic returns of farming systems within the region as well as visited with international scholars at National University of Toribio Rodríguez de Mendoza.
  • Vitor Aguiar was able to travel to a field site in Brazil to participate in the biomass sampling and ensure all the data were collected following the same methods applied in the sampling of similar sites in the U.S. The process took place in July 2017 and lasted for two weeks, and the information generated in this project will be used to perform direct comparison of the tissue types of the trees to determine whether treatment effects are shifting partitioning or merely changing growth rates, and to examine the environmental and resource limitations that drive growth.
  • Jose P. Jimenez was able to travel to two sites in Costa Rica to gather tree samples for his dissertation research in the summer of 2016, thanks to the funding he received from the Zobel Endowment. In collaboration with universities in Costa Rica, he then organized a workshop on genetic data analysis and breeding
    applications that took place the summer of 2017.
  • Lili Perreault was able to travel to the 28th European Dendroecological Fieldweek in the Vosges Mountains in France, on September 10th-17th, 2017. The fieldweek was organized by the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL), a European leader in Sustainale forestry Research, and the Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA).
  • Henrique F. Scolforo was able to present research on modeling the productions of short-rotation Eucalyptus species in the southeastern United States at the 24th Annual European Biomass Conference 2016 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Henrique was also able to visit the FCBA in Bordeaux, France to learn more about cold tolerant Eucalyptus species which may be useful in North Carolina.
  • Damien Singh was able to intern with a forest management and investment company, Granflor Agrflorestal, in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in 2016 to research international forest product markets. He was also able to observe harvesting and processing operations.
  • W. Andrew Whittier was able to travel to Ecuador to present preliminary results from his master’s research looking at the effects of different nutrient disorders on hydroponically grown teak seedlings. The results where presented at the 3rd World Teak Conference 2015 in Guayaquil, Ecuador.