The Hofmann Forest is an invaluable and irreplaceable teaching, research and demonstration asset. Five classes go there each year; nine use data and examples from the Hofmann; seven theses are being conducted; 10 to 20 students work there each year. About 20 long-term experiments are maintained on the forest, and most are ecologically unique opportunities that could occur only in the Coastal Plain and on such a large tract.
The strategic, substantive and symbolic values of the forest are unmatched. We own, manage, practice, make mistakes, learn, adapt, improve, generate income and practice. This is real world stuff – deep swamps, rare ecosystems, planted pine trees, big equipment, risks, blood, sweat, ticks, briars, bears, expenses, income, profits or losses. This is a tough environment, at a grand scale, and is unlike any other university educational forest.
Even if we had reasonable access to the forest after the sale, it would still be like we were visitors at a museum. We should retain the Hofmann and manage it for income, integrity, biodiversity, the community and NSCU’s reputation for sustainability and common sense. Let’s work together and do so.
Professor, N.C. State University