The Blackwood Division is critical to the Forest’s research mission, and Duke Forest Director Sara Childs said the purchase prevents a development that would have compromised ongoing, long-term research and curtailed plans for the installation of a major piece of equipment that will measure atmospheric carbon molecules and other greenhouse gases.
The Blackwood Division has long been an important national and international destination for studies related to climate change, atmospheric chemistry, ecosystem health, and more. The addition of these lands helps preserve the integrity and viability of ongoing and future research and enhances Duke’s commitment to natural resource protection, specifically of the Meadow Flats Natural Heritage Natural Area.
The Meadow Flats Natural Heritage Natural Area is one of four naturally significant areas—as determined by the NC Natural Heritage Program—found within the Duke Forest’s Blackwood Division. Childs said it represents one of the best examples of an upland depression swamp forest in the state, and it is home to a state species of special concern, the four-toed salamander.
Because of the research use, public access will not be permitted to this area.