The mission of the North Carolina State University, Department of Forestry HARDWOOD RESEARCH COOPERATIVE (HRC) is to conduct and coordinate research and communicate results to support ecologically and economically sustainable hardwood forest management. This entails studying natural processes at the physiological, whole-tree, stand, and ecosystem level in natural and planted forests, evaluating environmental impacts associated with forestry operations, developing and optimizing silvicultural systems, conducting tree improvement activities, promoting and measuring forest productivity, enhancing end-product quality through silviculture and genetics, and researching the array of biotic and abiotic factors which influence forest growth such as soil fertility and sustainability, pest biology and management, landscape ecology, and water resources.
The HRC began its work in 1963, and since then has conducted numerous graduate student studies and installed on member lands many "Region-Wide" studies across 13 Southern states. The Region-Wide Study approach entails HRC adoption of a uniform experimental methodology, which is then used by the members to install, maintain and measure studies on their own properties. Data from Region-Wide studies is sent back to the HRC staff for collective analysis and dissemination to HRC members and the broader scientific/forestry community. The HRC staff and its activities at NC State are supported by contributions from each member organization, and the NC State Department of Forestry.
The HRC adopted a Program Strategy in 1999 - - printed in the HRC 2000 Annual Report. HRC Program Organization and Operating Procedures were updated in 1999.