Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 59.djvu/128

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118
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

wealth. There is no other contribution which they are capable of making that will compare, both directly and indirectly, with their forest growth.

Experience has abundantly shown that the natural selfishness of man leads him to excesses in the utilization of forest products. His tendency is not only to consume a product equal to the growth of his own time, but to make large inroads upon the future. He is profligate in the use of wood, often leaving all but the very best to decay upon the ground or to become fuel for forest fires.

The justification for our forest reservations should not, however, be based entirely upon their value in conserving timber. They have,

 

PSM V59 D128 Black mesa reservation overgrazing.png

Excessive, Unrestricted and Indiscriminate Grazing has invariably led to the Destruction of the Young Growth on the Forest Floor. Black Mesa Reservation, Arizona.

 

for the most part, been wisely selected to fulfil a threefold function, viz.: that of protection and luxury, as well as that represented in the direct value of forest products. Indeed, at the present time their direct value is in many instances of minor importance. On the other hand, as the reserved lands are almost entirely mountainous in character and located at the headwaters of many of our important streams, their value as conservators of moisture is very great, and it is to their maintenance in many instances that the farmers and ranchmen in the adjacent valleys must look for a perennial supply of water for their crops and stock.

In the selection of the reservations, consideration has also been given to their value from the standpoint of recreation and sport.