1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Forests and Forestry
FORESTS AND FORESTRY. Although most people know what a forest (Lat. foris, “out of doors”) is, a definition of it which suits all cases is by no means easy to give. Manwood, in his treatise of the Lawes of the Forest (1598), defines a forest as “a certain territory of woody grounds, fruitful pastures, privileged for wild beasts and fowls of forest, chase and warren, to rest and abide in, in the safe protection of the king, for his princely delight and pleasure.” This primitive definition has, in modern times, when the economic aspect of forests came more into the foreground, given place to others, so that forest may, in a general way, now be described as “an area which is for the most part set aside for the production of timber and other forest produce, or which is expected to exercise certain climatic effects, or to protect the locality against injurious influences.”
As far as conclusions can now be drawn, it is probable that the greater part of the dry land of the earth was, at some time, covered with forest, which consisted of a variety of trees and shrubs grouped according to climate, soil and configuration of the several localities. When the old trees reached their limit of life, they disappeared, and younger trees took their place. The conditions for an uninterrupted regeneration of the forest were favourable, and the result was vigorous production by the creative powers of soil and climate. Then came man, and by degrees interfered, until in most countries of the earth the area under forest has been considerably reduced. The first decided interference was probably due to the establishment of domestic animals; men burnt the forest to obtain pasture for their flocks. Subsequently similar measures on an ever-increasing scale were employed to prepare the land for agricultural purposes. More recently enormous areas of forests were destroyed by reckless cutting and subsequent firing in the extraction of timber for economic purposes.
It will readily be understood that the distribution and character of the now remaining forests must differ enormously (see Plants: Distribution). Large portions of the earth are still covered with dense masses of tall trees, while others contain low scrub or grass land, or are desert. As a general rule, natural forests consist of a number of different species intermixed; but in some cases certain species, called gregarious, have succeeded in obtaining the upper hand, thus forming more or less pure forests of one species only. The number of species differs very much. In many tropical forests hundreds of species may be found on a comparatively small area, in other cases the number is limited. Burma has several thousand species of trees and shrubs, Sind has only ten species of trees. Central Europe has about forty species, and the greater part of northern Russia, Sweden and Norway contains forests consisting of about half a dozen species. Elevation above the sea acts similarly to rising latitude, but the effect is much more rapidly produced. Generally speaking, it may be said that the Tropics and adjoining parts of the earth, wherever the climate is not modified by considerable elevation, contain broad-leaved species, palms, bamboos, &c. Here most of the best and hardest timbers are found, such as teak, mahogany and ebony. The northern countries are rich in conifers. Taking a section from Central Africa to North Europe, it will be found that south and north of the equator there is a large belt of dense hardwood forest; then comes the Sahara, then the coast of the Mediterranean with forests of cork oak; then Italy with oak, olive, chestnut, gradually giving place to ash, sycamore, beech, birch and certain species of pine; in Switzerland and Germany silver fir and spruce gain ground. Silver fir disappears in central Germany, and the countries around the Baltic contain forests consisting chiefly of Scotch pine, spruce and birch, to which, in Siberia, larch must be added, while the lower parts of the ground are stocked with hornbeam, willow, alder and poplar. In North America the distribution is as follows: Tropical vegetation is found in south Florida, while in north Florida it changes into a subtropical vegetation consisting of evergreen broad-leaved species with pines on sandy soils. On going north in the Atlantic region, the forest becomes temperate, containing deciduous broad-leaved trees and pines, until Canada is reached, where larches, spruces and firs occupy the ground. Around the great lakes on sandy soils the broad-leaved forest gives way to pines. On proceeding west from the Atlantic region the forest changes into a shrubby vegetation, and this into the prairies. Farther west, towards the Pacific coast, extensive forests are found consisting, according to latitude and elevation above the sea, of pines, larches, fir, Thujas and Tsugas. In Japan a tropical vegetation is found in the south, comprising palms, figs, ebony, mangrove and others. This is followed on proceeding north by subtropical forests containing evergreen oaks, Podocarpus, tree-ferns, and, at higher elevations, Cryptomeria and Chamaecyparis. Then follow deciduous broad-leaved forests, and finally firs, spruces and larches. In India the character of the forests is governed chiefly by rainfall and elevation. Where the former is heavy evergreen forests of Guttiferae, Dipterocarpeae, Leguminosae, Euphorbias, figs, palms, ferns, bamboos and india-rubber trees are found. Under a less copious rainfall deciduous forests appear, containing teak and sal (Shorea robusta) and a great variety of other valuable trees. Under a still smaller rainfall the vegetation becomes sparse, containing acacias, Dalbergia sissoo and Tamarix. Where the rainfall is very light or nil, desert appears. In the Himalayas, subtropical to arctic conditions are found, the forests containing, according to elevation, pines, firs, deodars, oaks, chestnuts, magnolias, laurels, rhododendrons and bamboos. Australia, again, has its own particular flora of eucalypts, of which some two hundred species have been distinguished, as well as wattles. Some of the eucalypts attain an enormous height.
Utility of Forests.—In the economy of man and of nature forests are of direct and indirect value, the former chiefly through the produce which they yield, and the latter through the influence which they exercise upon climate, the regulation of moisture, the stability of the soil, the healthiness and beauty of a country and allied subjects. The indirect utility will be dealt with first. A piece of land bare of vegetation is, throughout the year, exposed to the full effect of sun and air currents, and the climatic conditions which are produced by these agencies. If, on the other hand, a piece of land is covered with a growth of plants, and especially with a dense crop of forest vegetation, it enjoys the benefit of certain agencies which modify the effect of sun and wind on the soil and the adjoining layers of air. These modifying agencies are as follows: (1) The crowns of the trees intercept the rays of the sun and the falling rain; they obstruct the movement of air currents, and reduce radiation at night. (2) The leaves, flowers and fruits, augmented by certain plants which grow in the shade of the trees, form a layer of mould, or humus, which protects the soil against rapid changes of temperature, and greatly influences the movement of water in it. (3) The roots of the trees penetrate into the soil in all directions, and bind it together. The effects of these agencies have been observed from ancient times, and widely differing views have been taken of them. Of late years, however, more careful observations have been made at so-called parallel stations, that is to say, one station in the middle of a forest, and another outside at some distance from its edge, but otherwise exposed to the same general conditions. In this way, the following results have been obtained: (1) Forests reduce the temperature of the air and soil to a moderate extent, and render the climate more equable. (2) They increase the relative humidity of the air, and reduce evaporation. (3) They tend to increase the precipitation of moisture. As regards the actual rainfall, their effect in low lands is nil or very small; in hilly countries it is probably greater, but definite results have not yet been obtained owing to the difficulty of separating the effect of forests from that of other factors. (4) They help to regulate the water supply, produce a more sustained feeding of springs, tend to reduce violent floods, and render the flow of water in rivers more continuous. (5) They assist in preventing denudation, erosion, landslips, avalanches, the silting up of rivers and low lands and the formation of sand dunes. (6) They reduce the velocity of air-currents, protect adjoining fields against cold or dry winds, and afford shelter to cattle, game and useful birds. (7) They may, under certain conditions, improve the healthiness of a country, and help in its defence. (8) They increase the beauty of a country, and produce a healthy aesthetic influence upon the people.
The direct utility of forests is chiefly due to their produce, the capital which they represent, and the work which they provide. The principal produce of forests consists of timber and firewood. Both are necessaries for the daily life of the people. Apart from a limited number of broad-leaved species, the conifers have become the most important timber trees in the economy of man. They are found in greatest quantities in the countries around the Baltic and in North America. In modern times iron and other materials have, to a considerable extent, replaced timber, while coal, lignite, and peat compete with firewood; nevertheless wood is still indispensable, and likely to remain so. This is borne out by the statistics of the most civilized nations. Whereas the population of Great Britain and Ireland, during the period 1880-1900, increased by about 20%, the imports of timber, during the same period, increased by 45%; in other words, every head of population in 1900 used more timber than twenty years earlier. Germany produced in 1880 about as much timber as she required; in 1899 she imported 4,600,000 tons, valued at £14,000,000, and her imports are rapidly increasing, although the yield capacity of her own forests is much higher now than it was formerly. Wood is now used for many purposes which formerly were not thought of. The manufacture of the wood pulp annually imported into Britain consumes at least 2,000,000 tons of timber. A fabric closely resembling silk is now made of spruce wood. The variety of other, or minor, produce yielded by forests is very great, and much of it is essential for the well-being of the people and for various industries. The yield of fodder is of the utmost importance in countries subject to periodic droughts; in many places field crops could not be grown successfully without the leaf-mould and brushwood taken from the forests. As regards industries, attention need only be drawn to such articles as commercial fibre, tanning materials, dye-stuffs, lac, turpentine, resin, rubber, gutta-percha, &c. Great Britain and Ireland alone import every year such materials to the value of £12,000,000, half of this being represented by rubber.
The capital employed in forests consists chiefly of the value of the soil and growing stock of timber. The latter is, ordinarily, of much greater value than the former wherever a sustained annual yield of timber is expected from a forest. In the case of a Scotch pine forest, for instance, the value of the growing stock is, under the above-mentioned condition, from three to five times that of the soil. The rate of interest yielded by capital invested in forests differs, of course, considerably according to circumstances, but on the whole it may, under proper management, be placed equal to that yielded by agricultural land; it is lower than the agricultural rate on the better classes of land, but higher on the inferior classes. Hence the latter are specially indicated for the forest industry, and the former for the production of agricultural crops. Forests require labour in a great variety of ways, such as (1) general administration, formation, tending and harvesting; (2) transport of produce; and (3) industries which depend on forests for their prime material. The labour indicated under the first head differs considerably according to circumstances, but its amount is smaller than that required if the land is used for agriculture. Hence forests provide additional labour only if they are established on surplus lands. Owing to the bulky nature of forest produce its transport forms a business of considerable magnitude, the amount of labour being perhaps equal to half that employed under the first head. The greatest amount of labour is, however, required in the working up of the raw material yielded by forests. In this respect attention may be drawn to the chair industry in and around High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, where more than 20,000 workmen are employed in converting the beech, grown on the adjoining chalk hills, into chairs and tools of many patterns. Complete statistics for Great Britain are not available under this head, but it may be mentioned that in Germany the people employed in the forests amount to 2.3% of the total population; those employed on transport of forest produce 1.1%; labourers employed on the various wood industries, 8.6%; or a total of 12%. An important feature of the work connected with forests and their produce is that a great part of it can be made to fit in with the requirements of agriculture; that is to say, it can be done at seasons when field crops do not require attention. Thus the rural labourers or small farmers can earn some money at times when they have nothing else to do, and when they would probably sit idle if no forest work were obtainable.
Whether, or how far, the utility of forests is brought out in a particular country depends on its special conditions, such as (1) the position of a country, its communications, and the control which it exercises over other countries, such as colonies; (2) the quantity and quality of substitutes for forest produce available in the country; (3) the value of land and labour, and the returns which land yields if used for other purposes; (4) the density of population; (5) the amount of capital available for investment; (6) the climate and configuration, especially the geographical position, whether inland or on the border of the sea, &c. No general rule can be laid down, showing whether forests are required in a country, or, if so, to what extent; that question must be answered according to the special circumstances of each case.
The subjoined table shows the forests of various European states:—
|Russia, including Finland||518,000,000||40||61||5.9|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||6,400,000||50||78||4.0|
These data exhibit considerable differences, since the percentage of the forest area varies from 3.5 to 50, and the area per head of population from .07 to 9.5 acres. Russia, Sweden and Norway may as yet have more forest than they require for their own population. On the other hand, Great Britain and Ireland, Germany, Denmark, Portugal, Holland, and even Belgium, France and Italy have not a sufficient forest area to meet their own requirements; at the same time, they are all sea-bound countries, and importation is easy, while most of them are under the influence of moist sea winds, which reduces to a subordinate position the importance of forests for climatic reasons.
Intimately connected with the area of forests in a country is the state of ownership—whether they belong to the state, corporations or to private persons. Where, apart from the financial aspect and the supply of work, forests are not required for the sake of their indirect effects, and where importation from other countries is easy and assured, the government of the country need not, as a rule, trouble itself to maintain or acquire forests. Where the reverse conditions exist, and especially where the cost of transport over long distances becomes prohibitive, a wise administration will take measures to assure the maintenance of a suitable proportion of the country under forest. This can be done either by maintaining or constituting a suitable area of state forests, or by exercising a certain amount of control over corporation and even private forests. Such measures are more called for in continental countries than in those which are sea-bound, as is proved by the above statistics.
Supply of Timber—Imports and Exports.—The following table shows the net imports and exports of European countries (average data, calculated from the returns of recent years).
The only timber-exporting countries of Europe are Russia, Sweden, Norway, Austria-Hungary and Rumania; all the others either have only enough for their own consumption, or import timber. Great Britain and Ireland import now upwards of 10,000,000 tons a year, Germany about 4,600,000 tons, and Belgium about 1,300,000 tons. Holland, France, Portugal, Spain and Italy are all importing countries, as also are Asia Minor, Egypt and Algeria. The west coast of Africa exports hardwoods, and imports coniferous timber. The Cape and Natal import considerable quantities of pine and fir wood. Australasia exports hardwoods and some Kauri pine from New Zealand, but imports larger quantities of light pine and fir timber. British India and Siam export teak and small quantities of fancy woods. The West Indies and South America export hardwoods, and import pine and fir wood. The United States of America will not much longer be a genuine exporting country, since they import already almost as much timber from Canada as they export. Canada exports considerable quantities of timber. The Dominion has still a forest area of 1,250,000 sq. m., equal to 38% of the total area, and giving 165 acres of forest for every inhabitant. Although only about one-third of the forest area can be called regular timber land, Canada possesses an enormous forest wealth, with which she might supply permanently nearly all other countries deficient in material, if the governing bodies in the several provinces would only determine to stop the present fearful waste caused by axe and fire, and to introduce a regular system of management. As matters stand, the supplies of the most valuable timber of Canada, the white or Weymouth pine (Pinus strobus), are nearly exhausted, the great stores of spruce in the eastern provinces are being rapidly destroyed, and the forests of Douglas fir in the western provinces have been attacked for export to the United States and to other countries.
Net Imports and Exports of European Countries.
|Countries.||Quantities in Tons.||Value in £ Sterling.|
|United Kingdom||10,004,000||· ·||26,540,000||· ·|
|Germany||4,600,000||· ·||14,820,000||· ·|
|Belgium||1,300,000||· ·||5,040,000||· ·|
|France||1,230,000||· ·||3,950,000||· ·|
|Italy||620,000||· ·||2,100,000||· ·|
|Spain||470,000||· ·||1,500,000||· ·|
|Denmark||470,000||· ·||1,250,000||· ·|
|Switzerland||204,000||· ·||480,000||· ·|
|Holland||180,000||· ·||720,000||· ·|
|Servia||110,000||· ·||160,000||· ·|
|Portugal||60,000||· ·||200,000||· ·|
|Greece||35,000||· ·||130,000||· ·|
|Rumania||· ·||400,000||· ·||840,000|
|Norway||· ·||1,300,000||· ·||2,200,000|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||· ·||3,996,000||· ·||11,400,000|
|Sweden||· ·||4,460,000||· ·||7,930,000|
|Russia with Finland||· ·||6,890,000||· ·||10,440,000|
Taking the remaining stocks of the whole earth together, it may be said that a sufficient quantity of hardwoods is available, but the only countries which are able to supply coniferous timber for export on a considerable scale are Russia, Sweden, Norway, Austria and Canada. As these countries have practically to supply the rest of the world, and as the management of their forests is far from satisfactory, the question of supplying light pine and fir timber, which forms the very staff of life of the wood industries, must become a very serious matter before many years have passed. Unmistakable signs of the coming crisis are everywhere visible to all who wish to see, and it is difficult to over-state the gravity of the problem, when it is remembered, for instance, that 87% of all the timber imported into Great Britain consists of light pine and fir, and that most of the other importing countries are similarly situated. In some of these countries little or no room exists for the extension of woodland, but this statement does not apply to Great Britain and Ireland, which contain upwards of 12,000,000 acres of waste land, and 12,500,000 acres of mountain and heath land used for light grazing. One-fourth of that area, if put under forest, would produce all the timber now imported which can be grown in Britain, that is to say, about 95% of the total.
The subjoined table shows the movements of timber within the greater part of the British empire:—
Net Imports and Exports into and from the British Empire.
during the Years
during the Years
|United Kingdom||15,000,000||· ·||26,540,000||· ·|
|Australasia||1,284,000||· ·||568,000||· ·|
|Africa||72,000||· ·||737,000||· ·|
|West Indies, Honduras and Guiana||· ·||207,000||· ·||71,000|
|India, Ceylon and Mauritius||· ·||528,000||· ·||580,000|
|Dominion of Canada||· ·||4,025,000||· ·||4,789,000|
|Net Imports||11,596,000||· ·||22,405,000||· ·|
|Total increase in 16 years||· ·||· ·||10,809,000||· ·|
|Average annual increase of net imports||· ·||· ·||675,562||· ·|
Forest Management.—In early times there was practically no forest management. As long as the forests occupied considerable areas, their produce was looked upon as the free gift of nature, like air and water; men took it, used it, and even destroyed it without let or hindrance. With the gradual increase of population and the consequent reduction of the forest area, proprietary ideas developed; people claimed the ownership of certain forests, and proceeded to protect them against outsiders. Subsequently the law of the country was called in to help in protection, leading to the promulgation of special forest laws. By degrees it was found that mere protection was not sufficient, and that steps must be taken to enforce a more judicious treatment, as well as to limit the removal of timber to what the forests were capable of producing permanently. The teaching of natural science and of political economy was brought to bear upon the subject, so that now forestry has become a special science. This is recognized in many countries, amongst which Germany stands first, closely followed by France, Austria, Denmark and Belgium. Of non-European countries the palm belongs to British India, and then follow Ceylon, the Malay States, the Cape of Good Hope and Japan. The United States of America have also turned their attention to the subject. Most of the British colonies are, in this respect, as yet in a backward state, and the matter has still to be fought out in Great Britain and Ireland, though many writers have urged the importance of the question upon the public and the government. There can be no doubt that all civilized countries must, sooner or later, adopt a rational and systematic treatment of their forests.
For details as to the separate countries, see the articles under the country headings; in this article only some of the more important countries are dealt with, in so far as the history of their forestry is important. A few notes on Germany and France will be given, because in these countries forest management has been brought to highest perfection; Italy is mentioned, because she has allowed her forests to be destroyed; and a short description of forestry in the United Kingdom and in India follows. A separate section is devoted to the United States.
Germany is in general well-wooded. The winters being long and severe, an abundant supply of fuel is almost as essential as a sufficient supply of food. This necessity has led, along with a passion for the chase, to the preservation of forests, and to the establishment of an admirable system of forest cultivation, almost as carefully conducted as field tillage. The Black Forest stretches the whole length of the grand-duchy of Baden and part of the kingdom of Württemberg, from the Neckar to Basel and the Lake of Constance. The vegetation resembles that of the Vosges; forests of spruce, silver fir, Scotch pine, and, mingled with birches, beech and oak, are the chief woods met with. Until comparatively recent times large quantities of timber derived from these forests were floated down the Rhine to Holland and also shipped to England. Now the greater part of it is used locally for construction, or it is converted into paper pulp. In the grand-duchy of Hesse the Odenwald range of mountains, stretching between the Main and the Neckar, contains the chief supply of timber. In the province of Nassau there are the large wooded tracts of the Taunus mountain range and the Westerwald.
In Rhenish Prussia valuable forests lie partly in the Eifel, on the borders of Belgium, and on the mountains overhanging the Upper Moselle, but they do not furnish such stately trees as the Black Forest and the Odenwald. The Spessart, near Aschaffenburg in Bavaria, is one of the most extensive forests of middle Germany, containing large masses of fine oak and beech, with plantations of coniferous trees, such as spruce, Scotch pine and silver fir. Bavaria possesses other fine forest tracts, such as the Baierischewald on the Bohemian frontier, the Kranzberg near Munich, and the Frankenwald in the north of the kingdom. North Germany has extensive forests on the Harz and Thüringian Mountains, while in East Prussia large tracts of flat ground are covered with Scotch pine, spruce, oak and beech.
Every German state has its forest organization. In Prussia the department is presided over by the Oberland Forstmeister at Berlin, while each province, or part of a province, has an Oberforstmeister, under whom a number of Oberförsters administrate the state and communal forests. These, again, are assisted by a lower class of officials called Försters. The Oberförsters throughout Germany are educated at special schools of forestry, of which in 1909 the following nine existed:
In Prussia: at Eberswalde and Münden.
In Bavaria: at Munich and Aschaffenburg.
In Saxony: at Tharand.
In Württemberg: at Tübingen.
In Baden: at Carlsruhe.
In Hesse: at Giessen.
In the grand-duchy of Saxony: at Eisenach.
The schools at Munich, Tübingen and Giessen form part of the universities at these places; that at Carlsruhe is attached to the technical high school; the others are academies for the study of forestry only, but there is a tendency to transfer them all to the universities. The subordinate staff are trained for their work in so-called silvicultural schools, of which a large number exist. In this way the German forests have been brought to a high degree of productiveness, but the material derived from them falls far short of the requirements, although the forests occupy 26% of the total area of the country; hence the net imports of timber amount already to 4,600,000 tons a year, and they are steadily rising.
France.—The principal timber tree of France is the oak. The cork oak is grown extensively in the south and in Corsica. The beech, ash, elm, maple, birch, walnut, chestnut and poplar are all important trees, while the silver fir and spruce form magnificent forests in the Vosges and Jura Mountains, and the Aleppo and maritime pines are cultivated in the south and south-west. About one-seventh of the entire territory is still covered with wood.
Forest legislation took its rise in France about the middle of the 16th century, and the great minister Sully urged the enforcement of restrictive forest laws. In 1669 a fixed treatment of state forests was enacted. Duhamel in 1755 published his famous work on forest trees. Reckless destruction of the forests, however, was in progress, and the Revolution of 1789 gave a fresh stimulus to the work of devastation. The usual results have followed in the frequency and destructiveness of floods, which have washed away the soil from the hillsides and valleys of many districts, especially in the south, and the frequent inundations of the last fifty years are no doubt caused by the deforesting of the sources of the Rhone and Saône. Laws were passed in 1860 and 1864, providing for the reforesting, “reboisement,” of the slopes of mountains, and these laws take effect on private as well as state property. Thousands of acres are annually planted in the departments of Hautes and Basses Alpes; and during the summer of 1875, when much injury was done by floods in the south of France, the Durance, formerly the most dangerous in this respect of French rivers, gave little cause for anxiety, as it is round the head waters of this river that the chief plantations have been formed. While tracts formerly covered with wood have been replanted, plantations have been formed on the shifting sands or dunes along the coast of Gascony. A forest of Pinus pinaster, 150 m. in length, now stretches from Bayonne to the mouth of the Gironde, raised by means of sowing steadily continued since 1789; the cultivation of the pine, along with draining, has transformed low marshy grounds into productive soil extending over an area of about two million acres. The forests thus created provide annually some 600,000 tons of pit timber for the Welsh coal mines.
The state forest department is administered by the director-general, who has his headquarters at Paris, assisted by a board of administration, charged with the working of the forests, questions of rights and law, finance and plantation works.
The department is supplied with officers from the forest school at Nancy. This institution was founded in 1824, when M. Lorentz, who had studied forestry in Germany, was appointed its first director.
Italy.—The kingdom of Italy comprises such different climates that within its limits we find the birch and pines of northern Europe, and the olive, fig, manna-ash, and palm of more southern latitudes. By the republic of Venice and the duchy of Genoa forestal legislation was attempted at various periods from the 15th century downwards. These efforts were not successful, as the governments were lax in enforcing the laws. In 1789 Pius VI. issued regulations prohibiting felling without licence, and later orders were published by his successors in the pontifical states. In Lombardy the woods, which in 1830 reached nearly down to Milan, have almost disappeared. The province of Como contains only a remnant of the primitive forests, and the same may also be said of the southern slopes of Tirol. At Ravenna there is still a large forest of stone pine, Pinus pinea, though it has been much reduced. The plains of Tuscany are adorned with planted trees, the olive, mulberry, fig and almond. Sardinia is rich in woods, which cover one-fifth of the area, and contain a large amount of oak, Quercus suber, robur and cerris. In Sicily the forests have long been felled, save the zone at the base of Mount Etna.
The destruction of woods has been gradual but persistent; at the end of the 17th century the effects of denudation were first felt in the destructive force given to mountain torrents by the deforesting of the Apennines. The work of devastation continued until a comparatively recent time.
In 1867 the monastic property of Vallombrosa, Tuscany, 30 m. from Florence, was purchased by government for the purposes of a forest academy, which was opened in 1869. As only 4% of the total forest area belongs to the state, it is doubtful whether much good can now be done.
Great Britain and Ireland.—The British Isles were formerly much more extensively wooded than at present. The rapid increase of population led to the disforesting of woodland; the climate required the maintenance of household fires during a great part of the year, and the increasing demand for arable land and the extension of manufacturing industries combined to cause the diminution of woodland. The proportion of forest is now very small, and yields but a fraction of the required annual supply of timber which is imported with facility from America, northern Europe and the numerous British colonies.
Owing to the nature of the climate of the British Islands, with its abundance of atmospheric moisture and freedom from such extremes of heat and cold as are prevalent in continental Europe, a great variety of trees are successfully cultivated. In England and Ireland oak and beech are on the whole the most plentiful trees in the low and fertile parts; in the south of Scotland the beech and ash are perhaps most common, while the Scotch fir and birch are characteristic of the arboreous vegetation in the Highlands. Although few extensive forests now exist, woods of small area, belts of planting, clumps of trees, coppice and hedgerows, are generally distributed over the country, constituting a mass of wood of considerable importance, giving a clothed appearance in many parts, and affording illustrations of skilled arboriculture not to be found in any other country.
The principal state forests in England are Windsor Park, 14,000 acres; the New Forest, &c., in Hampshire, 76,000 acres; and the Dean Forest in Gloucestershire, 22,500 acres. The total extent of crown forests is about 125,000 acres. A large proportion of the crown forests, having been formed with the object of supplying timber for the navy, consists of oak. The largest forests in Scotland are in Perthshire, Inverness-shire and Aberdeenshire. Of these the most notable are the earl of Mansfield’s near Scone (8000 acres), the duke of Atholl’s larch plantations near Dunkeld (10,000 acres), and in Strathspey a large extent of Scotch pine, partly native, partly planted, belonging to the earl of Seafield. In the forests of Mar and Invercauld, the native pine attains a great size, and there are also large tracts of indigenous birch in various districts. Ireland was at one time richly clothed with wood; this is proved by the abundant remains of fallen trees in the bogs which occupy a large surface of the island. In addition to the causes above alluded to as tending to disforest England, the long unsettled state of the country also conduced to the diminishing of the woodlands.
The forests of Great Britain and Ireland, in spite of the large imports of timber, have not been appreciably extended up to the present time because (1) the rate at which foreign timber has been laid down in Britain is very low, thus keeping down the price of home-grown timber; (2) foreign timber is preferred to home-grown material, because it is in many cases of superior quality, while the latter comes into the market in an irregular and intermittent manner; (3) nearly the whole of the waste lands is private property. As regards prices, it can be shown that the lowest point was reached about the year 1888, in consequence of the remarkable development of means of communication, that prices then remained fairly stationary for some years, and that about 1894 a slow but steady rise set in, showing during the years 1894-1904 an increase of about 20% all round. This was due to the gradual approach of the coming crisis in the supply of coniferous timber to the world. It can be shown that even with present prices the growing of timber can be made to pay, provided it is carried on in a rational and economic manner. Improved silvicultural methods must be applied, so as to produce a better class of timber, and the forests must be managed according to well-arranged working plans, which provide for a regular and sustained out-turn of timber year by year, so as to develop a healthy and steady market for locally-grown material. Unfortunately the private proprietors of the waste lands are in many cases not in a financial position to plant. Starting forests demands a certain outlay in cash, and the proprietor must forgo the income, however small, hitherto derived from the land until the plantations begin to yield a return. In these circumstances the state may well be expected to help in one or all of the following ways: (1) The equipment of forest schools, where economic forestry, as elaborated by research, is taught; (2) the management of the crown forests on economic principles, so as to serve as patterns to private proprietors; (3) advances should be made to landed proprietors who desire to plant land, but are short of funds, just as is done in the case of improvements of agricultural holdings; and (4) the state might acquire surplus lands in certain parts of the country, such as congested districts, and convert them into forests. Action in these directions would soon lead to substantial benefits. The income of landed proprietors would rise, a considerable sum of money now sent abroad would remain in the country, and forest industries would spring up, thus helping to counteract the ever-increasing flow of people from the country into the large towns, where only too many must join the army of the unemployed. Even within a radius of 50 m. of London 700,000 acres of land are unaccounted for in the official agricultural returns. In Ireland more than 3,000,000 acres are waiting to be utilized, and it is well worth the consideration of the Irish Land Commissioners whether the lands remaining on their hands, when buying and breaking up large estates, should not be converted into state forests. Such a measure might become a useful auxiliary in the peaceful settlement of the Irish land question. No doubt success depends upon the probable financial results. There are at present no British statistics to prove such success; hence, by way of illustration, it may be stated what the results have been in the kingdom of Saxony, which, from an industrial point of view, is comparable with England. That country has 432,085 acres of state forests, of which about one-eighth are stocked with broad-leaved species, and seven-eighths with conifers. Some of the forests are situated on low lands, but the bulk of the area is found in the hilly parts of the country up to an elevation of 3000 ft. above the sea. The average price realized of late years per cubic foot of wood amounts to 5d., and yet to such perfection has the management been brought by a well-trained staff, that the mean annual net revenue, after meeting all expenses, comes to 21s. an acre all round. There can be no doubt that, under the more favourable climate of Great Britain, even better results can be obtained, especially if it is remembered that foreign supplies of coniferous timber must fall off, or, at any rate, the price per cubic foot rise considerably.
These things have been recognized to some extent, and a movement has been set on foot to improve matters. The Commissioners of Woods and a number of private proprietors had rational working plans prepared for their forests, and instruction in forestry has been developed. There is now a well-equipped school of forestry connected with the university of Oxford, while Cambridge is following on similar lines; instruction in forestry is given at the university of Edinburgh, the Durham College of Science, at Bangor, Cirencester and other places. The Commissioners of Woods have purchased an estate of 12,500 acres in Scotland, which will be converted into a crown forest, so as to serve as an example. The experience thus gained will prove valuable should action ever be taken on the lines suggested by a Royal Commission on Coast Erosion, Reclamation of Tidal Lands and Afforestation, which reported on the last subject in 1909.
India.—The history of forest administration in India is exceedingly instructive to all who take an interest in the welfare of the British Empire, because it places before the reader an account of the gradual destruction of the greater part of the natural forests, a process through which most other British colonies are now passing, and then it shows how India emerged triumphantly from the self-inflicted calamity. As far as information goes, India was, in the early times, for the most part covered with forest. Subsequently settlers opened out the country along fertile valleys and streams, while nomadic tribes, moving from pasture to pasture, fired alike hills and plains. This process went on for centuries. With the advent of British rule forest destruction became more rapid than ever, owing to the increase of population, extension of cultivation, the multiplication of herds of cattle, and the universal firing of the forests to produce fresh crops of grass. Then railways came, and with their extension the forests suffered anew, partly on account of the increased demand for timber and firewood, and partly on account of the fresh impetus given to cultivation along their routes. Ultimately, when failure to meet the requirements of public works was brought to notice, it was recognized that a grievous mistake had been made in allowing the forests to be recklessly destroyed. Already in the early part of the 19th century sporadic efforts were made to protect the forests in various parts of the country, and these continued intermittently; but the first organized steps were taken about the year 1855, when Lord Dalhousie was governor-general. At that time conservators of forests existed in Bombay, Madras and Burma. Soon afterwards other appointments followed, and in 1864 an organized state department, presided over by the inspector-general of forests, was established. Since then the Indian Forest Department has steadily grown, so that it has now become of considerable importance for the welfare of the people, as well as for the Indian exchequer.
The first duty of the department was to ascertain the position and extent of the remaining forests, and more particularly of that portion which still belonged to the state. Then a special forest law was passed, which was superseded in 1878 by an improved act, providing for the legal formation of permanent state forests; the determination, regulation, and, if necessary, commutation of forest rights; the protection of the forests against unlawful acts and the punishment of forest offences; the protection of forest produce in transit; the constitution of a staff of forest officers, provision to invest them with suitable legal powers, and the determination of their duties and liabilities. The officers who administered the department in its infancy were mostly botanists and military officers. Some of these became excellent foresters. In order to provide a technically trained staff arrangements were made in 1866 by Sir Dietrich Brandis, the first inspector-general of forests, for the training of young Englishmen at the French Forest School at Nancy and at similar institutions in Germany. In 1876 the students were concentrated at Nancy, and in 1885 an English forest school for India was organized in connexion with the Royal Indian Engineering College at Cooper’s Hill. In 1905 the school was transferred to the university of Oxford. The imperial forest staff of India consisted in 1909 of—officers not specially trained before entering the department, 17; officers trained in France and Germany, 23; officers trained at Cooper’s Hill, 143—total 184.
In 1878 a forest school was started at Dehra Dun, United Provinces, for the training of natives of India as executive officers on the provincial staff. Since then a similar school, though on a smaller scale, has been established at Tharrawaddy in Burma. About 500 officers of this class have been appointed. In addition, there are about 11,000 subordinates, foresters and forest guards, who form the protective staff. The school at Dehra Dun has lately been converted into the Imperial Forest College.
The progress made since 1864 is really astonishing. According to the latest available returns, the areas taken under the management of the department are—reserved state forests, or permanent forest estates, 91,272 sq. m.; other state forests, 141,669 sq. m.; or a total of 232,941 sq. m., equal to 24% of the area over which they are scattered. At present, therefore, the average charge of each member of the controlling staff comprises 1266 sq. m.; that of each executive officer, 446 sq. m.; and that of each protective official, 21 sq. m. It is the intention to increase the executive and protective staff considerably, in the same degree as the management of the forests becomes more detailed. Of the above-mentioned area the Forest Survey Branch, established in 1872, has up to date surveyed and mapped about 65,000 sq. m. From 1864 onwards efforts were made to introduce systematic management into the forests, based upon working plans, but, as the management had been provincialized, there was no central or continuous control. This was remedied in 1884, when a central Working Plans Office, under the inspector-general of forests, was established. This officer has since then controlled the preparation and execution of the plans, a procedure which has led to most beneficial results. Plans referring to about 38,000 sq. m. are now (1909) in operation, and after a reasonable lapse of time there should not be a single forest of importance which is not worked on a well-regulated plan, and on the principle of a sustained yield. While the danger of overworking the forests is thus being gradually eliminated, their yield capacity is increased by suitable silvicultural treatment and by fire protection. Formerly most of the important forests were annually or periodically devastated by jungle fires, sometimes lighted accidentally, in other cases purposely. Now 38,000 sq. m. of forest are actually protected against fire by the efforts of the department, and it is the intention gradually to extend protection to all permanent state forests. Grazing of cattle is of great importance in India; at the same time it is liable to interfere seriously with the reproduction of the forests. To meet both requirements careful and minute arrangements have been made, according to which at present 38,000 sq. m. are closed to grazing; 19,000 sq. m. are closed only against the grazing of goats, sheep and camels; while 176,000 sq. m. are open to the grazing of all kinds of cattle. The areas closed in ordinary years form a reserve of fodder in years of drought and scarcity. During famine years they are either opened to grazing, or grass is cut in them and transported to districts where the cattle are in danger of starvation. The service rendered in this way by a wise forest administration should not be underrated, since one of the most serious calamities of a famine—the want of cattle to cultivate the land—is thus, if not avoided, at any rate considerably reduced. During 1907 the government of India established a Research Institute, with six members engaged in collecting data regarding silviculture, forest botany, forest zoology, forest economics, working plans, and chemistry in connexion with forest produce and production. The institute is likely to lead to further substantial progress in the management of the forests.
The financial results of forest administration in India for the years 1865 to 1905 show the progress made:
The highest percentage of increase occurred in the period 1880–1885. The revenue since 1886 has been considerably increased by the annexation of Upper Burma.
Apart from the net revenue, large quantities of produce are given free of charge, or at reduced rates, to the people of the country. Thus, in 1904–1905, the net revenue amounted to Rs. 11,062,094, while the produce given free or at reduced rates was valued at Rs. 3,500,661, making a total net benefit derived from the state forests during that year of Rs. 14,562,755, or in round figures one million pounds sterling. The out-turn during the same year amounted to 252 million cub. ft. of timber and fuel and 215 million bamboos. The receipts from the sale of other forest produce came to 9 million rupees, out of a total gross revenue of 24 million rupees.
These results are highly creditable to the government of India, which has led the way towards the introduction of rational forest management into the British empire, thus setting an example which has been followed more or less by various colonies. Even the movement in the United Kingdom during late years is due to it. Apart from India, substantial progress has been made in Cape Colony, Ceylon, the Straits Settlements and the Federated Malay States. Other British colonies are more backward in this respect. Energetic action is urgently wanted, especially in Canada and Australasia, where an enormous state property is threatened by destruction.
Literature.—The following works of special interest may be mentioned: W. Schlich, A Manual of Forestry (London) (vols. i., ii. and iii. by W. Schlich; vols. iv. and v. by W. R. Fisher; 3rd ed. of vol. i., 1906, of vol. ii., 1904, of vol. iii., 1905; 2nd ed. of vol. iv., 1907; 2nd ed. of vol. v., 1908); Baden-Powell, Forest Law (London, 1893); Brown, The Forester (ed. by Nisbet, Edinburgh and London, 1905); Broilliard, Le Traitement des bois (Paris, 1894); Huffel, Économie forestière (Paris, 1904–1907); Lorey, Handbuch der Forstwissenschaft (2nd ed. by Stoetzer, Tübingen, 1903); Rossmässler, Der Wald. (W. Sch.)
The Forest Regions.—The great treeless region east of the Rocky Mountains separates the wooded area of the United States into two grand divisions, which may be called the Eastern and the Western forests. The Eastern forest is characterized by the predominance, on the whole, of broad-leafed trees, the comparative uniformity of its general types over wide areas, and its naturally unbroken distribution. In the Western forest conifers are conspicuously predominant; the individual species often reaches enormous and even unequalled dimensions, the forest is frequently interrupted by treeless areas, and the transitions from one type to another are often exceedingly abrupt. Both divisions are botanically and commercially rich in species.
The Eastern forest may conveniently be subdivided into three members:
1. The Northern forest, marked by great density and large volume of standing timber, and a comparative immunity, in its virgin condition, from fire. The characteristic trees are maples, birches and beech (Fagus atropunicea), among the hardwoods and white pine (Pinus strobus), spruce (Picea rubens and Picea mariana) and hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) among conifers.
2. The Southern forest is on the whole less dense than the Northern, and more frequently burned over. Among its characteristic trees are the longleaf (Pinus palustris) and other pines, oaks, gums, bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) and white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides).
3. The Central Hardwood forest, which differs comparatively little from adjacent portions of the Northern and Southern forests except in the absence of conifers. Among its trees are the chestnut (Castanea dentata), hickories, ashes and other hardwoods already mentioned.
The Western division has two members:
1. The Pacific Coast forest, marked by the great size of its trees and the vast accumulations of merchantable timber. Among its characteristic species are the redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) and the big tree (S. Washingtoniana), the Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga taxifolia), sugar pine (Pinus lambertiana), western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla), giant arborvitae (Thuja plicata) and Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis).
2. The Rocky Mountain forest, whose characteristic species are the western yellow pine (Pinus ponderosa), Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmanni) and lodgepole pine (Pinus murrayana). This forest is frequently broken by treeless areas of greater or less extent, especially towards the south, and it suffers greatly from fire. Subarid in character, except to the north and at high elevations, the vast mining interests of the region and its treeless surroundings give this forest an economic value out of proportion to the quantities of timber it contains.
This distribution of the various forests is indicated on the first of the two accompanying maps. The second map shows the situation of the national forests hereafter mentioned.
The forests of Alaska fall into two main divisions: the commercial though undeveloped forests of the south-east coast, which occur along the streams and on the lower slopes of the mountains and consist chiefly of western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla), Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis), yellow cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis) and giant arborvitae (Thuja plicata), usually of large size and uninjured by fire; and the vast interior forests, swept by severe fires, and consisting chiefly of white and black spruces (Picea canadensis and nigra), paper birch (Betula papyrifera) and aspen (Populus tremuloides), all of small size but of great importance in connexion with mining. Northern Alaska and the extreme western coast regions are entirely barren.
The National Forest Policy.—The forest policy of the United States may be said to have had its origin in 1799 in the enactment of a law which authorized the purchase of timber suitable for the use of the navy, or of land upon which such timber was growing. It is true that laws were in force under the early governments of Massachusetts, New Jersey and other colonies, providing for the care and protection of forest interests in various ways, but these laws were distinctly survivals of tendencies acquired in Europe, and for the most part of little use. It was not until the apparent approach of a dangerous shortage in certain timber supplies that the first real step in forest policy was taken by the United States. Successive laws passed from 1817 to 1831 strove to give larger effect to the original enactment, but without permanent influence towards the preservation of the live oak (Quercus virginiana Mill.), which was the object in view. A long period of inaction followed these early measures. In 1831 the solicitor of the treasury assumed a partial responsibility for the care and protection of the public timber lands, and in 1855 this duty was transferred to the commissioner of the general land office in the Department of the Interior. The effect of these changes upon forest protection was unimportant. When, however, at the close of the Civil War railway building in the United States took on an unparalleled activity, the destruction of forests by fire and the axe increased in a corresponding ratio, and public sentiment began to take alarm. Action by several of the states slightly preceded that of the Federal government, but in 1876 Congress, acting under the inspiration of a memorial from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, authorized the appointment of an officer (Dr Franklin B. Hough) under the commissioner of agriculture, to collect and distribute information upon forest matters. His office became in 1880 the division of forestry in what is now the United States Department of Agriculture.
As the railways advanced into the treeless interior, public interest in tree-planting became keen. In 1873 Congress passed and later amended and repealed the timber culture acts, which granted homesteads on the treeless public lands to settlers who planted one-fourth of their entries with trees. Though these measures were not successful in themselves they directed attention towards forestry. The act which repealed them in 1891 contained a clause which lies at the foundation of the present forest policy of the United States. By it the president was authorized to set aside “any part of the public lands wholly or in part covered with timber or undergrowth, whether of commercial value or not, as public reservations, and the President shall, by public proclamation, declare the establishment of such reservations and the limits thereof.” Some eighteen million acres had been proclaimed as reservations at the time when, in 1896, the National Academy of Sciences was asked by the secretary of the interior to make an investigation and report upon “the inauguration of a rational forest policy for the forest lands of the United States.” Upon the recommendation of a commission named by the Academy, President Cleveland established more than twenty-one million acres of new reserves on the 22nd of February 1897. His action was widely misunderstood and attacked, but it awakened a public interest in forest questions without which the rapid progress of forestry in the United States since that time could never have been made.
Within a few months after the proclamation of the Cleveland reserves the present national forest policy took definite shape. Under this policy the national government holds and manages, in the common interest of all users of the forests or its products, such portions of the public lands as have been set aside by presidential proclamation in accordance with the act of 1891. These lands are held against private acquisition under the Homestead Act (except as to agricultural lands as hereafter mentioned), the Timber and Stone Act, and other laws under which the United States disposes of its unappropriated public domain, but not against private acquisition under the Mineral Land Laws. They are selected from lands believed to be more valuable for forest purposes than for agriculture, and are managed with the purpose of securing from them the best and largest possible returns, present and future, whether in the form of water for irrigation or power, of timber, of forage for stock, or of any other beneficial product. The aggregate area of the reserves, or national forests, has been steadily increased until they now include nearly all the timber lands left of the public domain.
The general lines of this policy were in part laid down by the commission already mentioned, in its report submitted to the secretary of the interior, May 1, 1897, and by the act of June 4, 1897, which was largely shaped by the work of the commission. Until this act was passed the national forests had been in theory closed against any form of use; nor had the possibility of securing forest preservation by wise use received much thought from those who had favoured their creation. Such a state of affairs could not continue. Before long public opinion would have forced the opening to use of the resources thus arbitrarily locked up, and in the absence of any administrative system providing for conservative use, the national forests would inevitably have been abolished, and the whole policy of government forest holdings would have ceased. The act of June 4, 1897 was therefore of the first importance. This act conferred upon the secretary of the interior general powers for the proper management of the national forests through the general land office of his department. It provided for the designation and sale of dead, mature and large timber; authorized the secretary to permit free use of timber in small quantities by settlers, miners and residents; empowered him to “make such rules and regulations and establish such service as will insure the objects of such reservations, namely, to regulate their occupancy and use and to preserve the forests thereon from destruction”; and made violation of the act or of such rules and regulations a misdemeanour. The statute limited the power to establish forest reservations to the purpose of improving and protecting the forest, securing favourable conditions of water flows, and furnishing a continuous supply of timber for the use and necessities of citizens of the United States. Lands found, upon due examination, to be more valuable for other purposes than for forest uses might be eliminated from any reservation, and all mineral lands within the reservations were left open to private appropriation under the mineral laws. The rights of settlers and claimants were safeguarded, and civil and criminal jurisdiction, except so far as the punishment of offences against the United States in the reservations was concerned, was reserved to the States.
While the administration of the national forests was entrusted to the general land office, the same act assigned the surveying and mapping of them to the United States Geological Survey, which has published descriptions and maps of some of the more important.
No attempt was made in the general land office to develop a technical forest service. There were, indeed, at the time of passage of the act, less than ten trained foresters in the United States, no means of training more, and very little conception of what forestry actually meant. The purpose of the administration was therefore mainly protection against trespass and fire, particularly the latter. Regulations were made giving effect to the provisions of the act of June 4, set forth above, but in the absence of technical knowledge as to what might safely be done, the tendency was rather to restrict than to extend the use of the forest. Meanwhile, however, there was rapidly developing in another branch of the government service an organization qualified for actual forest management.
One year after the passage of the act of June 4, 1897, the division of forestry in the Department of Agriculture ceased to be merely a bureau of information, and became an active agency for introducing the actual practice of forestry among private owners and for conducting the investigations upon which a sound American forest practice could be based. The work awakened great interest among forest owners, and exerted a powerful educational influence upon the country at large. The division extended its work and became (July 1, 1901) the Bureau of Forestry. It drew into its employment for a time nearly all the men who were preparing themselves in increasing numbers (at first abroad, then in the newly-founded schools in the United States) for the profession of forestry, and was soon recognized as qualified to speak authoritatively on technical questions connected with the administration of the national forests. This led to a request from the secretary of the interior for the advice of the bureau on such questions. Working plans were accordingly undertaken for a number of the forests. The general land office, however, was not ready to attempt active forest management. Though some timber was sold and the grazing of stock regulated to some extent, the main object of the land office administration continued to be protection against fire. Many of the regulations which it made could not be enforced.
The disadvantages of dispersal of the Federal government forest work among three separate agencies grew more and more apparent, until, on the 1st of February 1905, control of the 63,000,000 acres of forest reserves which up to that time had been set aside was transferred from the general land office to the Bureau of Forestry. In recognition of its new duties the designation of the bureau became the Forest Service.
Other provisions of the act which affected the transfer were that forest supervisors and rangers should be selected, so far as possible, from qualified citizens of the state or territory in which each forest was situated, and that all money received from the sale of any products or the use of any land or resources of the national forests should be covered into the treasury and constitute a special fund for their protection, administration, improvement and extension. Five days later a statute gave forest officers the power to arrest trespassers; and on the 3rd of March the lieu land selection law was repealed. This law had opened the way for grave abuses through the exchange of worthless land by private owners within the forests for an equal area of valuable timber lands outside.
The law has been modified since by the change of the old name “Forest Reserves” to “National Forests.” The act of June 11, 1906, opened to homestead entry lands within national forests found by examination to be chiefly valuable for agriculture. The administration and improvement of the national forests are now provided for directly by congressional appropriation. The power to create national forests conferred on the president by the act of March 1891 has been repealed for the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado, but for no others.
The Forest Service began in earnest the development of all the resources of the national forests. Mature timber was sold wherever there was a demand for it and the permanent welfare of the forests and protection of the streams permitted, but always so as to prevent waste, guard against fire, protect young growth and ensure reproduction. Regulations were adopted which allowed small sales to be made without formality or delay, secured for the government the full value of timber sold, and eliminated unnecessary routine. Care was taken to safeguard the interests of the government and provide for the maintenance of good technical standards. The conduct of local business was entrusted to local officers. Large transactions with general policies were controlled from Washington, but with careful provision for first-hand knowledge and close touch with the work in the field. Business efficiency and the convenience of the public were carefully studied. In short, an organization was created capable of handling safely, speedily and satisfactorily the complex business of making useful a forest property of vast extent, scattered through sixteen different states of an aggregate area of over 1,500,000 sq. m. and with a population of 9,000,000.
The growth since the 1st of July 1897 of the area of the national forests, of the expenditures of the government for forestry, and of the receipts from the national forests, is shown by the statement which follows. Though the act of June 4, 1897, became effective immediately upon its passage, the fiscal year 1899 was the first of actual administration, because the first for which Congress made the appropriation necessary to carry out the law.
Area of National Forests, Annual Expenditures of the Federal Government for Forestry and National Forest Administration, and Receipts from National Forests, 1898-1909.
at Close of Year
| Division of Forestry
(Bureau of Forestry,
| Expenditures upon |
|1898||40,866,184||20,000.00||· ·||· ·||· ·||· ·|
Until 1906, the sole source of receipts was the sale of timber. In the fiscal year 1907, however, timber sales furnished less than half the receipts. The following statement concerning the timber sales of the fiscal years 1904-1907 will serve to bring out the change that followed the transfer of control to the forest service in the midst of the fiscal year 1905:—
| Receipts from |
These figures show (1) a large excess each year in the amount of timber sold over that cut and paid for; (2) nine times as much timber sold at the end of the four-year period as at the beginning and three times as much cut; and (3) a much higher price obtained per thousand board-feet at the end of the period than at the beginning. Each of these matters calls for comment. The sales are of stumpage only; the government does no logging on its own account.
1. More timber is sold each year than is cut and paid for, because many of the sales extend over several years. With increasing sales the amount sold each year for future removal has exceeded the amount to be removed during that year under sales of earlier years. Large sales covering a term of years are made because the national forests contain much overmature timber, which needs removal, but which is frequently too inaccessible to be saleable in small amounts. To prevent speculation the time allowed for cutting is never more than five years, and cutting must begin at once and be continued steadily.
2. The volume of sales has increased rapidly because much forest is ripe for the axe, the demand is strong, and control by trained men makes it safe to cut more freely. The increase is marked both in small and in large sales, but a score of sales for less than $5000 are made against one for more. The total cut is still far below the annual increment of the forests. As the demand grows restrictions must increase in order to husband the present supply until the next crop matures.
3. The stumpage price would seem on the face of the figures to have risen from about one dollar to more than three dollars per thousand board-feet. The receipts, however, for any one year are not exclusively for the timber cut in that year, since payments are made in advance. In the year 1907 the average price obtained was something less than $2.50 per thousand. It is therefore true that stumpage prices have risen greatly, although conditions new to the American lumbermen are imposed. Full utilization of all merchantable material, care of young growth in felling and logging, and the piling of brush, to be subsequently burned by the forest officers if burning is necessary, are among these conditions. Timber to be cut must first be marked by the forest officers. Sales of more than $100 in value are made only after public advertisement.
Only the simplest forms of silviculture have as yet been introduced. The vast area of the national forests, the comparatively sparse population of the West, the rough and broken character of the forests themselves, and the newness of the problems which their management presents, make the general application of intensive methods for the present impracticable. Natural reproduction is secured. The selection system is most used, often under the rough and ready method of an approximate diameter limit, with the reservation of seed trees where needed. The tendency, however, is strongly towards a more flexible and effective application of the selection principle, as a better trained field force is developed and as market conditions improve.
One conspicuous achievement was the reduction of loss by fires on the national forests. During the unusually dry season of 1905 there were only eight fires of any importance, and the area burned over amounted only to about .16 of 1% of the total area. In 1900 about .12 of 1% was burned. This was accomplished by efficient patrol, co-operation of the public, and by preventive measures, such as piling and burning the brush on cut-over areas.
Since the beginning of 1906 the largest source of income from the national forests was their use for grazing. Stock-raising is one of the most important industries of the West. Formerly cattle and sheep grazed freely on all parts of the public domain. In the early days of the national forests the wisdom of permitting any grazing at all upon them was sharply questioned. Unrestricted grazing had led to friction between individuals, the deterioration of much of the range through overstocking, and serious injury to the forests and stream flow. The forests of the West, however, are largely of open growth and contain many grassy parks, the results of old fires, and many high mountain meadows. Under proper regulations the grass and other forage plants which they produce in great quantity can be used without detriment to the forests themselves, and with great benefit to the stock industry, which often can find summer pasturage nowhere else. Except in southern California grazing is now permitted on all national forests unless the watersheds furnish water for domestic use; but the time of entering and leaving, the number of head to be grazed by each applicant, and the part of the range to be occupied are carefully prescribed. Planted areas and cut-over areas are closed to stock until the young growth is safe from harm, and goats are allowed only in the brushland of the foothills.
The results of regulation, in addition to the protection of forest growth and streams, are the prevention of disputes, improved range, better stock, stable conditions in the stock industry, and the best use of the range in the interest of progress and development. The first right to graze stock on the forests is given to residents, small owners and those who have used the range before. Thus the crowding out of the weaker by the stronger and of the settler by the roving outsider has been stopped. In 1906 the forest service began to impose a moderate charge for the use of the national forest range. The following statement shows the amount of stock grazed on the national forests 1904-09, and the receipts for the grazing charge:—
Cattle and Horses.
Sheep and Goats.
A work of enormous magnitude which has now begun is planting on the national forests. At present, with low stumpage prices and incomplete utilization of forest products, clear cutting with subsequent planting is not practicable. There are, however, many million acres of denuded land within the national forests which require planting. Such planting is still confined chiefly to watersheds which supply cities and towns with water. The first planting was done in 1892, in California. Since then similar work has been done on city watersheds in Colorado, Utah, Idaho and New Mexico. Other plantations are in the Black Hills national forest, where large areas of cut-over and burned-over land are entirely without seed trees, and in the sandhill region of Nebraska. Up to 1908 about 2,000,000 seedlings had been planted, on over 2000 acres—a small beginning, but the work was entirely new and presented many hard problems.
The nursery operations of the forest service are concentrated at seven stations, located in southern California, Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico (2), Utah and Idaho, where stock is raised for local planting and for shipment elsewhere. These nurseries are small. Their annual productive capacity is between 8,000,000 and 10,000,000 seedlings. Each nursery is practically an experimental forest-planting station, at which a large variety of species are grown and various methods are tried.
The organization of the administrative work of the national forests is by single forests. On the 1st of January 1908 the total number of forests was 165 with a total area of 162,023,190 acres (on April 7, 1909, the numbers were 146 national forests in the U.S. with 167,672,467 acres, besides two in Alaska with 26,761,626 and one in Porto Rico with 65,950 acres). In charge of each forest is a forest supervisor. Under the supervisors are forest rangers and forest guards, whose duties include patrol, marking timber and scaling logs, enforcing the regulations and conducting some of the minor business arising from the use of the forests. Guards are temporary employés; rangers are employed by the year. The supervisors report directly to and receive instructions from the central office at Washington. In this office there are four branches—operation, grazing, silviculture and products—each of which directs that part of the work which belongs to it, dealing directly with the supervisor. For inspection purposes, however, the forests are separated into six districts, in each of which is located a chief inspector with a corps of assistants. The inspectors are without administrative authority, but assist by their counsel the supervisors, and through inspection reports keep the Washington office informed of the condition of all lines of administrative work in progress. Administrative officers alternate frequently between field and office duties.
The number of forest officers in the several grades on the 1st of January 1908 were: 6 chief inspectors, 26 inspectors, 106 forest supervisors, 41 deputy forest supervisors, 820 forest rangers and 283 forest guards. The total number of employés of the forest service on the same date, including the clerical force, was 2034.
Besides the administration of the national forests, the forest service conducts general investigations, carries on an extensive educational work, and co-operates with private owners who contemplate forest management upon their own tracts. This last work is undertaken because of the need of bringing forestry into practice, the lack of trained foresters outside of the employ of the government, and the lack of information as to how to apply forestry and what returns may be obtained. Co-operation takes the form of advice upon the ground and, on occasion, of the making of working plans. The educational work of the service is performed chiefly through publications, the purpose of which is to spread very widely a knowledge of the importance of forestry to the nation and of the principles upon which its practice rests. The investigations which the service conducts extend from studies of the natural distribution and classification of American forests and of their varied silvicultural problems to statistics of lumber production and laboratory researches which bear upon the economical utilization of forest products. As examples of these researches may be mentioned tests of the strength of timber, studies of the preservative treatment of wood for various uses, wood-pulp investigations and studies in wood chemistry.
Forest Instruction.—Most of the men now in the forest service received their training in the United States. There are several professional schools of forestry. The Yale Forest School, which was opened as a department of Yale University in September 1900, offers a two-years’ graduate course with abundant field work, and also conducts a summer school of forestry, especially adapted to the training of forest rangers and special students, at Milford, Pennsylvania. The university of Michigan and Harvard University also offer a two-years’ graduate course in forestry. The Pennsylvania State College has recently established a four-years’ undergraduate course in forestry. The Biltmore Forest School in North Carolina, the oldest of all these schools, offers a one-year course in technical forestry. A large number of the agricultural colleges give instruction in forestry. Among these are Nebraska, Minnesota, Maine, Michigan, Washington and Mississippi agricultural colleges, the university of Georgia and Iowa State College. Berea College, Kentucky, deserves special mention as a college which has done valuable work in teaching forestry without attempting to turn out professional foresters.
Forestry among the States.—Among the states forestry has hardly reached the stage of practical application on the ground. New York holds 1,500,000 acres of forest land. It has a commission to care for its forest preserve, and to protect the forest land throughout the state from fire. The constitution of the state, however, prohibits the cutting of timber on state land, and thus confines the work entirely to protection of the forest and to the planting of waste areas. Pennsylvania is at present showing the most efficient activity in working out a forest policy. It has state forests of 820,000 acres, a good fire law more and more satisfactorily enforced, and eight nurseries for growing planting material. In 1905, 160,000 white pine seedlings were set out. It has also a school for forest rangers, to be employed on the state forests, and it has just established a state professional school of forestry.
Twenty-six of the states have regularly appointed forest officers, six have carried on studies of forest conditions in co-operation with the forest service, and there is scarcely one which is not actively interested in forestry. Laws, generally good, to prevent damage from forest fires, have been enacted by practically all the states, but their enforcement has unfortunately been lax. Public sentiment, however, is making rapid progress. Among the best laws are those of Maine, New Hampshire, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The New York law, for example, provides for the appointment of one or more fire-wardens in each town of the counties in which damage by fire is especially to be feared. In other counties supervisors of towns are ex-officio fire-wardens. A chief fire-warden has general supervision of their work. The wardens, half of the cost of whose services is paid by the state, receive compensation only for the time actually employed in fighting fires. They may command the service of any citizen to assist them. Setting fire to woods or waste lands belonging to the state or to another, if such fire results in loss, is punishable by a fine not exceeding $250 or imprisonment not exceeding one year, or both, and damages are provided for the person injured. Since fire is beyond question the most dangerous enemy of forests in the United States, the measures taken against it are of vital importance.
The following table shows the amount of forest land held by the different states, and by the territory of Hawaii:—
Area of State Forest Reservations, 1907.
Forestry on Private Lands.—The practice of forestry among private owners is of old date. One of the earliest instances was that of Jared Eliot, who, in 1730, began the systematic cutting of timber land to supply charcoal for an iron furnace at Old Salisbury, Connecticut. The successful planting of waste lands with timber trees in Massachusetts dates from about ten years later. But such examples were comparatively rare until recent times. At present the intelligent harvesting of timber with a view to successive crops, which is forestry, is much more common than is usually supposed. Among farmers it is especially frequent. It was begun among lumbermen by the late E.S. Coe, of Bangor, Maine, who made a practice of restricting the cut of spruce from his forests to trees 10, 12 or sometimes even 14 in. in diameter, with the result that much of his land yielded, during his life, a second crop as plentiful as the first. Many owners of spruce lands have followed his example, but until very recently without improving upon it. Systematic forestry on a large scale among lumbermen was begun in the Adirondacks during the summer of 1898 on the lands of Dr W.S. Webb and Hon. W.C. Whitney, of a combined area of over 100,000 acres, under the superintendence of the then Division of Forestry. In these forests spruce, maple, beech and birch predominate, but the spruce alone is at present of the first commercial importance. The treatment is a form of the selection system. Under it a second crop of equal yield would be ripe for the axe in thirty-five years. Spruce and pine are the only trees cut. The work had been executed, at least up to the year 1902, with great satisfaction to the owners and the lumbering contractors, as well as to the decided benefit of the forest. The lumbering is regulated by the following rules, and competent inspectors are employed to see that they are rightly carried out: (1) No trees shall be cut which are not marked. (2) All trees marked shall be cut. (3) No trees shall be left lodged in the woods, and none shall be overlooked by the skidders or haulers. (4) All merchantable logs which are as large as 6 in. in diameter at the small end must be utilized. (5) No stumps shall be cut more than 6 in. higher than the stump is wide. (6) No spruce shall be used for bridges, corduroy, skids, slides, or for any purpose except building camps, dams or booms, unless it is absolutely necessary on account of lack of other timber. (7) All merchantable spruce used for skidways must be cut into logs and hauled out. (8) Contractors must not do any unnecessary damage to young growth in lumbering; and if any is done, they must discharge the men who did it.
These two instances of forestry have been most useful and effective among lumbermen and other owners of forest land in the north-east. Among those which have followed their example are the Berlin Mills Paper Company in northern New Hampshire, the Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company in northern Michigan, and the Delaware and Hudson Railroad Company in New York, all of which have employed professional foresters.
The most notable instance of forestry in the south is on the estate of George W. Vanderbilt at Biltmore, N.C. This was the first case of systematic forestry under regular working plans in the United States. It was begun in 1891 on about 4000 acres, and has since been extended until it now covers about 100,000 acres. A professional forester with a corps of trained rangers under him is in charge of the work. The Pennsylvania Railroad has recently employed a trained forester and several assistants and has undertaken systematic forestry on a large scale.
The effect of the work of the forest service in assisting private owners is evidenced by the fact that down to the year 1908 670 wood lots and timber tracts had been examined by agents of the forest service, of which 250 were tracts over 400 acres in extent, and planting plans had been made for 436 owners covering a total area of 80,000 acres. Expert advice is also given to wood lot owners upon application by many of the state foresters.
American Practice.—The conditions under which forestry is practised in Europe and in America differ so widely that rules which are received as axiomatic in the one must often be rejected in the other. Among these conditions in America are the highly developed and specialized methods and machinery of lumbering, the greater facilities for transportation and consequent greater mobility of the lumber trade, the vast number of small holdings of forest land, and the enormous supply of low-grade wood in the timbered regions. High taxes on forest properties, cut-over as well as virgin, notably in the north-western pineries, and the firmly established habits of lumbermen, are factors of great importance. From these and other considerations it follows that such generally accepted essentials of European methods of forestry as a sustained annual yield, a permanent force of forest labourers, a permanent road system and the like, are in most cases utterly inapplicable in the United States at the present day in private forestry. Methods of forest management, to find acceptance, must there conform as closely as possible to existing methods of lumbering. Rules of marked simplicity, the observance of which will yet secure the safety of the forest, must open the way for more refined methods in the future. For the present a periodic or irregular yield, temporary means of transport, constantly changing crews, and an almost total ignorance of the silvics of all but a few of the most important trees—all combine to enforce the simplest silvicultural treatment and the utmost concentration of purpose on the two main objects of forestry, which are the production of a net revenue and the perpetuation of the forest. Such concentration has been followed in practice by complete success.
The forests with which the American forester deals are rich in species, usually endowed with abundant powers of reproduction, and, over a large part of their range, greatly dependent for their composition and general character upon the action of forest fires. Of the commercially valuable trees there may be said to be, in round numbers, a hundred out of a total forest flora of about 500 species, but many trees not yet of importance in the lumber trade will become so hereafter, as has already happened in many cases. The attention of the forester must usually be concentrated upon the growth and reproduction of a single species, and never of more than a very few. Thus the silvicultural problems which must be solved in the practice of forestry in America are fortunately less complicated than the presence of so many kinds of trees in forests of such diverse types would naturally seem to indicate.
The forest fire problem is one of the most difficult with which the American forester has to deal. It is probable that forest fires have had more to do with the character and distribution of forests in America than any other factor except rainfall. With an annual range over thousands of square miles, in many portions of the United States they occur regularly year after year on the same ground. Trees whose thick bark or abundant seeding gives them peculiar powers of resistance, frequently owe their exclusive possessions of vast areas purely to the action of fire. On the economic side fire is equally influential. The probability, or often the practical certainty, of fire after the first cut, commonly determines lumbermen to leave no merchantable tree standing. Forest fires are thus the most effective barriers to the introduction of forestry. Excessive taxation of timber land is another of almost equal effect. Because of it lumbermen hasten to cut, and afterwards often to abandon, lands which they cannot afford to hold. This evil, which only the progress of public sentiment can control, is especially prevalent in certain portions of the white pine belt.
Forest Associations.—Public sentiment in favour of the protection of forests is now widespread and increasingly effective throughout the United States. As the general understanding of the objects and methods of forestry becomes clearer, the tendency, formerly very marked, to confound ornamental tree planting and botanical matters with forestry proper is rapidly growing less. At the same time, the number and activity of associations dealing with forest matters is increasing with notable rapidity. There are now about thirty such associations in the United States. One of these, the Society of American Foresters, is composed exclusively of professional foresters. The American Forestry Association is the oldest and largest. It has been influential in preparing the ground work of popular interest in forestry, and especially in advocating and securing the adoption of the federal forest reservation policy, the most important step yet taken by the national government. It publishes as its organ a monthly magazine called Forestry and Irrigation. The Pennsylvania Forestry Association has been instrumental in placing that state in the forefront of forest progress. Its organ is a bi-monthly publication called Forest Leaves. Other states which have associations or societies of special influence in forest matters are California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Colorado, New Hampshire, Georgia and Oregon. Arbor Day, instituted in Nebraska in 1872 as a day for shade-tree planting by farmers who had settled on the treeless prairies, has been taken up as a means of interesting school children in the planting of trees, and has spread until it is now observed in every state and territory. It continues to serve an admirable purpose.
Lumbering.—According to the census report for 1905 the capital invested in logging operations in the United States was $90,454,596, the number of employés engaged 146,596, and their wages $66,990,000; sawmills represented an invested capital of $381,621,000, and employed 223,674 persons, whose wages were $100,311,000, while planing mills represented a capital of $222,294,000 and employed 132,030 persons whose wages were $66,434,000.
|Product.||Output 1906.|| Equivalent
| Total Wood |
|Wood distillation||108||12||· ·||120|
|Round mine timbers||165||35||· ·||200|
|Hewn cross ties||207||503||· ·||710|
All the operations of the lumber trade in the United States are controlled, and to no small degree determined, by the peculiar unit of measure which has been adopted. This unit, the board-foot, is generally defined as a board one foot long, one foot wide and one inch thick, but in reality it is equivalent to 144 cub. in. of manufactured lumber in any form. To purchase logs by this measure one must first know about what each log will yield in one-inch boards. For this purpose a scale or table is used, which gives the contents of logs of various diameters and lengths in board feet. Under such a standard the purchaser pays for nothing but the saleable lumber in each log, the inevitable waste in slabs and sawdust costing him nothing.
The table at foot gives the estimated consumption of wood for certain purposes in the United States in 1906.
In addition to this amount, an immense quantity of wood is used each year for fuel, posts and other domestic purposes, and the total annual consumption is not less than 20 billion cub. ft.
The years 1890 to 1906 were marked by rapid changes in the rank of the important timber trees with reference to the amount of timber cut, and a shifting of the important centres of production. Among coniferous trees, white pine has yielded successively to yellow pine and Douglas fir, while the scene of greatest activity has shifted from the Northern forest to the Southern, and from there is rapidly shifting to the Pacific Coast. The total cut of coniferous lumber has increased steadily, but that of the hardwoods is falling off, and in 1906 it was 15% less than in 1899, while inferior hardwoods are gradually assuming more and more importance, and the scene of greatest activity has passed from the middle west to the south and the Appalachian region.
Conifers.—The coniferous supply of the country is derived from four forest regions: (1) The Northern forest; (2) the Southern forest; (3) the Pacific Coast forest; and (4) the Rocky Mountain forest.
1. The Northern forest was long the chief source of the coniferous lumber production in the United States. The principal timber tree of this region is the white pine, usually known in Europe as the Weymouth pine. It has an average height when mature of 110 ft., with a diameter a little less than 3 ft., but the virgin timber is approaching exhaustion. White pine was one of the first trees to be cut extensively in the United States, and Maine, the pine tree state, was at first the centre of production. In 1851 the cut of white pine on the Penobscot river was 144 million ft., that of spruce 14 million and of hemlock 11 million. Thirty years later the pine cut had sunk to 23 million, spruce had risen to 118 million, and hemlock had passed pine by a million feet. Meanwhile, the centre of production had passed from the north woods to the Lake States, and for many years this region was the scene of the most vigorous lumbering activity in the world. The following figures show the cut for the Lake States from 1873 to 1906. It is certain that the remarkable decline in the cut of white pine which these figures show will continue still farther.
Second to the white pine among the coniferous lumber trees of the Northern forest is the hemlock (Tsuga canadensis). It is used chiefly for construction purposes and furnishes a comparatively low grade of lumber.
The spruce (Picea rubens) is used chiefly for lumber, but it is in large and increasing demand in the manufacture of paper pulp. For the latter purpose hemlock, poplar (Populus tremuloides and P. grandidentata) and several other woods are also employed, but on a smaller scale. The total consumption of wood for paper in the United States for 1906 was 3,660,000 cords, of which 2,500,000 was spruce. Of this, however, 720,000 cords were imported from Canada.
2. The chief product of the Southern forest is the yellow pine. This is the collective term for the longleaf, shortleaf, loblolly and Cuban pines. Of these the longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.), called pitch-pine in Europe, is the most important. Its timber is probably superior in strength and durability to that of any other member of the genus Pinus, and in addition to its value as a timber tree it is the source of naval stores in the United States. The average size of the mature longleaf pine is 90 ft. in height and 20 in. in diameter. Shortleaf (Pinus echinata) and loblolly (P. taeda) are other important members of this group. Their wood very closely resembles that of the longleaf pine and is often difficult to distinguish from it. The trees are also of about the same size and height. Loblolly is, however, of more rapid growth. The total cut of yellow pine in 1906 was 11,661,000,000 board ft.; it has perhaps not yet reached its maximum, but is certainly near it.
Another important coniferous tree of the Southern forest is the bald cypress (Taxodium distichum), which grows in the swamps. The cut in 1906 was 839,000,000 board ft., a gain of 69% over 1899.
3. But the great supply of coniferous timber is now on the Pacific Coast. The Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga taxifolia), also known as Douglas spruce, red fir and Oregon pine, is the foremost tree in Oregon and Washington, and the redwood in California. When mature the Douglas fir averages 200 ft. in height and 4 ft. in diameter, and the redwood 225 ft. in height and 8 ft. in diameter. Other important trees of the Pacific Coast are sugar pine (Pinus lambertiana), western red cedar (Thuja plicata), western larch (Larix occidentalis), Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis), western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) and western yellow pine (Pinus ponderosa). These trees will all be of increasing importance.
Logging on the Pacific Coast is characterized by the use of powerful machinery and by extreme skill in handling enormous weights. This is especially true in California, where the logs of redwood and of the big tree (Sequoia Washingtoniana) are often more than 10 ft. in diameter. Logging is usually done by wire cables operated by donkey-engines. The journey to the mill is usually by rail. The mills are often of great size, built on piles over tide water and so arranged that their product is delivered directly from the saws and dry kilns to vessels moored alongside. The products of the Pacific Coast forest make their way over land to the markets of the central and eastern states and into foreign markets. Among the lumber-producing states, Washington has in seven years jumped from fifth place to first, and its output has increased from 1,428,000,000 board ft. in 1899 to 4,305,000,000 ft. in 1906. Oregon and California have increased their output from 734,000,000 each in 1899 to 1,605,000,000 and 1,349,000,000 ft. respectively in 1906. Of the total output of these three states (7,259,000,000 ft.) 4,880,000,000 ft. is Douglas fir and 660,000,000 redwood.
4. The important lumber trees of the Rocky Mountain forest are the western yellow pine, the lodgepole pine, the Douglas fir and the Engelmann spruce. The Douglas fir, here extremely variable in size and value, reaches in this region average dimensions of perhaps 80 ft. in height by 2 ft. in diameter, the western yellow pine 90 ft. by 3 ft. and the Engelmann spruce 60 ft. by 2 ft. Mining, railroad and domestic uses chiefly absorb the annual timber product, which is considerable in quantity, and of vast importance to the local population. The lumber output of the Rocky Mountain region is, however, increasing very rapidly both in the north and in the south-west. One of the largest mills in the United States is in Idaho.
The following table summarizes the cut of the important coniferous species during the years 1899-1906:
|Kind.||1899.||1904.||1906.|| Per Cent Increase |
(+) or Decrease
(−) since 1899.
|Yellow Pine||9,659||11,533||11,661||+ 20.7|
|Douglas Fir||1,737||2,928||4,970||+ 186.2|
|White Pine||7,742||5,333||4,584||− 40.8|
|Western Pine||944||1,279||1,387||+ 46.9|
Hardwoods.—The hardwood supply of the country is derived almost entirely from the eastern half of the continent, and comes from each of the three great Eastern forest regions.
The following table shows the cut of the important species of hardwoods for 1899 and 1906:
or Decrease (−).
|Red gum||285,417||453,678||+ 59.0|
|All other||208,504||87,637||− 58.0|
Oak, which in 1899 furnished over half the entire output, has fallen off 36.5%. Yellow poplar, which in 1899 was second among the hardwoods, has fallen off 38% and now occupies third place; and elm, the great stand-by in slack cooperage, has fallen 50.8%. On the other hand less valuable species like maple and red gum have advanced 39 and 59% respectively.
The decrease is largely due to the fact that the hardwoods grow naturally on the better classes of soil, and in the eastern United States where the population has always been the densest, and as a consequence of this, a large proportion of the original hardwood land has been cleared up and put under cultivation. The hardwood supply of the future must be obtained chiefly from the Appalachian region, where the conditions are less favourable to agriculture.
In addition to the lumber cut, enormous quantities of hardwoods are used each year for railroad ties, telephone and other poles, piles, fence posts and fuel, and there is a great, amount of waste in the course of lumbering and manufacture.
- These net imports are received from non-European countries. They consist chiefly of valuable hardwoods, like teak, mahogany, eucalypts and others.
- The United States fiscal year ends June 30, and receives its designation from the calendar year in which it terminates. Thus, the fiscal year 1898 is the year July 1, 1897-June 30, 1898.
- Administration transferred to Bureau of Forestry, February 1, 1905.
- Woods waste includes tops, stumps, cull logs and butts, but does not include defective trees left or trees used for road purposes.
- Mill waste includes bark, kerf, slabs and edgings.
- Not separately reported.