Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/13

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
5
METHODS AND PROFIT OF TREE-PLANTING.

one year, whereas in the other, by biting and mangling one year's shoot, mischief is done to at least three years' growth." But he has quite understated the possible if not probable damage. At the Vienna Exposition in 1873 there was a convention of forest managers from most of the European countries, and an extensive exhibition of forest products. Among these there were sections of trees taken from a forest property near Krainburg, and designed to illustrate the comparative growth of trees when properly protected and cultivated and when exposed to browsing animals. There were shown trees which in thirty years had attained a height of only thirty inches, and others of the same age which had grown near them, but protected from animals, that were twenty-eight feet in height. The cubic contents of sixteen hundred trees, exposed and protected, were measured, with this result: in the unpastured woods, three thousand and fifty-six cubic feet; in the pastured woods, eleven. The annual increase of growth was found to be as one hundred to one, or a loss of ninety-nine per cent, of possible results. Here certainly is food for study.

In many of the ancient forests of Europe there has come down, by immemorial usage, the feudal right of the neighboring peasants to pasturage; but so injurious is the exercise of this right felt to be that the owners of the forests make it one of their chief endeavors to extinguish this right, by purchase or otherwise, whenever they can.

Again, looking upon his trees as a crop, the planter will engage in his work with a patient forecasting of the future. His success or failure does not depend upon what he may do, or fail to do, in a single season or a single year. His trees will come to maturity only with the lapse of generations. He may be planting in part for his grandchildren rather than for himself, except so far as they are himself. The pine, for example, is reckoned to come to maturity only after a growth of one hundred and sixty years. All the more need, therefore, for the adoption of a proper method, and that he should

"Learn to labor and to wait."

The European managers of forests, in forming their plantations, allow from one hundred and twenty to one hundred and sixty years as the period of growth, or of rotation, as they call it. In laying out a forest plantation they will divide the proposed tract into six or eight sections, planting one every twenty years, and, when the whole is planted, cutting and renewing a section every twenty years. Meantime there is a thinning process going on all the while, as the trees grow and require more room for their proper development. By this division of a forest into sections, they avoid the evil effects upon water-supply, climate, etc., resulting from the sweeping off of large forests at one time.

European foresters also insist strongly upon the importance of drainage for the best growth of the forest. They urge that this is