Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 39.djvu/732

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

ellipse is described as the bird is carried upward and backward, the other as it advances and descends. This theory makes the circling and soaring depend on variations in the force of the wind. But even when the breeze is steady birds seem to have the power of modifying its action by shifting the angle at which their wings are presented to it.

 

United States Division of Forestry.—Chief-of-division B. E. Fernow, in his report on Forestry, gives as the chief object of the establishment of the division the prospective danger to the future of wood-supplies arising from the heavy drains to which our virgin forests are subjected without any provision for recuperation or reforestation; the destructive nature of the measures now used for utilizing the natural forest areas; and the desirability, for the sake of climatic amelioration, of encouraging tree-growth on the treeless areas of the West and on regions of the East that have been made treeless. The capacity of yield of our present wooded area is estimated to be only half of the present computed consumption. In addition to the estimates we have reports from various manufacturers noticing the decline of supplies of particular kinds. It is thus obvious that the present rate of consumption is greatly in excess of the supply. The effect of unwise denudation upon soil, water-flow, and climatic conditions has been made a continued study, in the light of experiments and experiences in other countries rather than in our own. The results of Prof. Harrington's investigations into the literature of the subject are to be published. There are three methods open by which the Government can promote a change in present forest conditions: by placing its own timber holdings under rational treatment; by direct aid to those who would apply forestry principles in caring for the natural woodlands or in creating new forest areas; and by supplying information. The effort to promote timber-culture by offering free entries of land for planting one sixteenth of it in trees has not been successful. Bona fide settlers have failed, through unfavorable climatic conditions and ignorance of method and of plant material suited to the localities, to obtain the required stand of trees. A modification of the law, rather than its repeal, is suggested. Information has been supplied by the division in circulars, bulletins, addresses, papers, and informal talks to associations and meetings. Among the publications were circulars giving instructions for the growing of seedlings and for the treatment of seedlings in the nursery. The most important publication was one on the substitution of metal for wood in railroad ties. A check list of our forest trees is in preparation as a means in securing uniformity in nomenclature; and an examination is planned of our prominent timbers in regard to their technical and physical properties in order to ascertain, if possible, how far these properties depend upon the conditions under which the trees are grown, how far physical properties influence mechanical properties, and whether a simple method can not be devised of determining the quality of timber by gross examination of structure.

 

Forest in Hungary.—Of the 9,200,000 hectares (about 22,000,000 acres) of forest in Hungary, the Government owns about 1,500,000 hectares (or 3,500,000 acres), while the rest belongs to public bodies and private persons. The Government does not sell any part of its forests, but buys more each year. In some parts of the country, as in the eastern region of the Carpathians, woods are found of several thousand acres in extent, consisting for the most part of red beech. This is used for fire-wood, carriages, staves, and agricultural implements, and in the manufacture of bent wood. There are few fires, and they seldom permanently damage the woods. There are large resinous forests in Transylvania, but they are not very accessible; and there are also some in the district of Marmaros, in the northeast of the country.

 

International Selfishness.—The tidal wave of high tariffs that seems to be passing around the globe at the present time reveals an attitude of many peoples toward neighboring countries which is little better than that existing between communities during the most quarrelsome ages of history. The advocates of restrictive tariffs are not onlv zealous to increase sales for their own