Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 83.djvu/601

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PSM V83 D601 American forestry students with german foresters.png

Group of American Forest Students and German Oberförsters in a German State Forest.

Even in Germany the forester has his troubles. There are still difficulties to overcome, and more or less serious questions to face. I became acquainted with one of the problems of the Saxon state forest. This was near Schwarzenberg, practically in the manufacturing center of Saxony. Here the damage done by the sulphur fumes and other poisonous gases that came from the smokestacks of numerous factories is enormous. No wonder the Oberforster was embarrassed, for the condition of a large area of the forest under his charge was desperate. Trees, dead and dying by the thousands. Fortunately, being of true German pluck and persistency he was not discouraged. He was making some well-directed experiments to determine the species least susceptible to smoke and poisonous fumes. It is now well known that conifers are more affected than broad-leaf species, and that the spruce is the most sensitive of the conifers. This later species is being removed as fast as possible and hardwood species are being substituted. Dr. Wislicenus, of the Saxon forest school at Tharandt, who is a distinguished investigator, has devised a perforated smokestack which he believes will greatly lessen the injury caused by smoke, sulphur fumes and other injurious gases.

Another difficulty of which many foresters bitterly complain is the injury done to seedlings and young trees by deer, rabbits and other forms of wild game. It is true that the revenue from the hunting licenses offset the injury in some degree, yet the absolute loss is often serious and irreparable. All known methods of efficient protection are expensive.

In some states the greatest difficulty of all lies in the exercise of