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Full text of "The proper value and management of government timber lands and the distribution of North American forest trees, being papers read at the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, May 7-8, 1884"

Historic, archived document 

Do not assume content reflects current 
scientific knowledge, policies, or practices 



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE. 

m i^.— 

MISCELLANEOUS. SPECIAL REPORT No. 5. 



THE PROPER VALUE AND MANAGEMENT 



OF 



GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS 



AND THE 



DISTRIBUTION OF NORTH AMERICAN FOREST TREES, 



BEING 



PAPERS READ AT THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT 
OF AGRICULTURE, MAY 7-8, 1884. 



WASHINGTON: 

GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE. 
1884. 



16093 TIM 



CONTENTS 



Page. 

1. The value of American timber lands. Franklin B. Hough 6 

2. The value and management of Government timber lands. N. H. Egleston . . 11 

3. The value and management of the timber lands of the United States. F. P. 

Baker 17 

4. Value and management of Government timber lands. B-. E. Fernow 22 

5. The preservation of Forests on the headwaters of streams. M. C. Read 27 

6. The distribution of North American forest trees. George Vasey 38 

7. Address of Hon. K. W. Phipps, Toronto, Ontario 43 



VALUE AND MANAGEMENT OP GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS AND 
DISTRIBUTION OP NORTH AMERICAN POREST TREES. 



THE VALUE OF AMERICAN TIMBER LANDS. 

By Feanklin B. Hough, LoivviUe, New York 

This question lies at the foundation of the whole subject of American 
Forestry, and must largely influence the action of the owners of land, 
whatever they may do, in the preservation or planting of woodlands. 
The term "unimproved," which we apply to forest land, has come down 
to us from the pioneer as a synonym for " unproductive " or " unprofit- 
able," and we sometimes hear of land being cleared because the owner 
" cannot afford to lay out of the use of it any longer." 

We will attempt to point out the fallacy of these notions, and to show 
that an estate vested in woodlands, is neither unproductive nor un- 
profitable $ but that on the contrary it is productive in revenue, reason- 
ably safe as an investment, beyond the reach of speculative changes in 
value, and certain in its returns. 

It may be remarked in the beginning, that since no lands have been 
hitherto reserved by our general or State governments for the main- 
tenance and future supply of timber, and as the titles have passed to 
private owners, throughout the whole of the settled portions of the 
country — neither of these forms of government can have anything' to do 
with the management of these lands. So far as foreign forest codes 
have reference to the management of woodlands upon the public domain, 
or upon estates owned by local communities or to public institutions, 
we can derive no aid from them, nor have we an interest in the juris- 
prudence that has arisen in the administration of these rights. From 
the simple and absolute tenure of our titles, we shall be for the most 
part wholly free from all the vexations and perplexities that elsewhere 
arise between landlord and tenant, or in the enjoyment of rights of 
common usage. 

In some of the States, as in New York, certain tracts of wild land, 
once private property, have reverted to the State by failure of their 
owners to pay taxes. It is probable that these lands are very poor, and 
that the most of the timber has been cut off. Their reversion necessi- 
tates some plan of care and management, and questions of water supply 
and climatic influences are coming in with the arguments they afford 
in favor of legislative action in their behalf. But under these circum- 



b GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 

stances the question of present value or of future profits scarcely comes, 
into the account, and will not be further considered on this occasion. 
The subject before us is, the ownership of woodlands by individuals, 
and the profits or losses that may affect their value, or operate as mo- 
tives for their maintenance or their clearing. 

It may be stated as a rule without exception, that the individual will 
govern his action as to woodlands as he does as to his fields, in the 
manner that will best serve his personal interest, and wholly without 
regard to any theories as to the effect it may have upon the public wel- 
fare. 

It is further found, as the experience of the world, and it is especially 
true in our own country where the laws are made by those who are gov- 
erned by them, that public control will not be tolerated in the manage- 
ment of private property, unless a public interest is to be protected 
thereby, and the reason of interference is just and evident. 

We have before us another fact which is of the highest importance in 
this connection. We are at present wholly without any provision on 
the part of Government for the maintenance of woodlands upon the pub- 
lic domain, and as this domain is fast passing to private owners, there 
is not even a remote probability that any considerable part of the tim- 
ber for the supply of our wants will ever be grown upon our public 
lands. If to this we add. the fact that no foreign country has a sur- 
plus to supply us, we are led to the conclusion that whatever timber 
the future may require must be supplied from private lands. 

It may require a crisis of want and high prices, the result of improvi- 
dence, to convince our people of the value of growing timber, but when- 
ever such a time does come, the lesson will be learned and remembered, 
and our people will begin to see value in a growing tree. 

We should seek to avoid the inconvenience and distress which scarcity 
and high prices would unavoidably occasion ; and I regard the tend- 
ency of our "Arbor days," and school festivals in the interest of plant- 
ing as in the highest degree beneficial — not so much for what is actually 
done, as for the effect it may have upon our young people, the scholars 
now in our schools, who will in a few years become the owners of our 
lands. It need not be said, for it is evident, that the planting and pro- 
tection of groves and woodlands will not be undertaken by those who 
have spent a part of their lives in clearing land, nor by those who have 
acquired the notion that land has no productive value until it has been 
cleared. 

The planting and care of woodlands leads to an appreciation and en- 
joyment of sylvan scenery, and every measure tending to the cultiva- 
tion of rural tastes, is conducive to this end. We must first counter- 
act the habit of destruction and waste which was acquired by the pio- 
neer, or that has been handed down from him, before a beginning can 
be made. This is the first task in popular education before us, and it 
is eminently proper that it should begin in our schools. 



GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 7 

As the laud-owner will be governed by bis own particular interest, 
with little regard for tbe general welfare, or the profit of others, he must 
be convinced that there is something to be gained by him in an enter- 
prise before he will undertake it. As the returns of forestry are more 
or less remote, it will require a certain degree of foresight, of intelli- 
gence, and of faith in the future, in order to enable him to realize the 
prospects of the enterprise, and the extent and certainty of his returns. 

In new industries where experience is wanting and experiment is neces- 
sary before success is assured it has been found good policy on the part 
of Government to encourage undertaking by bounties, premiums, ex- 
emptions from taxation, and other inducements for a limited time, and 
until the experience needed for successful operation had been acquired. 
It is by these means, and the further aid to be derived from experiment 
stations, scientific researches, and the diffusion of knowledge upon the 
subject, that the State governments may render the most substantial 
assistance in the advancement of Forestry. 

As for bounties and premiums, their offer implies some competent and 
impartial agency for deciding between rival applicants. In the State 
of New York, in former years, the Judges of the County Courts, the So- 
ciety for the Promotion of the Useful Arts, a Board of Agriculture, and 
the State and County Agricultural Societies have upon several occasions 
been empowered to examine and decide upon questions of this nature. 
There can be no question but that in the absence of State Forestry Asso- 
ciations the general or local Agricultural and Horticultural Societies 
throughout the country would be the best agencies for awarding these 
distinctions. • 

From the fixed and immovable nature of forest {property, nothing* 
could be done in the way of exhibition to the general public, excepting 
in the way of excursions, as is done by the Scottish Arboricultural and 
other Societies, but a great deal of benefit could be derived from the re- 
ports of visiting committees, statistical returns, and plain practical essays 
by competent and experienced observers and special agents. The best 
of these essays and reports should be rewarded by suitable prizes, and 
they should be widely distributed among those who would be most 
benefited by them. 

In whatever manner these bounties or prizes might be offered, or 
any exemption from taxation in aid of planting might be allowed, it 
would not be good policy to make them unlimited as to time. A busi- 
ness that needs perpetual relief or support is a poor one, and if it can- 
not stand alone after fair assistance in the beginning it presents no 
inducement to enterprise; it will invite no investment of capital, and 
may as well be abandoned altogether. 

In the recent discussions upon the forest question in New York, some 
have suggested the suspension of all taxes upon all existing woodlands 
as an inducement for their preservation. In my opinion this would be 
unwise and unjust ; in fact, that it would not tend to the end proposed, 



8 GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 

nor would it encourage planting. On the other hand, an exemption for 
a limited period, say from ten to twenty years, upon denuded lands 
when planted would tend directly to encouragement, and might itself, 
in many cases, x^resent an inducement where nothing would have been 
done without it. In some States, as in Nebraska, where the constitu- 
tion forbids the exemption of any kind of property from taxation, the 
Legislature has gone to the extent of its power in declaring lands thus 
planted as not liable to any increased valuation by reason of plant- 
ing. This general or partial exemption from taxation for a limited time 
I regard as eminently proper ; but beyond this it would afford just rea- 
son of complaint from the owners of property in other forms, and if en- 
acted it would not long be endured. 

In the Prairie States, where the want of wood was among the first to be 
felt, the settlers needed no arguments to enforce the motives for plant- 
ing, and in these States we now find by far the greatest number of 
young plantations, and the most intelligence in their management. The 
facility with which lumber has been brought in by the railroads has 
relieved these sections of the country from an experience that would 
have been trying without them, and has doubtless limited forest-tree 
planting to a point far below what may hereafter be found a proper 
amount ; but the beginning made is good, and the fault is only in its not 
going far enough. It admits of extension as the want becomes felt, 
and will doubtless be expanded hereafter as the demand and prices jus- 
tify until it meets at least the local requirements. 

In some instances the substitution of coal for fuel, and of iron for 
buildings, bridges, and naval architecture, has undoubtedly reduced 
very largely the consumption of wood and timber in the country. But 
it may be doubted as to whether these substitutions for wood have in 
reality tended to prolong our forest supplies. On the contrary, it has, 
by reducing the current prices, withdrawn the motives for longer main- 
tenance, and upon many farms throughout the country the reserved 
wood lots have been cleared off as no longer needed for the family's 
use. Still these changes in the use of materials for fuel and construc- 
tion are most fortunate, and they may be extended a great deal further 
with the greatest benefit. In Europe it has long ago been learned that 
not only theuvalls but the roofs and floors of buildings can be made 
of cheaper and better materials than wood ; that wooden fences can be 
almost wholly dispensed with ; that pavements and platforms of stone 
or brick are more economical and durable than those of plank, and 
that even iron railway ties and telegraph poles, although expensive at 
first, have advantages that, upon the whole, give them preference for 
use. 

But however far these economies in the use of substitutes for wood 
may be carried, the demand is steadily increasing as a material for 
manufactures, and every year is adding the number of uses to which 
wood may be applied, and for which nothing else can be substituted. 



GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. V 

The preparation of wood-pulp for paper; the distillation of acetates for 
chemical purposes ; the multiplication of tanneries, and the increase of 
establishments for the making of railway cars, wagons, joinery, furni- 
ture, agricultural implements, and the innumerable other articles for 
which nothing but wood can be used, present a vast and growing de- 
mand upon our woodlands, which is steadily and surely reducing their 
area and exhausting their supplies. 

At present prices, and upon highly fertile and arable lands, the 
grasses, grains, and fruits yield without doubt a more profitable re- 
turn than could be realized from timber growth. But there are con- 
siderable tracts of land too broken and stony for cultivation that are 
in fact good for nothing else, but on which timber trees majr be grown 
as well as if the surface were entirely smooth and free of stones. There 
are hillsides too steep for prudent pasturage, barren hill-tops that need 
forest protection, and ravines and river banks now suffering from 
erosions, that might be filled with woodland growth, without sensibly 
reducing the area that may be profitably employed in agriculture, and 
at very small expense. 

In many parts of the country we find fields exhausted by improvident 
tillage, and often thrown out and abandoned as waste, that might be 
occupied by woodlands and restored in fertility by the annual decay 
of leaves. The exhaustion does not generally extend deep, and the 
subsoil will be found amply sufficient for the growth of forest trees. 
In places like these timber culture will pay, even at present prices, a 
moderately fair percentage, and almost without cost. In every case, 
however, it is profitable to give attention to a tract that is coming up 
as a spontaneous second growth. Poor and worthless species may be 
suppressed, and the more valuable kinds favored; a dense growth may 
be thinned out, and vacant places may be filled in without much ex- 
pense, and with great profit in the end. 

It need not be denied that large forest estates cannot be managed so 
as to produce large tfmber without an investment of capital, and that 
they cannot be held excepting by those who can afford to wait for the 
returns. Some of the great state forests in Europe are worked in pe- 
riods of a hundred years and more, and the plans of management, the 
periods of thinnings, and time of final cutting are decided upon in the 
beginning, and are carried out without change to the end. The returns, 
although long delayed, are very large, and the interest upon the invest- 
ment, above all expenses, is a reasonably fair one. The yield is several 
times greater than that of a common wild wood, with all its chances of 
injury from accident and neglect. If anything of this kind is ever seen 
in our country, it will probably be in the hands of some stock com- 
pany or corporation, which, having acquired large tracts of broken land 
at a low price, may adopt the most approved methods for conducting 
their business, and may be able, as the market prices of timber may 
hereafter range, to divide a reasonably large surplus over all expenses. 



10 GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 

It would be a great and positive gain if we could convince the own- 
ers of land (and it is unquestionably true and capable of proof) that 
planted lands, under ordinary conditions, have an additional value from 
the beginning, and that this value is increasing every year at a gaining 
rate. If the owner wishes to sell at any time, the land and the growth upon 
it will always command a price equal to the first value, added to value 
gained by growth. In many cases already the native timber upon wild 
land will sell for as much as the average farming land of the vicinity, 
leaving the land itself still in possession of the former owner. With 
proper protection from cattle and from fires, this same land in from 
thirty to fifty years, will have regained a similar growth, with whatever 
advantagcthere may be gained from advanced prices. 

There are incidental advantages from the cultivation of groves and 
wood-lands interspersed among arable fields, aud it might be shown that 
the farm crops afford a greater and more certain yield from the pres- 
ence of woodlands between them. But with the present state of intel- 
ligence upon these subjects among the general class of our landholders, it 
is not probable that these considerations would have weight, unless en- 
tirely in accord with their own ideas of present or immediate advantage, 
nor can we ever expect any concerted and general action among them 
founded upon ideas of a public benefit. 

The planting done hereafter upon private lands, must be visibly for 
the owner's advantage, and nothing else. It will not be done by a ten- 
ant, unless be is hired and paid for it ; nor by the man of limited means, 
unless having special skill, he can find profit in selling his young plan- 
tations and undertaking others. 

Under the present depressed condition of agricultural affairs in Great 
Britain, a suggestion has been made that the planting of forest trees 
might bring a better return than farm crops, as well as a benefit to the 
country. If this is true upon land where the raising of farm crops is 
possible, how much more so it must be upon lands now unimproved, 
but still suitable for tree-planting. 

According to the last census, over 11 per cent, of the land included 
in farms is reported as unimproved — neither cultivated, pastured, nor in 
woodland, but waste. That this condition should exist in the prairie 
States and Territories, still but partly settled, need not surprise us ; but 
7 per cent, in Massachusetts, 6 per cent, in Connecticut, 3 per cent, in 
New York and Pennsylvania, about 3 per cent, in New Jersey, and so 
on of the older States, is too much ; for in these States there are no 
tracts of dry land upon which trees of some kind cannot be grown. 

As we cannot compel by law the private owner to plant, we must per- 
suade him by pointing out the advantages to be derived from it — if 
not in returns that he can touch in his life-time — with certainty in an 
increased value in his property, Avhether sold or left as an inheritance 
to his family. The landowner must be convinced that where he ex- 
pends money or labor in planting he is putting these values at interest, 



GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 11 

and that they will come back to hiin at certain future intervals of time, 
or at a fixed period, with these accrued values, or that their worth may 
be realized should he wish to sell. It is a work of popular education, 
through the various agencies by which public opinion is created or in- 
fluenced, and upon these we must depend for whatever result may be 
obtained. 



THE VALUE AND MANAGEMENT OF GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 

By N. H. EGLESTON,C7ae/"o/ the Forestry Division of the Agricultural Department. 

The value of Government timber lands, like that of all timber lands, 
is of two kinds. They have a value for their commercial products, such 
as lumber, bark, resins, seeds, &c. This value will depend upon the 
character of the trees growing on the lands, their kind, their abund- 
ance, their size, their accessibility, the facilities for obtaining their prod- 
ucts, the distance at which they are from a proper market, and the 
character of the demand for them or their products. These, not to 
mention other considerations, must enter into any satisfactory estimate 
of the commercial value of any timber lands. This value of timber 
lands, therefore, will vary greatly with time and place. Fifty years ago, 
for instance, the great pine forests of Michigan had, we may say, no 
commercial value, because they were so remote from population, and, 
consequently, from market that there was no demand for what has since 
sold for millions and made thousands rich. Ten years ago the timber 
lands of Oregon and Washington Territory had little, if any, commer- 
cial value, for the same reason. Now, the completion of the Pacific 
Eailroad, and the approximate exhaustion of the forests of Michigan, 
Wisconsin, and Minnesota have given a greatly increased value to 
those lands. 

So, again, forests, composed of the best kinds of trees, may be grow- 
ing on mountain sides of such altitude and so difficult of approach that 
they will not pay any one for converting them either into lumber or fuel. 
Or they may be growing in inaccessible swamps, and on that account 
will have no commercial value, and the lands sustaining such forests 
will have no market price. 

But timber lands have another value besides that which is commer- 
cial, and this may be a higher one than any which can be measured 
by dollars and cents. This may be called their climatic and hygienic 
value, though in many cases it blends intimately with the commercial. 
The most careful and scientific investigations have shown beyond ques- 
tion that forests have a very perceptible influence in modifying climate. 
They have much to do with the temperature and moisture of the atmos- 
phere in their vicinity and for a considerable distance from them. They 
influence the atmospheric currents. If they are not direct producers of 
rain they affect its distribution. They have much to do with the flow 



12 GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 

of streams, and so with all the hygrometric conditions and influences 
connected with them. They thus become potent factors in determining 
the character of the climate of any particular region. They have, there- 
fore, an important bearing upon health as well as upon the agricultural? 
commercial, and manufacturing interests of a country. Instances are 
not rare in which the removal of forests has been followed by insalu- 
brity of climate and the restoration of the forests has been accompanied 
by its corresponding improvement. The destruction of the forests in 
many European and Asiatic countries has greatly lessened the agri- 
cultural productiveness of those countries. Lands once teeming with 
valuable grains and fruits have been made almost deserts by the de- 
struction of the forests which once protected them. Streams which once 
bore the commerce of nations have ceased to be navigable, in consequence 
of the removal of the forests which formerly sheltered their head springs, 
while the navigation of other streams is becoming more and more diffi- 
cult from year to year as the destruction of the forests, in which their 
head springs are situated or through which they flow, proceeds. 

It is plain, therefore, that while some forests may have little commer- 
cial value, and on this account may be worthy of little notice, and may 
not be reckoned among the items of individual or of national wealth, 
they may be of the greatest importance in other respects and have a 
value so great that all the care and power of a nation may properly be 
called into requisition for their preservation. This climatic or meteoro- 
logic value of forests has only recently been recognized to any consid- 
erable extent, though individuals — the more thoughtful and observing — 
have seen it and taken notice of it to some extent from a very early 
period. But as. it has come to be more widely recognized, especially 
during the last hundred years, and more particularly still during the 
last fifty, many of the European countries have made the management 
of the forests one of the most prominent and urgent duties of the gov- 
ernment. In Germany and France, especially, this is the case. Laws 
most particular and imperative are enacted for the purpose of preserv- 
ing existing forests or planting and maintaining forests where they 
have formerly been cut off, but where they are needed for climatic or 
other reasons affecting the public health or welfare. The individual 
landholder is not permitted to sweep away his forest trees at his pleas- 
ure as he is with us, but, on the principle " salus populi suprema lex," 
he can only cut the trees so far and so fast as the authorities hav- 
ing this matter in charge pron ounce to be consistent with the general 
interest, and then, usually, it is only on condition that a young tree 
shall be planted wherever an old one is cut. The forests belonging to 
the Government are managed in the same way, and while they are thus 
made conducive to the general welfare they are also made the source 
of large revenues. The budgets show that in the year 1883 Prussian 
Germany expended $8,128,625 in the care and management of her pub- 
lic forests, and received from the same, from the sale of lumber and 



GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 13 

other products and the privilege of hunting and fishing, -813,092,875, or 
a net revenue of $4,964,250, while France during the same time ex- 
pended 14,405,032 francs and received 35,768,900 francs, or a net profit 
of 21,363,868 francs, or $4,272,773 in round numbers. 

Xow, as to the value of our Government timber lands, to the consid- 
eration of which this paper is restricted, only an approximate estimate 
can be formed, for the reason that we know comparatively little about 
the timber lands belonging to the Government. Strange to say the 
Government has taken hardly any account of its timber lands. In the 
disposal of its lands the Government has gone upon the presumption 
that they would be used for agricultural purposes. In surveying them 
for the purpose of selling them, and so defining their boundaries that a 
satisfactory description and location of them could be given to the pur- 
chaser, they have been plotted by simple right lines, running north and 
south, east and west. The character of the land has been taken into ac- 
count very little. To some extent the field notes of the surveyors give 
information as to swamps and wooded lands, but only a special examina- 
tion by the contemplating purchaser could enable him to decide as to 
the real value of any piece of land. The vast amount of forests on the 
public domain, worth more than all its lands if cleared of timber, worth 
more than all the minerals within the ground, capable of yielding, in 
connection with private forests, products annually of greater commercial 
value than the largest cereal crop or that of cotton, the Government has 
taken no notice of. It has not regarded them as adding one dollar to 
its assets. It has put no higher price upon a section of land having 
timber on it worth thousands of dollars than it has upon a section of the 
poorest open land, destitute of tree or shrub, swept by the blizzards of 
the north or the siroccos from the Gulf and favored with so little rain- 
fall as to forbid any profitable cultivation. 

The only recognition of value in timber was in the early years of the 
present century, when the superior quality of the live-oak for ship- 
building induced some legislation on the part of Congress for the preser- 
vation of the limited amount of that timber growing in some of the 
Southern States, in order to provide a sufficient supply for the con- 
struction of our naval vessels. 

In recent years, as great depredations have been made upon the pub- 
lic timber lands in other parts of the country, some efforts have been 
made to restrain them. But this has been done only to a partial extent, 
and by certain rulings and constructions by which the acts referring to 
the appropriation of the live-oak timber have been made applicable to 
other timber rather than by any express legislation designed to meet the 
case. The Government cannot be said to have taken any such action as 
would indicate that it regards its timber as valuable property, to be 
guarded and protected as property should be. 

If it is asked, then, what is the value of the Government timber lands, 
the answer must be, we cannot tell, because the Government has not 



14 GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 

even taken a proper inventory of its lands. It does not know how 
much timber land it possesses, nor what is its quality. We can estimate 
its value only approximately. In reply to an inquiry on the subject, 
the Commissioner of the Land Office says, " There is more or less timber 
in all the States and Territories containing public lands, but since such 
lands are not classified as to timber, the proportion of the same in each 
cannot be arrived at by this office." 

Without, therefore, venturing upon any figures to represent the com- 
mercial value of the timber lands, inasmuch as we know so little as to 
the quantity of such lands or the quality of the timber growing upon 
them, we can only say, and this we can say with all confidence, that 
the estimated 84,000,000 acres of timber land still belonging to the 
Government must have a large commercial value. Some of it may be 
so situated as to have but little appreciable value now. But with the 
progressive settlement of the country and the increasing demands for 
lumber the value of such lands will be increasing rapidly. In Michi- 
gan and Wisconsin and in other States railroads are built for the very 
purpose of getting access to timber and bringing it to market. So a 
tract of timber which to-day has little if any appreciable value, may in 
twelve months, by the advent of a railway, be made more valuable than 
a mine of silver or gold. The commercial value of timber lands belong- 
ing to the Government is greater than that of similar lands belonging 
to private persons. The Government is under no necessity of disposing 
of its property within a particular limit of time as the individual owner 
usually is. It can wait for the fullest development of the value of its 
timber by the growth of centuries if need be. But this fact makes the 
more imperative the duty of the Government to protect such prop- 
erty both from injury and destruction. 

As to the marketable value of the Government timber lands, while a 
portion of such lands, on account of present inaccessibility or distance 
from settlements or important commercial points, may have but little 
value, much of those lands are saleable, and would be in greater demand 
than they are were it not for the fact that forest fires render such prop- 
erty hazardous and that unscrupulous persons find it cheaper to steal 
timber than to buy it. The very fact also of the plundering of the 
Government timber lands proves, wherever it occurs, that the timber 
on such lands has a present market value. Men do not steal what has 
no value. Even the slight care which the Government has extended 
to its forests has resulted in the discovery that they have been plun- 
dered to the extent of several millions of dollars' worth of timber. 

But apart from their pecuniary or commercial value, timber lands 
have a value which may be even greater, certainly more indispensable, 
than that. As modifiers and safeguards of climate, and thus having a 
bearing upon the health and comfort of the people and the productive- 
ness of the agriculturists' fields ; as distributors of rain-fall and regu- 
lators of streams, and thus having a bearing upon both commerce and 



GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 15 

manufactures, they have a combined value which no figures can repre- 
sent, but which is not the less, only greater, on that account. Their 
value in these respects is so great that their loss has been the ruin of 
nations, and if we are to maintain our prosperity as a nation we must 
maintain to a proper extent our forests. The tokens of coining trouble 
from the destruction of our forests are already visible. But the results 
of our rapid and reckless waste of them are not yet fully apparent. The 
complete effect of what we have done is not yet felt. Nature moves 
slowly. As we have been fifty years pursuing a course of conduct 
which has only in recent times so far developed its legitimate results as 
to excite our attention and beget alarm, so tho^e results will continue 
to be developed for years to come, do what we may to remove the causes 
of them and to restore the former condition of things. 

But this slowness with which natural causes work is the strongest 
argument for prompt and decisive action on our part. It will take 
years to arrest the evil results of our past action. . We ought on this 
account to begin the work without delay, while past experience should 
teach us to refrain from repeating in other parts of the country the in- 
considerate course of conduct which we have pursued. 

As to the management of the Government timber lands, clearly there 
should be a change from the course hitherto pursued. It would seem 
to be the plainest dictate of common sense that the Government should 
recognize the fact that in its timber lands it has a valuable property 
besides the lands themselves, and that as a wise proprietor it should 
care for and protect that property and use it for its own highest ad- 
vantage. Like a wise property-holder, it should first of all take an ac- 
count of stock, ascertain how much of this forest property it has, and 
how much it is worth. At present the Government does not know, ex- 
cept in a very indefinite way, where or what its timber lands are. It 
does not know how dense its forests are, of what kind of trees com- 
posed, how situated, how valuable for one use or another. The first 
thing a private person claiming to own this property would do would 
be to refuse to sell any of it until he had carefully examined it, and, 
having thus ascertained its adaptation for various uses, had been able 
to form an intelligent decision as to its most advantageous disposal. 
Why should not the United States Government act in a similar way? 
Why should it not suspend the sale of its timber lands until it can make 
an accurate Purvey of them and ascertain their character and situation, 
and their value for one purpose or another ? 

Having done this, such of its timber lands as it would be desirable to 
have preserved in a forest state, for climatic reasons or on account of 
the favorable influence which they would exert upon the flow of rivers 
and streams, should continue to be withheld from sale, the timber 
growing thereon alone being sold, and that only by selection of the full- 
grown trees from time to time, and not all at once as has been the usage 
with the forests. The trees should be sold by Government officers, who 



16 GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 

should be known as Forest Conservators, and the trees should be felled 
under their direction and in such a manner as not to injure the young 
and growing trees, and the place made vacant should be planted at once, 
so that the forest should be kept well stocked and in a growing, thrifty 
condition all the while. This is the way the Government forests are 
managed in Europe, and they are thus made an important source of 
revenue, while at the same time they are made the safeguards of public 
health, and promoters of the general welfare in many ways. So well 
satisfied are the people of the wisdon of this management, so convinced 
of the great importance to their welfare of an adequate supply of trees 
that the tendency is continually to increase the area of land devoted 
permanently to tree-growth instead of diminishing it, notwith standing 
the increase of population would tend to make inroads upon the for- 
ests in order to obtain additional land for tillage purposes. The people 
have become convinced that the most successful and remunerative till- 
age cannot be had without the aid and protection which the forests af- 
ford, while the trees are their best security against floods and droughts 
and devastating torrents. 

A step in the direction of forest preservation has lately been made 
by the proposal to the Senate by Senator Edmunds of a bill for an act 
reserving from sale and protecting from injury a tract of about 7,000 
square miles, mostly covered with timber, in the Territory of Montana, 
and embracing the head waters of the Missouri, the Columbia, and the 
Saskatchewan rivers. This proposal will meet the unhesitating ap- 
proval of every member of this forestry congress, and it is to be hoped 
the equally unhesitating approval of every member of the National 
Congress. Once committed to the preservation of the Government 
timber lands for the public good, as it would be by such an enactment, 
we should be encouraged in the expectation that the Government would 
adopt other measures of like character, as from time to time they should 
be seen to be desirable, and that in due time we should become wise 
husbanders of our national forest treasures, instead of the reckless wast- 
ers that we have been. 

Having thus ascertained what portion of our timber lands ought to 
be maintained in the forest condition and taken measures for its pres- 
ervation as such, the rest might be offered for sale outright as our 
lands have been in time past, or the timber only might, in this case also, 
be sold, as it is in Canada, no trees being allowed to be cut that are of 
less than a certain diameter, and the land itself remaining still the prop- 
erty of the Government. 

Such, it seems to me is the value, and such should be the management 
of the Government timber lands. Such a view of the subject implies a 
change, as has been seen, in the dealing of the Government in respect 
to its property in lands. It implies an increased expenditure in watch- 
ing, protecting, and disposing properly of its timber lands. But there 
is no property of the Government so valuable as this, and therefore so 



GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 17 

well deserving of expenditure for its protection and preservation. There 
is no property of the Government the care and protection of which will 
bring so large a return of profit to the State and of benefit to the 
people. It is estimated that the value of the annual products of our 
forests is not less than $800,000,000, outmeasuring the value of our great 
cereal crop, that of corn ; more than that of our crops of hay, rye, 
oats, barley, buckwheat, potatoes, and tobacco taken together, and ten 
times that of all our mines of gold and silver. Can we be too consid- 
erate or too liberal in expenditure for the care and preservation of such 
interests ? 



THE VALUE AND MANAGEMENT OF THE TIMBER LANDS OF THE 

UNITED STATES. 

By F. P. Bakee. 

It will be seen that the topic assigned me at this meeting refers not to 
the general forest area of the United States, belonging both to public 
and private parties, but that I am called upon to speak only of the forest 
lands actually belonging at this time to the National Government. 

It would be naturally supposed that there could be nothing easier 
than to find in official records the answers to two questions embraced in 
the title of this paper : 

1. How many acres of timber are owned by the Government; and 

2. What are those acres worth % 

Application to that well-informed and courteous gentleman, the Oooi- 
missioner of the General Land Office, revealed the fact, however, that 
the Government of the United States does not know how much timber 
it owns, where it is located, or its actual condition and value. All the 
figures in the possession of the Interior Department are, at best, meager 
and approximate. This condition of affairs of itself justifies the exist- 
ence of the Bureau of Forestry. There have, of course, been, volumes of 
reports on the subject of forestry in general of the United States, and of 
suggestions in regard to the preserving of the Government timber, but, 
as I have said, the report is still unwritten which contains a complete 
and satisfactory answer to him who would know the extent of those 
forests which are still under the absolute control of the Government. 

The volume issued by the Public Land Commission, and entitled 
" The Public Domain," estimates that in 1880 the Government still re- 
tained 85,000,000 acres of timber valued at $2.50 an acre, which would 
amount to $212,500,000. 

We are so accustomed to speaking of immense areas in connection 
with the public lands, that a hundred thousand or a million or so acres 
of land is considered a trifle, and in fact 85,000,000 acres is a small frac- 
tion of what was once the public domain, estimated at 1,852,310,987 
acres. 

16093 tim 2 



18 GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 

Yet 85,000,000 acres of forest comprised in one body would make a 
very respectable u wood lot," particularly when, at a low estimate, it 
was considered worth 8212,500,000. It is an area half as large as the 
State of Texas and more than three times as large as the State of Vir- 
ginia. It may seem strange that any uncertainty should exist in regard 
to a possession so valuable, but it must be remembered that the Gov- 
ernment has parted with a forest domain very much larger and more 
valuable without any special restraints or regulations conveying an 
idea of its special value. In disposing of the great forested States east 
of the Mississippi, forest lands were sold or granted at the same price 
or on the same conditions as any other lands. The Government never 
made any difference between forest and prairie, save that millions of acres 
of forest were disposed of, as if an incumbrance, under the vague title 
of " swamp lands." This is singular when we consider that the earliest 
settlers of the Western States set a great, in fact an undue, value on for- 
est lands for purely agricultural purposes. The first value of the prairie 
was at first imperfectly understood in States like Illinois, and the pio- 
neers clung to the wooded lands along the streams, and condemned 
themselves to years of hard work in consequence. Had the Govern- 
ment then placed a higher price on the timbered lands, it might have 
been better for all parties. The prairies would have been settled earlier 
and the lesson of the true use of forest taught in season. 

The past, however, cannot be recalled, and the first question before 
us is, what is the extent and value of the timbered lands still in pos- 
session of the Government 1 And, growing out of these questions, what, 
in the light of past experience, should be done with them 1 

In the absence of official figures, we cannot say just where all these 
lands are located, or which lands are the most valuable. In our search 
for them we must be guided by certain generally known facts. 

In the first place, it is, of course, understood that what are called ara- 
ble lands in the older States are occupied, and that the Government 
lands remaining unsold or undisposed of in these States are broken, 
mountainous, swampy, or sandy barrens, and such lands are covered 
with forest growth of greater or less value. So of the 23,000,000 acres 
of land in the Southern States which the Government owns, the larger 
part may be supposed to be forest. And as these lands lie, for the most 
part, in the States of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and 
Louisiana, it will be safe to say that the larger part of these lands are 
pine lands. 

The unsurveyed public lands lie in Minnesota, Nebraska, California, 
Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, L'tah, Arizona, New Mexico, 
Dakota, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Louisiana, Florida, Indian Terri- 
tory, and Alaska. 

Within this region lies, beside the lands in the Southern States, what 
is left of the forest domain of the United States Government. The 
Government in 1880 own*d in round numbers 28,000,000 surveyed acres 



GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 19 

in Minnesota and 5,000,000 surveyed acres in Wisconsin, but these by 
this time may be considered as passed or rapidly passing from the con- 
trol of the Government. 

Of the territory containing lands still belonging to the Government^ 
Nebraska and Dakota are prairie regions; Utah and New Mexico are,, 
to say the least, not timbered countries. The Indian Territory is not 
open to settlement, and with its present inhabitants nobody, outside 
of it, is concerned about its future. The unsurveyed lands in Florida 
are in the Everglades and are inaccessible. 

The timbered lands of the United States, then, in which the greatest 
interest should be felt are situated on the east and west slopes of the 
Rocky Mountains and parallel ranges in California, Nevada, Oregon, 
Washington, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, and much the 
largest proportion in California, Oregon, Washington, and Colorado. 

Here we have given in a rude way the location in two great bodies,, 
or regions, of the 85,000,000 acres of forest, more or less, belonging to 
the United States. 

The forest lands belonging to the Government in the Southern States 
are, and have been for years, for sale at $1.25 an acre, and for two or 
three years past have been in active demand, especially in Arkansas 
and Mississippi. An attempt was made some years ago to fix a price 
on and sell the timber land unfit for cultivation in California, Oregon, 
Nevada, and the Territory of Wyoming, but, while the price was set at 
the low figure of $2.50 per acre, in two years only 20,000 acres were dis- 
posed of. In a country where Government timber has always been 
stolen there has not yet sprung up an ardent desire to buy it. 

But here is the timber. It grows on the mountain slopes at a height 
of 11,000 feet. Nearly all of it is fir, spruce, pine, and cedar. It is 
valuable enough to be foraged upon by miners, railroad-tie cutters, and 
charcoal burners. But much of it is inaccessible to the woodman, and 
yet it has a value, and that value is not to be estimated in dollars and 
cents. What shall be done with it ? 

If the Government should sell off its Southern pine lands at the esti- 
mated value, $2.50 an acre, and put the money in the National Treasury, 
the bargain might be a fair one. But if the Government should sell off 
its forests in the Rocky Mountains at $2.50 an acre, the condition, posi- 
tive or implied, being that the forest should be at once cleared off, the 
bargain would be the worst ever made in the world. 

In these mountains rise the Platte, the Arkansas, the Rio Grande, 
great rivers, and numberless small ones. On the existence of the for- 
est on the mountain slopes depends the fact whether these streams 
shall, to use a figure, die or live. The question is one that once inter- 
ested a few thousand people ; it is one that now interests millions. The 
value of these forests lies not in what they will sell for in the shape of 
railroad ties or charcoal, but in their being the conservators of climate, 
the guardians of the snow, the reservoirs of rivers. Once the Rio 



20 GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 

GraDcle and the Arkansas sent their waters through narrow ditches, 
painfully dug by the Mexican with his mattock and hoe, to water a few 
acres of alfalfa or of vineyard, but now these rivers are to play their 
part in mighty agricultural enterprises hundreds of miles from the mount- 
ains. There is in the course of construction in Kansas to-day oue irri- 
gating ditch ±5 feet wide, to be, with its laterals, 200 miles long, 
and intended to water 500,000 acres, and this enterprise is only one of 
many such in progress in Kansas and Colorado, saying nothing of the 
canals already in existence in Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico. No 
-estimate of the value of the forests on the Eocky Mountain slopes can 
be made without reference to the value of these irrigation enterprises 
present and to come. 

If the Government could sell these forests for money at any figure, 
no matter how small, the case might assume a different aspect; but ex- 
perience has shown that no sale can be effected. The only alternative 
offered the Government is, Shall the forests be stolen or wasted by care- 
less fires, or shall they be preserved to be a priceless blessing? The 
slopes of the Eocky Mountains up to 11,000 feet of altitude will cer- 
tainly never be taken up under the homestead or pre-emption acts, or 
sold for cash. The timber under the present system will suffer as be- 
fore. It will be cut, stunted, girdled, burned. It will disappear, and 
the result will be desolation ; the frequent land and snow-slides carry- 
ing destruction ; the drying up of streams great and small ; and the 
utter exhaustion of the supply of timber, now more than sufficient for 
the ordinary and reasonable uses of the local population. 

Thus we have given in a rough way, a reference to rather than an ac- 
count of, the forest domain of the Government. Now a few words as 
to its management. 

That branch of the Government of the United States having charge 
of the public lands for the better part of a century and till within a very 
few years was conducted apparently in utter ignorance of the economic 
value of forests. 

A few thousand acres of live-oak and cedar reserved for the use of 
the Navy, a general commission to land officers to prevent the unauthor- 
ized cutting of timber, if they felt disposed ; this was all the Govern- 
ment did until 1877 to save for itself or the people such forests as grew 
nowhere else on the face of the globe. Since 1877 special agents have 
been employed to protect the timber, or rather to lock the stable after 
the horse is stolen, by prosecutions after the timber has disappeared. 
But a substantial advance has been made by the institution of the Bureau 
of Forestry, and it is to be hoped that intelligent action will follow the 
acquisition of knowledge. 

The State of New York affords an illustration. The State had a forest 
domain in the Adirondacks. It suffered that domain to pass out of its 
hands and beyond its control. The woods were cut down and wasted, 
and for non-payment of taxes the desolated acres fell back into the hands 



GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 21 

of the State. The question now is, " What is the value and extent of 
the forested and deforested domain of the State of New York." The loss 
the State has sustained by the altered flow of water in the Hudson and 
other streams is apparent enough, but the way to a sufficient remedy is 
full of difficulties. The objection rises at once, that in order to secure 
a sufficient area to conserve and grow the necessary forest the land of 
private parties must be purchased and that the State will be forced to 
pay exorbitant figures. 

. In the case of the Government this difficulty does not exist. Its 
ownership and control is absolute. The power exists to withdraw to- 
morrow every acre of Government timber land from sale or entry. In 
the case of the Rocky Mountain forests this should be done. If the 
preservation of the natural curiosities of the Yellowstone Park justifies 
such a course on a small scale, the preservation of the agriculture of 
New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Western Kansas, and Nebraska justifies 
it on a large scale. 

The " extent " of the timber lands of the United States should be 
maintained in order that their " value" may be increased. The forests 
should be kept, not given away; preserved, not wasted. The timber 
can be kept growing where it now stands, and be restored where it has 
been wasted. No citizen or honest settler or miner will suffer thereby. 
It is not necessary to his health, happiness, or prosperity that the fire 
shall leave the side of the mountain bare or that wealthy railroad cor- 
porations shall use stolen ties. 

It is seen that when we come to speak of the " management" of Gov- 
ernment timber lands we enter on a new field. There has been so far 
nothing that indicates the existence of a plan on the part of the Gov- 
ernment having for its object the preservation of the forest still under 
its ownership and control. Under that head I would make a few sug- 
gestions : 

1. Timber lands, properly so called, should be subjected to a different 
classification from arable lands, and the Government should, as soon as 
possible, cause such lands to be surveyed and described, so that it may 
be known where the lands are, the character of the timber, and their 
value. 

2. Government timber should nowhere be sold at $1.25 an acre. If 
sold at all a price should be fixed upon it somewhere near its value. 

3. Until the land is sold the timber should be carefully protected from 
spoliation by fire and timber thieves. This applies to pine lands in the 
South. 

4. In the case of the Rocky Mountain forests the Government should 
at once withdraw them from sale or entry. Their destruction, author- 
ized or unauthorized, is an evil for which there is no possible compen- 
sation. 

5. The continued holding of the timber lands by the Government 
should be so regulated that waste, fallen, and surplus trees may be dis- 



22 GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 

posed of for the absolute wants of the settlers ; but no more timber 
should be slashed down, and no more railroad corporations be furnished 
ties at the expense of the Nation. 

6. The care of the Government forests should not be left to the ineffi- 
cient supervision of land officers whose present duties render such su- 
pervision impossible, but should be made the work of trained, competent, 
and honest men, commissioned by the Federal Government, responsible 
to and paid by it, and performing the work similar to the Government 
foresters of other countries. 

7 The Department of Forestry, the duties of which are at present 
merely to collect information and give advice, should be organized into 
a working force, intrusted with the labor of classifying, describing, and 
preserving the Government forests, increasing their area, where practi- 
cable, by replanting and other means, and by bringing to justice those 
parties who trespass on the public timber lands, either in wantonness 
or for the purpose of plunder. 

8. In connection with these labors it should be remembered that 
11 knowledge is power," and consequently the training of a body of for- 
esters should go on at Schools of Forestry and experimental stations to 
be established and maintained in different parts of the Union by the 
General Government. By these agencies also the whole^theory of the 
effect of forests on climate, on the flow of streams, and other kindred 
matters should be carefully studied, and the result be made known to 
the public. 

In the little Eepublic of Switzerland there is law enough and power 
to prevent the cutting of a single tree where its disappearance migbt 
make way for the avalanche. The Government of the most enlightened 
and powerful country on earth, if we may believe its orators, is certainly 
strong enough and wise enough to prevent the spoliation and wasting 
of its own property. 

I have given in a very general way my views of the value of a great 
property belonging to the people of this country, and I indulge in the 
hope that the Government will continue to collect the facts concerning 
the great interest in some convenient and accessible form, so that some 
future investigator may be able to speak to you in a more detailed, ac- 
curate, interesting, and instructive manner than I have been able to do. 



VALUE AND MANAGEMENT OF GOVERNMENT TIMBER-LANDS. 

By B. E. Fernow. 

This question involves the determination of the problem as to whether 
consistently with the maxims of true statesmanship the State or Govern- 
ment ought to own and manage any lands except so far as they are ab- 
solutely necessary to its existence, or until it can properly dispose of 
them to settlers. 



GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 23 

We agree that, as a rule, the management of all economies is much 
better performed by private individuals than by the State ; in fact, that 
it is undesirable for the Government to engage in auy mercantile busi- 
ness, and therefore we would reject any arguments for the retention of 
Government forests, solely drawn from financial considerations. Such 
reasons, as the assurance of a safe and constant revenue to the State 
from forest property, and therefore the possibility of a reduction of 
taxes, the power of controlling and maintaining the timber supply, the 
opportunity in cases of emergency of raising loans on such property, 
all such considerations must only be allowed as secondary and will 
eventually help to strengthen our argument in favor of Government 
lands. 

If the forests of a country were nothing but ordinary property, just 
as a house, a mine, or a farm, we would contend, that the State should 
not own and manage forests, that their utilization should be entirely 
regulated by the effects of supply and demand and agreeably to the in- 
dividual interest of the moment, which, according to Adam Smith, is 
the ouly rightful motive in the use and disposal of property. But there 
are properties over which the right of eminent domain would be allowed 
to the State even by the most radical economic reformers. Such things 
as are of importance to the safety, well being, and happiness of the 
whole community, like the air, the waters, streets and roads, cannot 
be entirely given up to individual disposal without injury to a large part 
of the commuuity. 

The experiences of nearly every European country during the first 
decades of this century have practically proved that the liberation of 
forest property from all restraint — while, according to Smith, it should 
have led to the highest economic development — has bred devastation 
and destruction not only to the property from which the forest had been 
wantonly removed, but to the agricultural interests and economic pros- 
perity of the whole surrounding district. 

Modern investigations have left no doubt that the presence or absence 
of certain percentage of woodlands has a decided influence upon the 
climate of a country ; modern experience has taught that the destruc- 
tion of forests on headwaters is apt to paralyze the regularity of the 
water-supply and at enormous cost to communities has bred alternate 
floods and droughts. 

History of all times and nations has shown that by wanton abuse of 
forest properties industries have been destroyed, agricultural lands have 
been laid waste, civilized districts have been made uninhabitable and 
turned into deserts and the inhabitants have been reduced to poverty. 

It is a peculiarity of systematic forest economy that it must work with 
a large capital stock of timber, which, accumulated through long years, 
may be utilized at any time. Therefore an increased demand for lumber 
may be satisfied by diminishing the capital stock. The financial inter- 
ests of the private forest owner will in most cases induce him to use this 



24 GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 

means of meeting the increased demand, and to take advantage of the 
higher market price rather than to increase production by more exten- 
sive plantations. These would only after many years yield a useful 
material, and therefore the advantageous market price, stimulated by 
present demand, might not be secured. Forest devastation is then the 
natural consequence of the application of this rule of demand andsuppiy. 

Eecoguizing, then, the significance of the climatic and hydraulic in- 
fluences of the forest, it will become necessary to revise the principles 
of statesmanship which treat of State property and of the relation of 
the State to forest owners. Where the common weal and the economic 
development of the whole community is ' concerned, the Government 
must have the right and the duty to exercise eminent domain and to in- 
terfere with the use of this class of property. But there will always 
be a strong feeling against the exercise of such right on the part of the 
State ; even the republican spirit of the free citizen will rarely be ex- 
alted enough to allow interference with his property rights for a benefit 
to the community, which he may not even recognize. 

It will, therefore, seem advisable that the State itself should own 
those forests, the existence and continuance of which as such, is neces- 
sary for the agricultural and general interests of its citizens. Since 
these lands are mostly unavailable for any other purpose than forest 
growth, since forestry on such lands is by no means as profitable a 
business as a private individual would care to carry on, and since by a 
management of these forests under Government a continual timber sup- 
ply is guaranteed to the surrounding country, it should not be a diffi- 
cult matter to retain or else to acquire such property either in the way 
of regular purchase, based on tax valuation, or by expropriation in 
consideration of public interest. 

From the foregoing remarks it will appear that the value of Govern- 
ment timber lands cannot be ascertained on such basis as that of ordi- 
nary property of private individuals and on mercantile considerations 
only. The value of this kind of property is of a higher order. It is 
not equal to the value of the crop or the productive value of the soil, 
nor to the combined value of these two factors. Their value is not 
represented by the selling value of either or both. 

Where the land Is held for purposes of colonization the price ought to 
be far below its real or market value to actual settlers, in order to offer 
an inducement. But where forest land is held by the State for con- 
siderations of public welfare, as pointed out before, its value is incal- 
culable — and as to price, it should be out of the market altogether. If 
managed on true scientific and systematic principles, such forests will 
attain the additional value of educators, serving as a school and example 
to private forest owners. 

In Prussia, where only one-fourth of all the forests is held by the 
State, the large class of private owners have greatly benefited by the 
example of the "Government aud availed themselves of the experience 



GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 25 

and advice of the officers, educated for the Government service, and sys- 
tematic management with a view of continuity has become the rule. 

Which of the lands now in possession of the General Government fall 
under the first class — held for colonizatory purposes — and which should 
be classed under the second, it is impossible to determine without at least 
an approximate forest survey. Such survey may easily be made m 
connection with the geodetic surveys and geographical explorations al- 
ready established, and need not go into further details than locating 
and mapping in approximate measurement such districts, which should 
be exempted from sale on account of their unfitness for agricultural use 
or for reasons of their climatic, meteorological, and hydraulic influence/ 

Care should also be taken not to dispose of any lands except to set- 
tlers, and that no lands be sold which are only fit for forest growth. 

By making sales to settlers subject to a condition, requiring them to 
keep a certain part of their entry in forest under the supervision of the 
nearest Government forest officer, an intelligent class of small forest 
owners might be quickly educated. In the management of Government 
timber-lands the financial effect should be only secondary, and the con- 
tinuity of the forest should be of more account than the demands of the 
lumber market. 

I do not advocate an expenditure of money for the purpose of keep- 
ing forests intact ; but I believe that a Forest administration for the 
Government timber-lands, either of a State or of the United States, can 
be devised and maintained, and that at this present day, which will not 
only pay its own expenses from the sale of ripe timber, but which, be- 
sides answering all the purposes of protecting our water supply and our 
climatic conditions, will yield a handsome revenue and furnish sufficient 
means for acquiring and reforestating such localities as should be pre- 
served in forest. 

What methods should be applied in regard to the details of manage- 
ment it is now too early to discuss. 

The present meager appropriations of the General Government are 
but a drop in the ocean, and are more likely by their insufficiency to bring 
discredit on those who attempt to accomplish with them anything of 
value than to promote very much the forest policy of this country. 

It seems a short-sighted policy, indeed, which neglects to take proper 
care of so valuable a property as the forests of the public domain now 
are, and which could be made much more valuable by proper manage- 
ment. Until recently, according to the Commissioner of the Land Office, 
the depredations on this State property must alone have amounted 
yearly to several million dollars, of which only a small part, at heavy 
expense, may be recovered, whilst the inauguration of a Forest depart- 
ment, with a view of actually managing the domain according to the 
principles laid down before, would cause the dead capital stored in these 
forests to pay the interest on any appropriation which might be made 
for it. 



26 GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 

The following figures, from the Forest administration of Prussia and 
other States of Germany, a country in which the Government forests 
are notably very excellently managed, on the most conservative prin- 
ciples, may serve to form an idea what such an administration can be 
expected to yield. 

The total area of Prussia comprises 89,000,000 acres. Of the 23.3 per 
cent, of forest land, the State owns only 29.4 per cent., representing an 
area of 6,000,000 acres. The administration of this area * with all its 
incidentals, as forest schools, experiment stations, &c, required a force 
of officers of different grades, and guards numbering nearly five thou- 
sand ; the expense of this part of the administration amounted to nearly 
$3,000,000. 

A large force of laborers, having the benefit of work all the year round, 
is employed in planting and lumbering. 

The cost of lumbering and expenses of transportation amounted to $1, 750, 000 

For cultivation, improvements, roads, &c 1,000, 000 

For taxes and other obligations , 250, 000 

Total expenditures 6,000,000 

Or $1 per acre. 

Receipts for timber and cordwood $12, 250, 000 

Other revenues 1, 000, 000 

Total receipts 13, 250, 000 

Leaving a net profit of 7, 250, 000 

This result, representing a net profit of 52.5 per cent, of the receipts, 
has been obtained by selling the ripe wood at an average price of not 
quite 6 cents per cubic foot in the woods. In recent years the expen- 
ditures have been increased by buying up waste lands fit only for for- 
est culture. To show how this record of poor and economical Prussia 
compares with other German administrations we have compiled the 
following figures : 

In the year 1882, the following results were obtained for 1 acre of 
forest land : 



(average.) ! 



In Prus- 



Total receipts -• 

Expenses of administration 

Other expenses, lumbering, &c. 

Total expenditure 

Net profit 




2.08 
0.46 
0.44 
0.90 
1.18 



It may be interesting to know the result of the forest administration 
of so small a State as the little dukedom of Saxe-Gotha, which has just 
come to hand, for the year 1882. Its forest area is only 80,000 acres, of 

* The following data are compiled from the official reports, and represent averages 
during the years 1870 to 1879. 



GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 27 

which 78 per cent, are in fir and pine. The cut for 1882, was 22,000,000 
feet of logs and 18,000 cords of firewood. 

The receipts from this were $382,000, or 10 cents per cubic foot. 
Other revenues brought the receipts up to $386,000, or nearly $5 per 
acre. The expenditures were — 

For administration $49, 000 

For roads 10,450 

For cultivation, for which 760 acres or 0.95 per cent, of the forest area were 

replanted 8, 300 

For lumbering *.... 73,600 

For surveys, destroying of insects, &c 7, 000 



Total expenditures, or $1.85 per acre $14b, 350 

Therefore net proceeds $237,700, or $2.97 per acre; i. e., 67.1 per cent, 
of the receipts. 



THE PRESERVATION OF FORESTS ON THE HEADWATERS OF 

STREAMS. 

By M. C. Read. 

The Mississippi Valley has an extreme breadth of over 33° of longi- 
tude, and a length of over 20° in latitude, embracing more than one-half 
of all the territory of the United States. 

The Mississippi Eiver stretches its arms from east to west until they 
embrace in their grasp nearly one tenth of the earth's circumference. 

If in this valley were gathered all the Caucasian race, there would be a 
population of only about 370 to the square mile; and if all the inhabitants 
of the earth were gathered into it, the population would not overcrowd 
it. Its fertility is almost as unexampled as its size. Deducting the arid 
portion of the West, there is nowhere else on earth an area of one-half 
the size of unbroken land of equal fertility and productiveness, or capa- 
ble of supporting so dense a population. The question of the future of 
this great valley is of so vast importance that imagination can hardly 
grasp it. Shall the arid climate of the West creep steadily eastward, 
till its hot breath parches the slopes of the Alleghany Mountains, or shall 
our tillage, with ever increasing returns, be extended steadily westward 
till it reaches the base of the Eocky Mountains? 

Man is now the potent agent in geological and climatic changes. He is 
profoundly modifying the whole of the surface of the earth. He has 
changed the vast territory of western Asia, whose agricultural products 
once supported the dense populations that lived under the ancient mon- 
archies, into an almost desert waste. The wise Solomon and his ally, King 
Hiram, in the destruction of the cedars of Lebanon, commenced a work 
which has rendered a land once flowing with milk and honey almost 
barren. 



28 GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 

If our work in the great Mississippi Valley is having a permanent 
effect upon its future fertility we cannot scrutinize too closely the char- 
acter of that work and its tendency. 

We are tenants for life only of this vast inheritance we have received 
from our fathers. The remainder-over belongs to those who are now 
unborn — to whom we are bound to leave it with its productiveness un- 
impaired. Each life tenant is too prone to disregard the rights of those 
entitled to the remainder-over, and to make what hecanfrom his tenancy, 
regardless #f its effect upon the future value of the estate. When the 
prophet warned good King Hezekiah, that after his death all the treas- 
ures of his home should be plundered and his sons carried into captivity 
and dishonored, he wrapped the mantle of his own selfishness around 
him aud said, " Is it not good if peace and truth be in my day," although 
fully advised that the coming calamities were the result of his own mis- 
deeds. 

In the unadvised and unrestrained acts of the life-tenant the rights 
of the remainder-men are never safe. A little immediate advantage 
far outweighs all future and contingent evil. And right here is one 
of the most important duties of every Government, which it cannot 
neglect without beiug false to its most important trust. It is bound 
to thoroughly enforce that wise maxim of the law, that each one " shall 
so use his own as not to injure another," and to include in that word 
" another" all who shall come after him. Government is the trustee of 
the future proprietors, and is bound to take all action which may be 
necessary to secure to them their rights, among which is the enjoyment 
of their inheritance with its productiveness wholly unimpaired. A fail- 
ure to do this has not only destroyed great empires, but has left the 
land in such a condition that it could not support a great empire. 

It is regarded as demonstrated, that in a wide area of agricultural 
land, when one-fourth of it is retained in forests, the residue will, year 
by year, yield more agricultural products than the whole would if 
cleared and subjected to tillage, and there is no other place in the world 
where the danger from forest destruction is so great as in the Missis- 
sippi Valley. At the headwaters of most streams nature has provided 
for the perpetuity of the forests, by leaving the land in a condition un- 
fitted for anything except forest growth, and when the streams and the 
valleys are small, these lands, condemned by nature to forests, may suf- 
fice for all climatic influences. But the area of tillable land in the Mis- 
sissippi Valley is so immense, and the temptation to forest destruction 
so great, tliat we are in danger of being ruined through the very mu- 
nificence of nature. 

Practically the whole of this valley is capable of being put under 
tillage, and personal greed is tending to this result, and very clearly is 
tending to its diminished fertility and quite probably to the complete 
destruction of its fertility. A possible result so appalling cannot be 
contemplated without serious apprehension. 



GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 29 

But climatic influences are so slow iu their action, taking so long a 
time to demonstrate their tendency, that it is a hard task to persuade 
more than a very few of their real tendency. 

But the attempt to put certain lands under tillage which nature re- 
served for other uses has already produced most disastrous results, 
which, it is believed, will be recognized by all as soon as pointed out, 
and it is to our errors in this respect that this paper will be mainly de- 
voted. 

The sources of nearly all the tributaries of the Mississippi are found 
in a series of swamps and lakelets, which, receiving the drainage of ad- 
jacent higher land, furnish a perennial flow of water as the commence- 
ment of each tributary. The gentle divide which separates the waters 
of the Ohio from Lake Erie is dotted with such swamps and lakes. A 
map on a large scale of Northern Wisconsin and Minnesota exhibits as 
its most marked characteristic a multitude, of such lakes j and in the 
mountainous regions of Pennsylvania and Virginia elevated swamps or 
lakes are found at the heads of very many of the streams. Taking the 
whole of this great valley and as a rule, to which there are only few ex- 
ceptions, the beginnings of the streams are in swamps and lakelets. 

Their function in the drainage system of the valley is best under- 
stood where man has not interfered with it ; where the lakes are often 
surrounded with marshes, generally with forests containing a dense under- 
growth of shrubs and sphagnous mosses, where the swamps are almost 
impenetrable, filled to a great depth with a peaty growth which in 
places has bridged over and covered a buried lake, receiving the drain- 
age from a large surrounding wooded area, the outlets of swamps and 
lakes alike choked with a dense growth of aquatic plants, all constitut- 
ing a series of reservoirs from which the water ' runs off slowly, from 
which there is a large evaporation, and from which the downward drain- 
age into the soil and the deep rock strata below is never interrupted. 

Their presence turns back by evaporation into the air much of the 
rainfall, fills the rocks below with subterranean streams, which are the 
sources of all the perennial springs, and so regulates the outflow of the 
surplus water as tends to maintain an equable flow throughout the whole 
year. If these natural reservoirs were large enough this result would 
be obtained, the flow of all the streams would be substantially uni- 
form, and we should never hear of destructive floods on the larger 
streams. The flow of water in Detroit and Niagara rivers is substan- 
tially uniform, except as the level of the lakes above is changed by the 
force of the wind. 

These primitive conditions have been greatly changed. The clearing 
of the higher land has caused the surface water to flow more rapidly 
into these lakes and swamps. 

When it was learned that if reclaimed the swamps would constitute 
some of our most productive lands, the work of their extermination was 
commenced and pushed with vigor. In most States ditch laws were 



30 GOVERNMENT TIMBEK LANDS. 

eDacted, by which a majority of the owners of any body of swamp lands 
could compel the others to contribute their proportion to the systematic 
drainage of the whole. 

The surface of the swamps being generally found on the same level 
as the surface of adjacent lakes, it was found that the outlets of these 
must be deepened and broadened, to secure the drainage of the swamps, 
and to provide for the prompt outflow of the water which now, with- 
out any retardation, found its way into the swamps and lakes. 

To accommodate this more rapid outflow, the streams below have been 
often straightened, obstructions removed, and the rapid concentration 
of the water into the larger streams made as easy as possible. In much 
of the remaining forest the destruction of the large timber trees has 
made openings for the sun, the underbrush has been destroyed, the in- 
trusion of domestic cattle has carried the seeds of the grasses, and these 
wood lots are being converted into wood pastures. All these agencies 
combined are making the surface drainage almost as perfect as if a se- 
ries of impervious roofs covered the laud and all the flow from them was 
conducted by pipes into one common channel. 

The results are not matters of speculation, but can everywhere be 
observed. Springs once copious have disappeared; streams formerly per- 
ennial alternately overflow their banks and run dry. The natural regu- 
lators of the streams having been destroyed, whenever there is an ex- 
cessive rain it is rapidly carried into the streams which, gradually 
uniting their waters, often constitute floods in the larger channels which 
no human appliances can control. By a system of dikes and levees we 
may do something to check the evil for a time, but we shall certainly 
make it greater in the future. The stream confined to its channel will 
deposit sediment upon the bottom, gradually raising it above the level 
of the adjacent land, and then when breaks occur in the dikes the re- 
sults will be unspeakably disastrous. 

This work of destroying the natural regulators of our streams and cut- 
ting off the sources of supply for the springs, is not wholly accomplished, 
but is pushed with vigor every year. Additional swamps are reclaimed 
each year, the drainage in all made more perfect, the soil compacted 
by continual cultivation until it loses entirely its spongy porous char- 
acter, the wash of sediment into the lakes is greatly facilitated by the 
clearing and cultivation of the adjacent land, so that by a steady silting 
up of the bottom, and by the enlargement of their outlets, their capa- 
city is rapidly diminished and their future obliteration rendered inevi- 
table, unless something is done for their preservation. 

The future results are not uncertain. Every succeeding year a definite 
rainfall in a given time will result in a more destructive flood than ever 
before. A drought of the same duration will leave more and more of 
our streams without water, and springs which have heretofore been per- 
ennial will cease to flow. Uur wells will not escape the results of these 
influences, and more of them will go dry. 



GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 31 

There is but one possible remedy for all of these evils. It is for ns to 
cease to do evil, and to learn to do well ; to hasten as quickly as possi- 
ble to undo our work and recreate the natural reservoirs we have de- 
stroyed. By reforestering these swamps and the higher land which 
surrounds them and the lakes, we shall restore them to their proper place 
in the economy of nature. The abundance of moisture will make this 
work comparatively easy, as it will insure a rapid growth of trees and 
shrubs. Swamp oaks, white maple, black ash, tamarack, and pine are 
among the valuable trees that find a congenial home in all such swamps. 
For the higher ground around, other valuable trees should be selected. 
But it is not alone what are called valuable trees whose growth should 
be encouraged. In all forest culture it should be remembered that, for 
climatic purposes, an orchard of forest trees is not a forest. The plant- 
ing of trees along the highways, about our homes, in parks and groves, 
ought to be encouraged for a variety of reasons, but will have little of 
the climatic effect of true forests. A dense growth of underbrush, 
herbaceous plants, and mosses under the larger trees, which will retain 
the fallen leaves in place, fill the surface soil with rootlets, checking the 
flow of water and facilitating its entrance into the earth, are essential 
parts of a true forest. They also tend in all seasons to maintain that 
moist condition of the soil and air which is essential to the vigorous 
growth of the larger trees. Fortunately a multitude of such shrubs 
and plants will spring up on all this swamp land as soon as it is de- 
voted to forest growth and protected from the intrusion of domestic 
animals. 

The lakes should be restored to their former dimensions, and wher- 
ever practicable enlarged by damming their outlets. Fortunately the at- 
tention now given to the artificial propagation of our food-fishes favors 
this work. It is claimed with a good probability of truth that a lake 
well stocked with fish will produce as much food as the same area of 
land devoted to the raising of ordinary field crops, and it is more than 
probable that the annual forest growth of the swamps and the fish pro- 
ducts of the lakes combined, will be of much more value than the agri- 
cultural products which can be obtained from the swamp lands alone. 

But the prospect of immediate returns, with most men, so far out- 
weighs the advantages of prospective greater returns, that few, without 
some additional inducement, will be persuad ed to devote to forest growth 
the swamp lands which they have fitted for tillage with so much labor. 
While they know that they are not permitted to so drain their lands as to 
flood injuriously the land of an adjacent proprietor, they will ask, " Why 
shall I abandon what seems to me the best use of my own land because 
of supposed injury to those who are thousands of miles away V The 
injury is so remote, and the responsibility so divided, that no one feels 
personally responsible for his share in the results. Governmental aid, 
State or national, in the way of bouuties, exemption from taxation, or 
in some other mode, is essential to the securing of the devotion of these 



32 GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 

lakes to fish preserves, and of these swamps to forest growth. The peo- 
ple at the head of the streams readily consent to be taxed for the really 
fruitless and irrational work of constructing dikes on the banks of the 
Mississippi \ and the time will certainly come when those now injured 
by the floods will turn their attention to the real causes of the evils they 
suffer, and will gladly consent to be taxed for the purchase and govern- 
mental control of all these lakes and swamps. They will see that the 
only remedy for the calamities they encounter is to regulate the flow of 
the water in the river, instead of attempting to control it when it has 
become uncontrollable. 

The restoration of these natural regulators will not accomplish all 
that is desired. It will be an iuiportant step in the right direction, and 
a reliable guide to supplemental efforts ; for the waters of the Missis- 
sippi and its tributaries are as thoroughly under our control as is the 
water supply of any great city. We can prevent all destructive floods, 
and secure such a uniform flow as will prevent any interruption of 
navigation in the principal tributaries during the most protracted 
drought. 

In 1849 Charles Ellet, a civil engineer, contributed to the Smithsonian 
Institute a paper, which was published in the second volume of its Con- 
tributions, " On the physical geography of the Mississippi Valley," the ob- 
ject of which was to outline a plan for the improvement of the Ohio Eiver 
by securing such a constant flow of water as would prevent all inter- 
ruption of navigation. This problem he solves, and he incidentally 
solves the problem of the means of preventing all destructive floods. 

He gives, in a series of tables, the daily flow of water over the Wheel- 
ing bar for a number of years, and figures the capacity of reservoirs at 
the head of the streams which, filled at the time of heavy rains and re- 
tained until needed, would suffice, in times of natural low water, to 
maintain a sufficient flow over the bar to prevent all interruption to 
the navigation of the stream. 

He computes also the volume of the destructive part of the water of 
the great flood of 1832, when the water rose at Cincinnati to the 
height of 63 feet above low-water mark, and demonstrates the practi- 
cability, at a comparatively trifling expense, of so controlling it, and all 
other similar floods, as to make them absolutely harmless. 

On page 48 of his paper he says : 

Although in this paper the computations have only been made to the reduction 
of the extreme height of the flood mark, so as to show that it is quite practicable to 
render it harmless, there are many interests in society which would be promoted by a 
further extension of the system and an ultimate approach toward an equalization of 
the daily discharge. It is quite reasonable to suppose that in course of time all the 
waters of all the navigable rivers will be required to supply the wants of man and his 
commerce. Reservoirs may eventually be made of sufficient capacity to hold all the 
annual excess and make the daily flow almost entirely uniform. The banks of the Ohio 
and Mississippi, now broken by the current and lined with fallen trees, ready to be swept 
by the next freshet into the channel, there to form dangerous snags, may yet in the course 






GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 33 

of a very few years be cultivated and adorned down to the water's edge. In the opinion 
of the writer, the grass will hereafter grow luxuriantly along the caving banks. All 
material fluctuations of the water will be prevented, and the level of the river sur- 
face will become nearly stationary. Grounds which are now frequently inundated 
and valueless will be tilled and subdued ; the sand-bars will be permanently covered, 
and, under a uniform regimen of the stream, will probably cease to be produced. 
The channels will become stationary. The wharves will be built as the wharves on 
tide-water, with little if any reference to the fluctuations of the surface. The lower 
streets of all the river towns, no longer exposed to inundations, will acquire new 
value. The turbid waters will be arrested in the upper pools, and the Ohio first, and 
ultimately the Missouri and Mississippi, will be made to flow forever, with a constant 
deep and limpid stream. The ice will be swept off as it forms, aud neither cold or 
droughts will longer be suffered injuriously to affect the navigation. The ocean 
steamers will not then be confined to tide-waters, but will be able safely to ascend the 
living streams to sea-ports on their borders, and the extent of the inland navigation 
will be limited only by the limit of the water which is supplied by the atmosphere. 

All this may be accomplished on the Ohio for about the cost of three or four ships of 
the line. The great and only difficulty is to overcome the cold incredulity of the 
public, so as to induce those in power to grant a sufficient appropriation for the com- 
pletion of the first two reservoirs. This once accomplished, and a single practical 
demonstration made, it will be difficult to convince the future engineer that a thing 
so clear and palpable could ever be doubted. 

As an effort of art, the work of controlling the floods of the great rivers of the 
Mississippi Valley will never compare with the labors of men in other departments 
of practical service. More money has been laid out on 3 miles of railroad than 
would be needed to maintain the waters of the Ohio within 2 feet- of a uniform 
height throughout the year, to add a length of several hundred miles to the river 
navigation of the country, and render more than 2,000 miles of precarious naviga- 
tion permanent and certain. The same reservoir that keeps back the excess of 
water from the tributary keeps it back also from the recipient stream ; the same sup- 
ply that maintains the navigation of the tributary also improves that of the recipi- 
ent ; and the same reservoir that serves to maintain the navigation of both tributary 
and recipient, serves of necessity to protect both from overflow. 

These things will be effected, not by main force but by skill. The rain-gauge will 
indicate the approaching danger from the summits of the distant mountains; the 
telegraph will announce the fact at the flood-gates, and the whole may thus be con- 
trolled by the previsions of science. In fact the desired effect can be produced by a 
few dams in the mountain gorges, and the constant attention of some twenty men. 

On page 54, speaking particularly of the improvement of the Ohio, he 
says: 

It has been the duty of the writer, at former periods, to conduct surveys along a 
considerable portion of the Upper Alleghany and the whole of the Great Kanawha, 
and to become familiar with the character of the Monongahela as far as it is susceptible 
of improvement. Aided by this personal knowledge and the facts acquired in the 
present investigation, he hazards the opinion, that less than $1,250,000 will suffice 
to supply the Ohio with a depth sufficient for boats of 5 feet draught; to carry 
on open and permanent river navigation during three-fourths of the year, from Frank- 
lin to the line of the Erie Railroad in New York ; improve the navigation of the 
Monongahela into Virginia, aud extend that of the Kanawha 70 or 80 miles above Point 
Pleasant — supplying water-powers of unrivaled capacity and permanence on numer- 
ous lines of steamboat navigation, and curbing most essentially the destructive pow- 
er of floods. 

Viewing the insignificant cost for which about 1,400 miles of river navigation may 
thus be rendered permanently^available — without reference to the incidental advan- 
16093 TIM 3 



34 GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 

tages that will flow from the work — it may well be doubted whether there is, in the 
whole circle of contemplated public improvements, a projected enterprise which more 
seriously demands the care and consideration of those who are charged with the pro- 
tection of the public interests. 

The difficulty which the mind first encounters in contemplating this proposition 
arises from the apparent immensity of the mass of waters to be dealt with. But this 
is only a speculation. T^ie quantity has been measured and found to be easily at- 
tainable and perfectly manageable. 

The total discharge of the Ohio, in ordinary low water, is but 6, 000, 000 cubic feet per 
hour. A pipe no larger than one of those used for conveying the water of the Croton 
water works — or 3 feet in diameter — will discharge very nearly 1,000,000 cubic feet 
per hour, under a head of 60 feet. Six such pipes, then, placed in a dam only 60 feet 
high, and provided with proper valves, would emit water enough to double the quan- 
tity flowing down the Ohio at its usual summer stage. And if there were three such 
dams, on different streams, and twelve pipes in each, and one man to superintend each 
dam, and obey the telegraphic signal to open or close the valves, or an equipment 
equal to three dams, no higher than have already been built in this country, and 
thirty-six pipes, equal in diameter to the mains in Broadway, and three men to man- 
age the whole, the quantity of water could be increased sixfold, and the navigation 
could be maintained above 5 feet during all ordinary droughts. At the same time, 
such is, happily, the form of many of the Western valleys, that dams of double this 
height can be often erected without injury, to any appreciable amount, of property 
improved or susceptible of improvement. 

While the author probably underestimates the cost of these im- 
provements, he certainly demonstrates their practicability, and at a cost 
very much less than the damages resulting from a single great flood. 

The great excellence of this system is that it supplements the agen- 
cies which nature provides to subserve the same ends, co-operating with 
them and extending them. The work accomplished by the natural 
lakes and swamps, which has already been outlined, would also be ac- 
complished by these artificial reservoirs, and to a degree exactly pro- 
portioned to their relative size. A large percentage of the retained 
water would be carried deep into the earth, establishing subterranean 
streams, from which copious perennial springs would be produced, 
while from their broad surfaces an additional amount of water would be 
evaporated into the air, to be again precipitated in refreshing showers. 

Artificial lakes thus formed at the headwaters of the Missouri River 
would load with moisture the dry winds sweeping over them toward 
the plains, where it would probably be often deposited in copious show- 
ers; the seepage downwards would find underground channels which 
here and there in the plains below would break out in perennial springs 
and to some extent, at least, convert a desert into fruitful fields. 

It has been the dream of some that the time was coming when copi- 
ous showers could be called from the heavens at the will of man, aud 
injurious droughts become unknown. This is doubtless only au Utopian 
dream, but the rain that does fall is subject to man's control. He may 
utilize it all to his advantage ; during excessive rains he may hold back 
all that part of it which without his interference would constitute an 
injurious flood, and with that thus retained maintain a perennial and 
nearly uniform flow in all the screams. 



GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 35 

With a proper amount of restored forests, with our natural reservoirs 
enlarged and preserved, and artificial lakes established at the heads of 
the streams of a capacity sufficient to regulate their flow, evapora- 
tion would be largelj 7 increased. We should attack the arid plains of 
the West upon both flanks at once, and if our agency can convert them 
into fruitful fields it will be accomplished in this way. It is certain that 
our work hitherto has tended in the opposite direction. Our hastening 
the downward flow of the water, has tended to diminish local evapor- 
ation, our destruction of the forests local precipitation, and, if continued, 
there is great danger that the line which marks the eastern margin of 
the arid region will move steadily eastward until it crosses the Missis- 
sippi, and, perhaps, checked by no barrier, until it reaches the base of 
the Alleghanies. 

These probable results, involving on the one hand calamities so ap- 
palling, and on the other benefits so far reaching, demand the most 
careful consideration on the part of the science and the statesmanship of 
the whole country. It is a question of vastly more importance than all 
the questions upon which political parties are formed, and which, if 
properly appreciated, would make those questions seem in comparison 
childish and of little account. In the destiny of the Mississippi Valley 
is involved the destiny of the whole American people. It feeds the 
cities and manufactories of the East, and the mining towns and centers 
of the West, while it largely absorbs the products of both. It is a fitting 
time to inquire in regard to it, What are its tendencies for the future ! 
Clearly those tendencies now are in the wrong direction, a tendency to 
an ever diminishing power of production which will end, we know not 
where. Statistics of crop productions will tend to mislead us. Every 
year an immense territory of virgin soil is subjected to the plow, audi 
improved modes of culture are increasing the products of the old farms, 
but it is not what it in fact produces, but what it is capable of pro- 
ducing and will be capable of producing in the future, that is to be con- 
sidered in this discussion, and there can be no doubt that present influ- 
ences are seriously threatening its future power of production. 

Toward resisting this tendency something maybe done by individual 
efforts, by warning, by appeal, by disseminating a love for forest culture, 
and a just appreciation of its monetary value; by our Fish Commissioners, 
encouraging the appropriation of all small lakes and ponds to the arti- 
ficial rearing of fish ; by our State legislatures, by premiums, bounties, 
exemption from taxes, or in some other way securing the reforesting 
of the swamps and hills at the heads of all the streams ; and by the 
General Government supplementing all this work in the way proposed 
by Mr. Ellet in the paper already quoted. While the certain direct 
results, in improved navigation and immunity from floods, and the 
probable results in climatic influences, would pay a thousand fold for 
the money required to equalize the flow of water in all the larger 
streams of the Mississippi Yalley, there would probably result inci- 



36 GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 

dental advantages fully equivalent to the entire cost. For every acre 
of comparatively barren land at the heads of the streams which must be 
appropriated for these reservoirs, very many acres of alluvial land, of 
unsurpassed fertility, on the borders of the larger streams, would be re- 
deemed from* the water and made available for tillage. The immense 
water-power created by these reservoirs, when it all becomes finally util- 
ized, would of itself probably pay for all the cost of the dams. The 
artificial lakes stocked with fish will yield a much, larger food supply 
than the lands covered by them could be made to produce. However 
great may be the expenses, the benefits resulting will be immeasurably 
greater. And if the work is well done, so as to avoid all danger of the 
breaking down of the dams, imagination can picture no possible evil 
tendency. 

The thorough, control of that part of the rainfall which fills the 
streams is sure to be one of the most important triumphs of practical 
science. This country is to be the pioneer in the work, or the imitator 
of others. 

With an overflowing treasury, filled without any perceptible burden 
to the people, we are in a most favorable position to commence this 
work. Its thorough application to the Ohio Eiver would be easy, and 
not expensive. Its practicability thus demonstrated, it would ultimately 
be applied to all the rivers of the country, which would be made to 
flow in limpid streams at substantially the same level throughout the 
whole year. The whole of the rainfall would become beneficial, and all 
apprehension of destructive floods would cease. 

Manufacturing interests, having other ends in view, have already 
substantially accomplished this on some of the Xew England streams. 
Dams erected to secure water-power have established reservoirs which 
practically control the flow of water on streams where the natural 
drainage is so rapid as to make them peculiarly liable to floods. Here 
the prime object is the production of water-power — the incidental result, 
exemption from floods. In the plan proposed the prime object is ex- 
emption from floods, the incidental results are improved navigation, an 
almost measureless production of water-power, and climatic influences, 
which, while they may be slow in their manifestation, will be steadily 
increasing and wholly beneficent. Is it not fitting that the people of 
the United States should be the pioneers in this great work J ? 

One additional suggestion should be made. The arid lands of the 
West must be flanked, not attacked at the center. Forests must be 
created upon their borders, not in their center, for there they cannot be 
made to grow until a humid condition of the soil and the air is first pro- 
duced. An important beginning has been made in Colorado by divert- 
ing the water of the mountain streams into irrigating ditches, and the 
subjection of large areas to profitable cultivation. From the surface of 
these ditches the evaporation is rapid and continuous, and substantially 



GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 37 

all the water actually used for irrigation is returned to the air by sur- 
face evaporation and exhalation from the leaves of cultivated plants. 

This system, extended along the whole of the eastern slope of the 
mountains, will return to the air nearly all thewater diverted from the 
streams, which from the direction of the prevailing winds will be car- 
ried over the plains and fall in showers. The artificial lakes already 
suggested, discharging the same functions, can be made largely avail- 
able for irrigating purposes, and there is little doubt that by these 
means the amount of land on the western border of the plains, put 
under cultivation, could be steadily and indefinitely increased, so that 
if conservative measures are adopted on this side also and vigorously 
prosecuted, the whole of the arid plains would ultimately be redeemed 
and subjected to profitable tillage. 

The moist winds from the Pacific passing over the broad ranges of 
the Eocky Mountains are deprived of their moisture, and as they fall 
over the eastern slopes are fitted to absorb rather than precipitate 
moisture. Moving eastward and mingling with the moist winds from 
the south and southw t est, they increase the capacity of the latter for 
moisture and diminish the amount of precipitation from them. Let 
these thirsty winds as they strike the plains become saturated with 
moisture from artificial lakes, irrigating ditches, cultivated fields, and 
forests, when they meet these southern winds, instead of preventing, 
they would facilitate precipitation, and secure rainfall on the plains. It 
is, as has already been said, a useless work to attempt to plant forests 
in the arid region. Its arid character must be changed before the 
forests will grow. The work must be commenced upon the margin and 
gradually carried into the interior. The Government aid should be di- 
rected toward securing, by means of irrigation, the cultivation of as 
large areas as possible on the western margin of the arid plains and 
the planting of forests there. We can conquer the whole of them and 
make them available for tillage if all judicious measures are adopted 
and perseveringly followed. 

It is for the people of the United States to determine whether the 
boundary of this arid region shall be extended indefinitely eastward, 
or whether the eastern and western boundaries of it shall slowly but 
steadily approach each other until the arid region disappears. 

The magnitude of the work proposed, aud the immense amount of 
water to be controlled, will naturally suggest to many the idea that the 
scheme is wholly impracticable. But the amount of rainfall over this 
whole area is now very accurately measured, and it is known that about 
40 per cent, of it finds its way into the larger streams. This has been 
measured in the Ohio, and can be measured in the Mississippi and all 
its tributaries. The measurement of the flow during the highest floods 
will show with mathematical exactness just how much must be held 
back at the times of the greatest danger, to entirely obviate it. This 
will give us the exact aggregate capacity of all the regulating reservoirs 



38 GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 

required. Surveys at the heads of the streams will show where dams 
at least expense will suffice to hold back the drainage from the largest 
areas, and will, it is confidently believed, show that the plan is en- 
tirely practicable and the cost trifling and insignificant, when compared 
with the beneficent results which are sure to follow. 



THE DISTRIBUTION OF NORTH AMERICAN FOREST TREES. 

By Dr. George Vasey. 

While we are considering the subject of forestry, and the grave and 
important question of conserving our great forests from needless waste 
and destruction, it may not be without interest to take a botanical 
glance at the composition of these forests and of our woodlands in gen- 
eral. Not only is our country vast and possessed of extensive forest 
lands, but these forests and arboreal districts are extraordinarily rich in 
the number and variety of species presented. Outside of the tropical 
regions probably no part of the globe presents a greater diversity in an 
equal area. 

To show by comparison the richness of our forest flora, we msiy place 
in contrast that of Europe, which furnishes little over 100 species of 
trees, while within the boundaries of our own country we have about 
400 species. Estimates of the number of species of trees growing within 
our limits will, of course, vary with the standard which is assumed as 
the proper height and size of a tree. The dimensions of trees and 
shrubs vary considerably in different localities, as influenced by climate, 
soil, and altitude, so that a tree of good size in some localities may in 
others be reduced to a shrub. Generally, those plants which are des- 
tined to become trees have from the first an erect and firm woody 
stem, but there are some exceptions to this rule. The flowering Dog- 
wood, Cornus Florida, as commonly found in the northern woods, is a 
straggling bush, but individuals frequently assume an erect trunk and 
attain the habit and size of a moderately large tree. The Magnolia 
glauca, or White Bay, grows and flowers freely in some portions of 
Massachusetts, where it attains only the size of a shrub. It, however, 
steadily increases its size in situations farther south, until in Georgia 
and Florida it frequently becomes a large tree. In some places, also, 
the same species appears as a shrub or a large tree, in closely contig- 
uous localities. One of the maples of Oregon is called the Vine Maple, 
because the stem is at first weak and forming tangled thickets, but 
some of these stems finally become erect or oblique, and acquire the 
body and height of pretty large trees. 

Generally those plants which are designated as shrubs are not only 
low in stature, but have the habit of growing in clumps, or developing 
a great many stems from one main root. In other cases they throw out 



GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 39 

numerous stolons and multiply their stems so as frequently to consti- 
tute a thicket of bushes. 

I think it will be in accordance with general custom to assume that 
those woody plants which have an erect habit, and ordinarily attain a 
height of 16 to 20 feet or more, may be counted as trees. 

With reference to its vegetation, the territory embraced within our 
limits may be primarily divided into three regions, but each of these 
regions includes great variations of climate (which are characterized by 
peculiar floras), and is therefore subdivided into secondary regions or 
districts. 

1st. The Atlantic Eegion embraces all that portion of the country 
from the eastward slope of the Eocky Mountains extending eastward to 
the Atlantic Ocean. 

2d. The Pacific Eegion embraces California, Oregon, and Washington 
Territory and the mountain ranges of the western coast. 

3d. Lying between these we have an Interior Eocky Mountain Eegion, 
embracing the Great Interior Basin with its mountain ranges, the chain 
of mountains extending through New Mexico and Colorado, and the 
country southward bordering upon Mexico. 

Passing to a more detailed account of the main Eegions, we find that 
in the Atlantic Eegion we have to make several subdivisions. In the 
southern portion of Florida we have a very distinctive semi-tropical 
flora, furnishing about sixty species of trees which appear in no other 
part of our boundaries, which are mostly identical with existing West 
Indian species, and are probably descendants of a vegetation which ex- 
isted at a period when there was land connection between Florida and 
the West Indies. As very few of these sixty species have any relatives 
in the other botanical Eegions, it will not be necessary here to make a 
special enumeration of them. 

The region lying north of this subtropical district presents a great 
variety of climate, but it is difficult to draw any close line of separation 
into sub-regions. Looking at the extreme northern and the extreme 
southern portions of the territory there is a very strong contrast in the 
forest productions. Hence we may say that there is a northern and a 
southern Atlantic division. But the climatic variation of this region is 
much broken by the Apalachian chain of mountains which provides a 
pathway by which many of our northern trees penetrate into the States 
of North Carolina and Georgia. Therefore the number of trees that 
may be considered strictly northern are few — perhaps less than a dozen 
of these extend beyond the Arctic circle. These are chiefly the follow- 
ing: Black Spruce (Picea nigra), White Spruce (Picea alba), Balsam Fir 
(Abies balsamea), Balsam Poplar (Populus balsamea), Aspen (Populus 
tremuloides), Canoe Birch (Betula papyracea) and Larch (Larix Ameri- 
cana). Beside these there are a few which find their northern limits 
near Hudson's Bay, and seldom pass below the forty-second parallel. 
These are the Scrub or Banksian Pine (Pinus BanTcsiana), Norway Pine 



40 GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 

(Pinus resinosa), White Birch (Betula alba var. populifolia), Yellow Birch 
{Betula lutea), and Arbor Yitse (Thuja occidentalis). 

Of the above a very few, namely, the Balsam Poplar, the Aspen, the 
White Spruce, the Eed Cedar, Cottonwood (Populus monilifera), the small 
Mountain Ash (Pyrus sambucifolia), the Black Thorn (Cratayus tomen- 
tosa), the Box Elder (Negundo aceroides), and two or three willows, pass 
across the continent to the northward, so as to be represented on both 
sides. 

But a large number of forest trees of the Atlantic Begion range from 
Xew York and the Great Lakes southward to the Gulf of Mexico ; 
among these are many Oaks, Hickories, Maples, Ash, several Poplars 
and Pines. Quite a number of trees seem to be most at home about 
the middle region of the district extending both northward and south- 
ward. 

With respect to a large number of the forest trees of the Atlantic 
Begion the line of the thirty-seventh parallel may be taken as the sepa- 
rating line between those which may be called northern and those called 
southern ; those of the one kind seldom passing south of that line, and 
those of the other kind seldom passing further north. 

Among the more characteristic trees of the southern district we may 
mention five Magnolias, one Prickly Ash (Xanthoxylum Garolinianum), 
one Holly, one Cyrilla, one Cliftonia, one Sapindus, two Locusts (Robinia 
pseudacacia and R. viscosa), one Prunus, one Wild Crab Apple (Pyrus 
angustifolia), five Wild Thorns (Crateegus), two Tupelos, one Sorrel Tree 
(Oxydcndrum), three Bumelias (Iron Wood), one Sugar-leaf (Symplocos), 
two Ralesias, one Ash, one Forestiera, one Fringe Tree (CMonanthus), 
one Devil Wood (Osmanthus), one Catalpa, one Winged Elm (Ulmus 
alata), one Planer a, two Hickories, six Oaks, one Swamp Poplar (Popu- 
lus heterophylla), one Cypress (Taxodium distichum), and five species of 
Pines. 

There are besides in the South Atlantic and Gulf States a number of 
trees which only grow in the vicinity of the ocean, and which have their 
relationship mostly with tropical trees, as, for instance, the Palmetto, 
the Bed Bay (Persea Garoliniensis), the Mock Orange (Primus Carolini- 
ana), the Dahoon Holly (Ilex Dalioon), the Live Oak (Quercus virens), 
the Mangle (RMzoplwr a Mangle), and the Georgia Bark (Pinkneya p u- 
bens). 

We have also to consider a few trees in the South Atlantic States 
which are restricted to very narrow limits, and which are probably to 
be regarded as survivors of an ancient vegetation in gradual process 
of extinction. These are the Florida Yew (Taxus Florid ana), and the 
Florida Cypress (Torreya taxifolia), both occupying a narrow strip on 
the Apalachicola River in Northern Florida; Fraser's Balsam (Abies 
Fraseri), of the mountain peaks of North Carolina 5 the Southern Hem- 
lock [Tsuga Caroliniana), confined to the Southern Alleghanies, and 
Chittim Wood (Rhus cotinoides), growing on the bluffs of the Tennessee 



GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 41 

Eiver in Northern Alabama, and again to a limited extent in Arkansas 
and Texas, to which we should perhaps add a species of Bay ( Gordonia 
pubescens), which has not been observed in a wild state for many years 
and is perhaps already extinct, and a species of Alder (Alnus maritima), 
a small tree growing in Eastern Delaware and Maryland. 

Two or three peculiar trees occur in the lower Mississippi Valley 
which can hardly be classed as belonging to any of the other regions j 
these are, first, the Osage Orange (Madura aurantiaca), growing in Ar- 
kansas, the Indian Territory, Eastern Texas, and Louisiana ; and, second, 
a species of Thorn (Crataegus berberifolia), which seems to be confined to 
portions of Florida and Mississippi. 

The great State of Texas seems to unite to some extent the main 
forest divisions of the country, merging on the east into the Atlantic 
Eegion and on the west into that of the Bocky Mountains and Great 
Basin. In the eastern and southern portions of the State, however, 
there are a few trees which are either peculiar to the district or are 
northward extensions of East Mexican trees. Among them we may 
mention a species of Buckeye (Ungnadia), a species of Bed-bud (Cercis 
reniformis), the Pistachia, two species of Sophora, the Texas Madrona 
(Arbutus Texana), an Iron- wood (Bumelia cuneaia), the Mexican Per- 
simmon (Diospyros Texana), the Thick-leaved Elm (Ulmus crassifoMa), 
and a marked variety of Bed Cedar. 

Passing now to the west we enter the Interior Bocky Mountain Be- 
gion. And this we find to be divisible into two sections : first, the 
flora of the mountains and interior basin; and, second, the flora of the 
arid plateau adjoining the Mexican border, and extending from West- 
ern Texas to Southern California. The first district embraces Utah and 
Nevada, the northern portions of New Mexico and Arizona, with Colo- 
rado, Wyoming, and parts of Montana. 

The tree vegetation of this district is very limited, confined princi- 
pally to the mountain ranges. The number of species is very few, prin- 
cipally the following : two species of Maple, one Locust (Eobinia Neo- 
Mexicana), one Ash (Fraxinus anomala), one Oak ( Quercus undulata var. 
Gambellii), three Poplars (Populus angustifolia, P. tremuloides and P. bal- 
samifera), two or three varieties of Juniper us ; about five species and 
varieties of Pine (Pinus flexilis, P. ponder osa, P. edulis, P. monophylla, 
and P. Balfouriana variety aristata) ; two species of Spruce (Picea En- 
gelmanni and P. pungens) ; and one Balsam (Abies subalpina). 

The southern part of this Interior Eegion, sometimes called the Tex- 
ano-Mexican district, extends from Western Texas to Southern Cali- 
fornia. 

The trees of this arid belt number about fifty species, a portion of them 
being confined to the region of the Lower Colorado, called the Colorado 
desert, and the remainder dispersed through the dry elevated plateaux, 
and on the mountains rising from the same, with their slopes and canons. 
The more frequent of these trees are, two species of Mesquit and the 



42 GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 

Screw bean {Prosopis), several specimens of Acacia and Lucwna, two 
species of ParMnsonia, one Iron- wood (Olneya), one Dalea, one Zizyphus, 
the Giant Cactus (Cerens giganteus), one species of Chilopsis, one Syca- 
more (Platanus Wrightii), about five species of Oak, one Juniper or 
Arizona Cedar, one Cypress, four species of Pines, the Desert Palm 
(Washingtonia fiMfera), and two species of tree Yuccas. 

We next arrive at the Pacific Begion. This, like the other regions, 
presents a northern and a southern portion. The northern portion, in- 
cluding Washington Territory and Oregon, west of the Cascade Mount- 
ains, and also including the northern part of California, is heavily tim- 
bered with some of the largest and most magnificent Conifers of the 
world, such as the Douglas Spruce, the Western Arbor Vitse (Thuja 
gigantea), the Xootka or Yellow Cedar (Chamcecyparis Xutkaensis), 
Pinus monticola, or White Pine, Pinus Lambertiana, or Sugar Pine, 
Pinus ponderosa, or Yellow Pine, Oregon Spruce (Picea Sitchensis); two 
species of Hemlock (Tsuga Mertensiana and T. Pattoniana)-, one Larch 
(Larix occidentalis), and four superb Balsams (Abies grandis, A. amabilisi 
A. nobilis, and A. magnifica). 

The southern portion of the Pacific Kegion embraces the larger por- 
tion of California, and is a much drier district, the plains and Pacific 
slopes being thinly wooded, but the higher mountain ranges and foot- 
hills presenting a great diversity of Conifers, some of them attaining 
enormous proportions. 

In the entire Pacific Eegion we find but about ninety species of trees, 
the principal of which are as follows: One species of Buckthorn, two 
or three species of Ceanothus, one Buckeye, three species of Maple, one 
Box Elder, one Crab Apple, two or three species of Primus, one Xut- 
tallia, one Mountain Mahogany (Cercocarpus), one Bedbud (Cercis), two 
Wild Thorns (Cratcegus), one Flowering Dogwood (Cornus Nuttallii), 
one Elder-tree (Sambucus glauca), one Madrona-tree (Arbutus Menziesii) , 
one Manzanita (Arctostapliylos), two species of Ash, one Laurel (Umbel- 
lid aria), one Sycamore, one Walnut, one Myrtle (Myrica): ten species 
of Oaks, one Chestnut, one small Birch, three Alders (Alnus), three 
Willows, four Poplars, one California Xutmeg-tree. (Torreya), one Yew, 
(Texas brevifolia), three Bed Cedars (Juniperus), seven other trees called 
Cedars belonging to the genera Libocedrus, Thuja, andCupressus, the two 
Sequoias, seven species of Firs, five species of Hemlocks and Spruces, 
two Larches, and fourteen species of Pines. 

All the trees of the Pacific Begion, except a few Poplars and Wil- 
lows, are different species from those of the Atlantic Begion, quite a 
number of them indeed belonging to genera which are not else where rep- 
resented in the L^nited States. 

A person accustomed to the varied tree flora of the Atlantic Begion 
will here miss many of the familiar trees of that region. On the Pacific 
side there are no Magnolias, no Basswoods, no Holly, no Locust, no 
Sweetgum, no Sourgums, no Persimmons, no Catalpa, no Sassafras, no 



GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 43 

Bay-tree, no Elms, no Mulberry, no Hickory, no Beech, no Hornbeam, 
and ODly one small Birch. All the Oaks, Pines, &c, are of species dif- 
ferent from those of the East. 

To recapitulate, we have in Southern Florida 60 peculiar species, in 
the Atlantic Region about 175 species, in the Interior Begion about 70 
species, and in the Pacific Region 90 species, making a total of nearly 
400 species. 

Passing now from this outline of tree distribution, let us briefly re- 
view some of the larger orders or families, and note their distribution 
and range. 

The family which is represented by the greatest number of species 
and is most widely distributed over the country is that of the Oaks, of 
which we have about 37 species of tree size,besides several shrubby species. 
Of these 23 species belong to the Atlantic Begion, 8 species to the Pa- 
cific Begion, and 6 species to the Interior and Texano-Mexican districts. 

The next largest genus is that of the Pines, of which we have 34 
species, distributed as follows: In the Atlantic Begion 13 species, in the 
Pacific Begion 14 species, and in the Interior and Mexican border 7 
species and several varieties. If we take into account all the Conifers, 
including the Pines, we find that we have 80 species, the largest portion 
of which occurs on the western side of the continent. 

The next largest family will be that of the Willows and Poplars, o± 
which we have 21 or 22 tree species, a portion of them extending quite 
across the continent, the others pretty evenly divided between the 
Atlantic and Pacific Begions. 

Of Maples we have about 10 species, 6 of which belong to the Atlan- 
tic and four to the Pacific and Interior Begions. 

The genns Primus presents 11 or 12 species, 6 of which are Atlantic, 4 
Pacific, and 2 belonging to the Interior Begion. The genus Crataegus 
or Thorns is represented by 11 species, all but 3 of which are confined to 
the Atlantic Begions. 

The Ash family (Fraxinus) gives us 10 species and 2 or 3 varieties, of 
which 6 species belong to the Atlantic, 2 to the Pacific, and 2 to the 
southwestern regions. 

The genus Carya, embracing the Hickories, furnishes 8 species, all 
confined to the Atlantic side of the continent. 

The remaining genera have a less number of species,very few of them 
containing more than 5. 



ADDRESS OF MR. PHIPPS. 

Mr. B. W. Phipps, delegate from the Province of Ontario, addressed 
the Congress substantially as follows: 

Mr. President : In this address I shall endeavor to give some idea 
of our position in Ontario with respect to forestry, the amount of land 
yet remaining in forest, the manner in which Ontario has been and is 



44 GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 

being cleared, and the steps which are now being taken by the Ontario 
Government to prevent the too rapid deforesting of the land. 

A hundred years ago Ontario was a forest, a forest of the most valu- 
able description. Many millions of its acres, now largely farming land, 
were covered with magnificent groves of pine trees, many of them nearly 
200 feet in height, and nearly 7 feet through at the base, running up a 
hundred feet without a branch. Some of them were rendered useful, 
being converted into lumber when they grew near rivers, or where, per- 
haps, our first attempts at railways penetrated the forest. But the vast 
majority, rolled together in log-heaps, fed the flames in many a wood- 
man's clearing. 

As it was with the pine so it was with the other trees. Down before 
the ax went the wide-spreading forests of maple and beech, of hickory 
and bass-wood — to pass into smoke, to clear the way for the farmer's 
plow. It must be remembered that this only applies, so far as pine 
is concerned, to the older settlements, which, however, cleared a good 
deal of the country. But now, and for many years past, pine and much 
hard wood have formed a large part of our exports, and are taken much 
more care of. The right to cut the pine is sold to the lumberman, and 
the settler may cut it on his lot for use, but not to sell. But if the 
lumberman has not cut it, the settler may clear the land and burn the 
wood. 

That it was necessary that land should be obtained for agriculture 
none will deny, but had the cost of the sacrifice then been known, 
surely much would have been spared. We had in Ontario one large 
region where much of the forest was heavy black waluut. In all On- 
tario to-day there is so little left of merchantable black walnut that we 
are importing that wood from your Indiana, where also, we are told, 
it is becoming scarce. Some settlers of the early time speak of the dif- 
ficulty they had in clearing the ground of the walnut trees. They con- 
trived, however, to burn them, and many a square league of land now 
grows wheat which once grew walnut. In later years they have had an 
opportunity of judging how profitable their work was when, for one or 
two of these giants left standing, they have received, as I am credibly 
informed, as much as a thousand dollars apiece. On many an acre there 
were fifty such trees, while it is very doubtful if any acre of them all 
has yielded for agricultural purposes a profit of a thousand dollars from 
that day to this. In Western Canada, winding through a district where 
now is scarcely a walnut tree, are two or three miles of an old corduroy 
road composed of this valuable and once abundant wood. Were its 
half decayed sticks but sound again they would be worth about a quar- 
ter of a million dollars. 

The lesson we may learn from the manner in which land has been dis- 
posed of to the settler in Ontario, and the results which have followed, 
undoubtedly make it a question of very grave consideration whether 
in all future sales of Government lands, before any region is thrown 



GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 45 

open for settlement, certain large portions, comprising probably not less 
than one-third of the whole, should not be reserved permanently as 
forest lands and preserved perpetually in good and reproductive con- 
dition by proper officials appointed by the Government, whose duty it 
should be to prevent injury, so far as possible, by fire, by cattle, or by 
unlawful appropriation of timber. It would then be in the power of 
those who lay out the tracts to leave permanently in timber a great 
proportion of the mountain, of the swamp, and of the rocky or inferior 
land, and to throw open for cultivation those portions best fitted for 
the plow. There is no doubt that such regulations would prove ex- 
tremely beneficial to the territories settled, and that the cost of Govern- 
ment supervision would be far more than repaid by the sale of the 
overplus of the timber preserved. 

By one means and another, we have been reduced in many parts of 
Ontario to 10 per cent, of timbered land. Other portions have 20 per 
cent, and some 40 per cent. left. But the quantity in these is being 
rapidly reduced. And it is found that through the absence of sheltering 
forests the winter winds are much more keen than formerly, rendering 
the keeping and care of cattle much more expensive, while by blowing 
the protecting snow from the fields, great injury is done to the impor- 
tant crops of winter wheat and clover. 

In addition to the grave evils which threaten Ontario, should its 
stock of firewood be largely destroyed, our supply of wood for many 
important manufacturing purposes is beginning to run low. Our fur- 
niture manufacturers have no more walnut ; they find white-ash difficult 
to obtain ; bass-wood, of which we formerly possessed vast amounts, is 
now so diminished in quantity that the swamp-elm has to be substituted. 
Our agricultural-implement makers and car-builders, too, already find 
good oak ash, and rock- elm so hard to obtain that where they can 
they use iron instead, and in many other woods the present deficiency, 
as compared with the former abundance, is extremely marked. 

If matters were likely to continue in their present position, that is 
to say, become no worse, there would not be so much occasion for alarm. 
But this is not to be expected. The railways, the farm-implement 
makers, the furniture men, the house-builders, the wagon-makers, and 
the workers in many other industries, are rapidly consuming our stores 
of wood, and, above all, the farmer in the back townships continues, 
with ax and torch, to pursue the work of destruction. 

It has been proposed in Ontario, as being probably the only way to 
secure the continuance of any sufficient portion of the interspersing for- 
est, to permit the farmer to obtain on application an exemption from 
local taxation on such part of his forest as he might declare his inten- 
tion of continuing in woodland, and from which he will agree to exclude 
cattle and to cut none but grown timber (15 inches at the base being 
probably the smallest allowable in most varieties), the exemption to con- 
tinue while the forest is so preserved. If, however, the owner should 



46 GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 

wish at any time to cut down the trees on the reserved portion, or use 
the ground for pasture, it is suggested that he then become liable for 
the taxes which have been remitted to him or the bonus allowed. 

The Ontario Government have lately passed an act for the encourage- 
ment of tree-planting which it is expected will be of great benefit, and 
which provides that farmers planting trees along the roads or along the 
dividing lines of farms, some yards apart, will, if the trees are in good 
order in three years' time, receive 25 cents per tree from the township 
councils, half of which the Ontario Government will repay to the coun- 
cils. Many thousand trees have already been planted under this law. 

It is plain that the first thing in order to stimulate the community 
to proper action is to furnish it with the data necessary to produce 
opinion. Acting upon this idea, Government distributed last year 
throughout Ontario fifteen thousand copies of a forestry report, whicli 
some of you may have seen, which will be followed shortly by another, 
containing much practical knowledge and experience on the subject. 
The various counties are to be communicated with in regard to the 
reservation and protection of portions of forests now in private hands, 
and means will shortly be taken to investigate the question of the best 
methods of preservation from fire and continuance in reproductive con- 
dition of some of the principal pine forests in the interior. 

There is no doubt whatever in the minds of those who have studied 
this subject, even within the narrow limits which Ontario affords, that 
the interspersion of a proper amount of forest, though apparently ab- 
stracting from the cultivable area of the country, really abstracts noth- 
ing, but, on the contrary, adds much. The farmer has found by re- 
peated experience that when the forest is cleared the soil no longer 
yields its original return. If every farmer would retain, or would plant 
upon his land, a fair proportion of forest, the benefits to himself and to 
the country at large would be very great. It is in all such cases our 
experience in Ontario that cultivation is easier and more profitable, that 
stock need less food and less shelter, and that winter life in general, aud 
traveling in particular, are far more comfortable than when the country 
has been reduced to a bare expanse of snowy surface. 

Much has been said concerning the influence of forest on rainfall, 
and it has been admitted by all that, whether forests occasion rain or 
not, they undoubtedly act as reservoirs of moisture. We know that the 
clearing of forests dries the land, that surface-creeks by the thousand 
cease altogether to flow. We know that over vast districts, where wells 
of 10 feet had been of ample depth, wells of 20, 30, and 40 feet are 
needed when the forest goes. The retaining of a due proportion of forest 
greatly aids in giving rain to the fields when rain is most necessary to 
render them fertile. 

I have spoken of the personal interest of the farmer, or other land- 
holder, in forestry. But, passing from the personal to the national view, 
our populations, pouring from the Old World to the New, or drawing thejr 



GOVERNMENT TIMBER LANDS. 47 

first breath upon our shores, have a duty to perform in the matter which 
cannot be gainsaid. We received America as a land rich in forest, in 
stream, in fertile soil fit for the future support of countless multitudes. 
We know what ruin the deprivation of forests has brought upon other 
lands. We can, in vast floods here, in failing fertility there, already see 
the premonitions of that ruin in our own. Let us remember that we 
must not destroy the power of the land to support those who are to come 
after us. Along the path we tread they will shortly follow. Let us 
endeavor to stay the tendency to render that path barren and desolate, 
and strive to leave it as we found it, blossoming with life and fertility, 
a remembrance to our successors that in our day we endeavored to per- 
form our duty to the land which supported us — a remembrance than 
which, had we the choice of the wealth of the universe, we could leave 
them nothing more valuable.