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Here we have, in the early days of our government, when most of the makers of the Constitution were yet alive, from Washington, who did more to give us our liberties and the Constitution we now enjoy than any other man, a direct recognition of the necessity and advantages of, and the power and duty of Congress to encourage and foster, agriculture.
Mr. President, I ask the passage of this concurrent resolution, and trust it may pass unanimously, as I think it ought to.
FORESTRY AND ITS NEEDS.
AN ADDRESS DELIVERED BEFORE THE AMERICAN FORESTRY ASSOCIATION.
BY JNO. A. WARDER, THE PRESIDENT.
FELLOW-CITIZENS: Without detaining you with a lengthened discussion upon the etymology of the word forest, or with its original meaning, curious and interesting as such a discussion might be, and without stop ping to trace the relations it bore in earlier times to hunting and the chase, we may for the present assume that for us forestry relates essentially to the consideration and especially to the management of the arboreal growths of our woodlands.
Systematic forestry is the application of science and skill to woodcraft; it is the result of the long continued observation and study of all that relates particularly to the planting, treatment, care, disposition, and utilization of trees which have been produced on lands especially set apart for this purpose.
In our language and in our country, the forest usually implies a considerable extent of surface, while a smaller area covered with trees is called a wood, and a more limited number of trees constitute a grove. The portions of our country now occupied by trees are more appropriately called woodlands than forests. Planted in lines of one or of several rows of trees, intended to intercept currents of air, they constitute hedgerows, wind-breaks, or shelter-belts. The coppice or copse is a wood that is intended to be cut off from time to time, when comparatively small.
Let us now consider some of our needs in this department of industry. In all its branches we need information. We need information respecting our native trees. This much, at least, towards a knowledge of forestry should be furnished by our agricultural colleges, and indeed by our country district schools. Every child and certainly every man should be familiar with their appearance under all circumstances, in summer and in winter, standing erect or lying prostrate, in the log or in the lumber pile, or when worked up by the artificer into any of the secondary and ultimate forms to which trees may be applied.
We should be able to recognize any of our trees by their several char
acters of trunk, branch, twig, foliage, or buds and seeds; we should know them even at a distance, by their habit or form, their individuality. We should know the qualities and the uses of the timber and other products yielded by our trees, including their strength, the density, pliability, elasticity, and durability they possess as timbers, and their peculiar beauty as worked lumber, when needed for finishing and ornamentation.
The forester should be familiar with the native habitat of all our own trees, as well as all those we may wish to introduce from other countries. This information will be of the utmost consequence in enabling him to make proper selections of species that may be successfully planted in any given conditions of soil, aspect, and elevation above the sea level.
Equally so we stand in need of similar information respecting foreign trees, both those that have already been introduced, such as the evergreen pines and spruces from Europe, and the deciduous kinds, such as the larch, maples, oaks, poplars and willows. And we should also know about others that might be brought to our shores from climates so different that they would surely fail, such as the cork oak, from the Mediterranean, the eucalyptus from Australia, and some pines from southern Europe which have been recommended for our middle range of States, though wholly unsuited to them.
In each case we greatly need information which will be of great importance to us respecting what to plant, so that we may be successful, whatever be the nature of the lands to be forested, and whatever the soils, situation, humidity, or elevation. All these questions require a knowledge of the peculiar requisitions of the several species.
We shall also require to know where to plant. Mountainous countries, unfitted for agricultural operations, will at once suggest themselves as proper sites for the forest, particularly where such regions are the sources of rivers, for the maintenance and steady flow of which the forest lands are so important. But even where there are no mountain chains, forests are needed. Broken and hilly lands, and especially abrupt hill-sides, even rocky ridges, and river banks may very appropriately be clothed with trees, and these constitute parts of a forest, particularly in a land of extended plains, basins, and great valleys. In some of these interior basins, as well as near the sea-coasts, and even beside some of our great lakes, there are wastes of land of greater or less extent, and often dunes of blowing sands, that are unfit for agricultural purposes, and which, when cleared and bare, are liable to encroach upon the farms, and to obstruct the rivers ; such lands nevertheless, may be planted in forests with the most happy results. Trees not only arrest the progress of the sandy
deserts, but also furnish satisfactory results in the timber they produce. But there are extensive regions so happily constituted that they have neither wastes nor mountains; land which seem to be universally well adapted to agricultural uses, and yet they need not only the products, but also the protection of forests. Here then will be found the opportunity for that modification of forestry that consists in planting hedgerows and belts of timber, in which the trees may be set in lines crossing the direction of the prevailing winds. This is the kind of forestry that is particularly applicable to the broad agricultural regions of our own western States, which abound in open prairies and plains. The influence of such shelter belts has already been realized in this country as it was long ago, in other lands, as in the plains of Holland, which are exposed to the blasts from the North Sea, and where one of our natives has become a favorite trce.
And how important is the knowledge which will be so greatly needed, even after these several points shall have been decided, when the very practical question arises in respect to the manner of doing the work, or how to plant. In the arable lands of the West, in the trans-Mississippi region, where by far the largest plantations in the United States have been made, this question has been definitely settled, at least for the prairie regions. It consisted in a thorough preparation of the soil by completely breaking up the grassy sod, which is either cropped or fallowed, and then cross-plowed and harrowed, as for a crop of grain. The land is then laid off with light furrows, as though it were to be planted with corn, and then the trees, cuttings or seeds are committed to the soil. The former are usually planted with a spade, but in some cases they are set in the furrows and covered with a light plow. The cuttings are usually pushed their length into the mellow soil, and are sometimes driven home with a mallet. Seeds, and especially nuts, are dropped into the furrows and covered by the plow, hoe or harrow, according to their size.
Some planters, especially those who set out larger trees, take more pains, digging holes with the spade and planting the forest trees with as much care as they bestow in setting out an orchard of fruit.
In all cases these planters on arable lands expect to cultivate their trees as carefully as a corn-field, for one, two or three years, according to their growth, or until they shade the ground.
In the Eastern States, where any attempts at forest planting have been made, it is believed that the spade has been used in most cases, though many of the trees grown by the Messrs. Fay, on the coast of Massachusetts, are said to have been produced from seeds strown in furrows made among the rocks by an ox plow, and then lightly covered.
In the Southern Atlantic States, large tracts of exhausted lands have grown up with a thick forest of pines that have been self-sown. The old field pines, P. tada, are not considered valuable, however.
European methods are usually quite different from those adopted in this country, except that in some cases the newly cleared forest lands, after being plowed, have been sowed broadcast with tree seeds, notably conifers, either alone or with a crop of rye, and perhaps other grains. The usual methods of renewing the forest are either pitting, notching, seeding and self-seeding or natural reproduction, which last, when not entirely satisfactory in its results, is complemented by filling in the gaps with useful and desirable species, planted by the first named process; this is particularly practiced with the oaks, and these are usually planted of large size.
Pitting consists in digging holes, at suitable intervals, in which the young trees are planted.
Notching is a very simple process, cheap and primitive. The tool used is a peculiar, narrow and thick spade, which is thrust down into the sod, withdrawn and again inserted so that the two cuts shall be at right angles, and before withdrawing the tool the cleft is opened, and the plant is inserted by an assistant and held in the angle thus formed until the spade is withdrawn, when the earth is pressed against it with foot, and the little tree is left to take care of itself. Attempts to plant in this way have not been very satisfactory in our country, especially where blue grass abounds.
In some cases the German foresters are reported to have adopted a very simple method of seeding-furrows are plowed, into which the newly gathered pine cones are strown and allowed to shed their seeds on the fresh earth where they vegetate. In some of the best managed estates of Austria self-seeding is practiced in mixed forests, especially with deciduous species. The plan is to clear the land partially instead of making a clean cut. Mother trees of desirable kinds are left here and there, so as to produce a partial shade for the protection of the young plants that spring from the self-sown seeds. These mother trees are removed in a few years to give place to the young growth, no longer needing their motherly protecting shade.
There is another very important department of forestry, respecting which we have great need for information of a reliable character, though we have many among us who can talk and write glibly enough respecting the influence of forests upon climate as affecting temperature, rain-fall, hygrometricity and wind motion, their influence upon health disease, and upon the water supply.