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All these interesting questions will require long continued observa. tions, and carefully executed experiments, betore we can hope to reach any safe conclusions.
Who among us has yet bestowed sufficient attention to the mutual relations of our native and introduced trees to enable him to indicate which of them are obnoxious to one another, and which may be planted in mixed groups? Yet it is evident that just here we have much to learn. As to their varied characters in this respect we need to know respecting each of the species :
1st. The term or rotation of trees, the time required by them to reach their maximum of profit. And this is so various that it becomes an im. portant factor in the matter of grouping.
2d. The hight which the trees may attain at maturity is an important element in the same problem.
3d. As also is the rapidity of their growth, for some will, in a few years, so tower above their fellows as to impede their advance.
4th. Some species are fouud to be really obnoxious or even poisonous to others. Such should never be grouped together.
5th. Some trees are so exclusive that they should always be planted in masses by themselves, while others seem to require the protecting care of nurses or companions.
Upon all these points we are as yet almost wholly ignorant, and we shall need long series of careful observations to enable us to decide what is best for us. These are some of the many experiments which are devolved upon us when we undertake to build up a system of enlightened American Forestry.
There is a vast field of inquiry before us respecting the benefits of forests, which must still remain unsolved, for who is prepared to set forth duly their advantages.
1st. To man, in their æsthetic and improving influence upon society.
2d. In their effects upon our health, and whether they be really deleterious, or, as appears to be true in many cases, advantageous, by purifying the atmosphere and by fending off malaria.
3d. In their contributions to our comfort, directly and indirectly.
4th. In that very interesting item that relates to our pockets, as they may be affected by the outlay per acre required in building up the forest, and the probable income that may be expected at the end of a term of years.
5th. Or, their benefits to our domestic animals, in the important matters of shelter, comfort, health and food ; or, to our farm crops, by means of the shelter they afford from storms and the consequent increase in the yield on
such farms over similar crops in the same region where they are fully exposed to the elements.
When we come to the consideration of a systematic forestry, we shall at once find how great is our need of reliable information. Let us indicate a few of the other points upon which our ignorance is painfully conspicuous: Who among us can render a satisfactory statement as to the proper rotation or period of our own trees, or indicate the proper succession of different species, which may best follow each other; or, who can inform us what preparatory species should be planted on barren wastes, in order to bring the land into a condition to produce valuable forests, as is done in many regions of Europe, where reboisement or re-foresting the mountain wastes, is successfully practiced, and in most of the elevated forest regions of Germany, where the Erica is so valued as a nurse plant that a clearing is never replanted or resown until the heaths have again taken possession of the surface.
Who can indicate for our benefit, and enable us to make the most profitable disposition of the lands we propose to devote to forestry, as to what will be the best proportion of the species we shall plant under any given condition ?
In the matter of grouping, who can tell us what species of trees may be considered consociates, and which are dissociates ? Who can tell us how, if at all, we can combine needle-leaved trees with those that are broad-leared ? or, which of either grand division will thrive best when mingled together, or, which species may require to be planted in masses alone.
What do we know and need to know respecting the necessity for protection of the planted forests against animals, by means of walls, ditches, hedges, or fences, whether these last be of wood, of stone, or of wire, and which will be best and most economical under any given conditions ! Against insects in their multiform, numerous and destructive invasions of the forest. Against fires, by means of laws and penalties executed by guards and forest warders.
Then again, who among us is qualified to go into a piece of woodland and make correct estimations as to the value of the crop, and give us the exact contents by surveys and measurements, or to open, with the property in question, a proper system of accounts? Who can tell us how to arrange for the forest management of large timber growths; of coppice, with its appropriate treatment, thinning and cutting from time to time; and of the mixed forests, or give us directions as to the proportions of their several ages, in order to make such most profitable, and a continuous source of revenue!
Having at length settled all the necessary preliminaries, and determined upon the system to be pursued, when, at last, the forest shall have reached maturity; or in case we may come into possession of such a property, in ripe condition, whether by inheritance from some previous forester, or, as is usually the case in this country, from the hand of nature-who shall instruct us in the best method of harvesting the grand result by felling or cutting, and determine among the diversity of opinions as to the best season for the work, whether summer or winter, and decide whether the clearing shall be partial or entire, by a clean cut or by leaving mother-trees for self-seeding of the land ?
Then as to the disposition of the crop, separating the various parts according to their adaptation to their several uses; as primary products, consisting of logs, prepared for shipment; spars, or hewed timbers, for construction; sticks, for piles and cribs; cross ties, sawed or hewed; poles, props, for mines, or as cord-wood, fuel ; staves, shingles, or sounding boards. Or as secondary products, embracing barks, fibers, wythes, roots, pitch and resin, oils, galls, dye-stuffs, nuts, seeds, sugars, gums, charcoal.
It will at once be seen that much has to be learned in forestry management.
So in the matter of transportation, the forester must be something of an engineer also, to enable him to direct the construction of the means of transport, consisting of timber-chutes and log-ways, with the needed tools and appliances for their management; of sluices, canals. and booms for the conveyance of timbers by water; and the construction of rafts.
He will also need to make selection of wagons, sleds, and railways for land transport, which will require also the construction of roads and bridges.
Nor will the consideration of the means of changing these primary products into the advanced forms in which they are presented to the markets be keyond the province of him who undertakes the management of large forest areas. Such a director must be able also to oversee the various mills and factories, required for changing the crude products into forms adapting them to their several uses and fitting them for carriage to the more or less distant markets.
And we have no forest schools in which to learn from long trained instructors all these necessary things.
We have no teachers thus trained, and therefore we are thrown upon our own resources.
The question may now very probably arise in your minds, how shall
all these various needs be supplied for the advancement and benefit of the American forester. Feeling our needs of information on the numer. ous branches of our prospective labors, we shall be compelled to go to work in good earnest. We must begin at the beginning and pass along by slow degress toward the desired end.
We shall be obliged to inaugurate a vast experiment to be carried on at many experimental stations. Yes! We must have a long series of experiments.
We have before us an alarming prospect of the labors to be performed. Discouraging, truly, to the timid ones, on account of hard work, and also on account of the length of time that must be consumed in the performance of such numerous experi ments and investigations.
Centuries of laborious and careful observations directed by the highest skill and science will be required to solve all of these numerous questions; and yet their solution must be attempted and mainly completed before we can claim to have established an American forestry worthy of the name.
Let us not be disheartened, however, by the difficulties of the way. Perseverance and the acknowledged aptitude of the American people to cope with any and all difficulties will be our guaranty of eventual success.
Succeed we will, succeed we shall! Let no one doubt as to the final, though distant, result.
Yes ! let all these experiments go on-they must be tried, since, in many respects, we have new conditions as well as new men to make the observations, and new species to deal with—but, meanwhile, we should not be too proud to learn from others, who were once similarly situated, and who have for generations been pursuing similar investigations, from which they have evolved and are still evolving the most important results both in the principles and in the practices of the art, so that they may fairly claim to have established a systematic forestry.
The forests of Europe lie open before us. The forest schools are conducted by learned professors; practical, trained foresters are to be seen on every estate. The elèves of these schools are to be found in every revier of every forest, carrying out in practice the lessons acquired in long years of study. Let us ask of them, and be willing to learn whatever is available and applicable to our own conditions.
We cannot all go to them as pupils, though it would be well to send some of our young men to pursue a thorough course of study, as Great Britain has sent them to Germany; and men thus educated will one day be needed here, when we come to organize our own schools of forestry.
Meanwhile let a suitable person be sent to observe and report on behalf of this great interest. He should be a man of broad powers, one trained to accurate observation; familiar already with our own forest trees, with vegetable physiology, and possessing a general knowledge of natural history. He should be a man of well balanced mind, who would not be carried away with theories and fancies, nor should he be hampered by any preconceived notions of his own, but who would be able calmly to weigh and consider all that he might see and hear, and carefully to sift the wheat from the chaff. We should need a man who knows how to adapt and fit to the peculiar conditions of our land, with its varied soil and climate, the sum of the accumulated observations of European observers, and the resultant skill in forest management.
The government cannot in any way so effectually aid this great agronomic interest as by spending the moderate amount needed for the outfit and support of a European forestry commission, such as was asked for by the gentlemen who have submitted the memorial that is now under their consideration, and awaiting the reports of their committees.
Such, my friends, you will agree with me in feeling to be the crying want in our pursuit, the great need we have experienced in our attempts to begin the building of a creditable system of American forestry; and such a commission and report, perhaps you will also agree, would be the corner stone to the foundation upon which we may hope to erect a noble superstructure in the future.