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UNCLE SAM'S ROMANCE WITH SCIENCE AND
Part III. The Forest.
BY FRANK VROOMAN.
́T HAS lately come to the notice of our wise men that a forest policy is not only a national need but a national necessity; that our forests not should but must be preserved; that the water supplies sheltered at their sources by the nation's
forest-covers are needed for the
vation of areas already under cultivation, and for the creation of new homes and farmsteads out of regions now parched to uselessness, must be protected and conserved. Public sentiment has drifted
tardily in the wake of the far-sighted, and Congress has kept in sight of public opinion so far that the appropriations for the Forest Service have been increased from $20,000 to $1,000,000 a year.
It has been said often and truly that the two most important new problems of the internal administration of the affairs of the United States are National Irrigation and National Forestry. The government has adopted a public-land policy toward the solution of these problems involving some of the fundamental, if not vital, conditions of our national welfare.
It is certain that a national forest policy is all that stands between us and the speedy destruction of whatever foundations of wood our national utilities and industries rest upon, and as well the sources of living waters for thirsty lands. The control and administration of the forest reserves, formerly under the direction of the Land Office, passed last June over to the newly-created Forest Service, the nucleus of which was the Bureau of Forestry of the Department
the Trust into the field of "coppers" and it is already preparing plans for copper development that will run into the millions. It is not improbable that "Amalgamated Copper" itself will soon fall into the rapacious maw of the whale-born Guggen
heims. If not, it will at least have a formidable rival in the Trust.
of Agriculture, whose personnel included men of the scientific training and experience necessary to render the people the largest utility and benefit the most lasting. With the coöperation of the President and the Secretary of Agriculture, Mr. Gifford Pinchot, National Forester, has, in making a national issue of the tree, begun a great movement, which, it is hoped, eventually will place the American forest beyond the ravages of the destructive anarchy of the "land-skinner."
The Forest Service has been familiar
izing itself with the entire public domain with reference to its highest measure of utility. This study is thorough and scientific, free alike from any guess-work or favoritism, and includes both general and specific problems of the forest and its products, the tree and its products, and every possible relation they sustain to the nation and to the individual. In short, it is concerned with every possible relation existing between civilization and the tree. It studies methods of treeplanting, growing and utilization; whatever can make every given wood last longer and produce more, and what can produce more of that wood and for a greater length of time. The Service not only seeks the introduction of practical and scientific forestry throughout every portion of Uncle Sam's public domain, but is enlarging the forests of that domain; and is introducing the same methods among the private owners of timber areas, large or small, by advice, by the distribution of literature, by the dissemination of scientific knowledge learned from original investigations, and in actual cooperation in the work. It is replanting operation in the work. denuded forest areas, starting new ones and conserving old ones. It is studying the problems of the small owners of 500,000,000 acres of wood-lots and showing
them not only how they can successfully destroy 10,000,000 acres of timber-land practice forestry but compete with the every year. Leaving out of account the holders of larger interests. It studies the destruction of human life, this represents tree in its relation to the drouth and to a great annual loss in money-value, and the flood; to the irrigation of arid lands a secondary loss to the water-supply. and the encroachments of sand dunes, This is a tremendous addition to the as well as to the inundations of the freshet. waste of the reckless lumberman, and can
It tells the man who owns timber-land only be mitigated by a government patrol. how to get the most out of it; the farmer While not much has been attempted who has none what trees to plant and to make of the lumber interests a charity how. It shows the lumberman how to organization society, they have been avoid waste and the millman how to save, brought to see that the future of their and this because of the imminent dangers business lies in the future of the tree, and of the failure of both the timber and, in that they must fall in line with the federal places, the water-supply and the incon- forest policy or go out of business for want ceivable and irreparable loss to the nation of one. which would ensue.
The forests of the United States are The two great outlines, however, which not yet safe from destructive lumbering. embrace the incomparably useful and But methods of conservative lumbering, necessary, even vital, contributions of the which use the product of the forest withForest Service to the nation are: first, out impairing its future productive power, that it has made possible the perpetua- have been demonstrated as constituting tion of the utilities and industries and a business proposition, especially as to comforts in our land dependent upon the protection of the young timber. This wood; second, it has secured for the peo- is perhaps one of the most practical and ple a great area of forest reserve and water most splendid achievements of the Forest supply and is securing more. These re- Service, for in this fact lie varied possiserve areas have already been more than bilities of future development of an indoubled during Mr. Pinchot's régime in dustry that was strangling the goose that the addition of 44,000,000 acres, or ex- laid the golden eggs. And this is wholly actly 687,500 square miles; or an area the result of the work of the Forest Service nearly the size of Nebraska, or twice the and of the President of the United States. total forest-area of France, which is eigh- No clearer note in the national forest teen per cent. of her total land-area; or policy has ever been struck than that in thirty-six per cent. the total area of France. the words of President Roosevelt at the Mr. Pinchot has labored incessantly and opening of the American Forest Confersympathetically to teach the lumberman ence in Washington, January 2, 1905: that there is no future to his business if
“I ask with all the intensity that I am there is no future to the tree. And here emerges one of the most valuable phases capable of that the men of the West will of his work: in the conversion, at least remember the sharp distinction I have to some degree, of the reckless and self- just drawn between the man who'skins seeking and destructive methods of the the land and the man who develops the lumber interests to more or less an atti- country. I am going to work with and tude of support of the government policy. only with the man who develops the counHeretofore forest fires have been aiding try. I am against the ‘land-skinner' the conflagrations of the feverish greed every time. Our policy is consistent to of irresponsible and devil-may-care and give to every portion of the public domain after-us-the-deluge lumber and other pri
its highest possible amount of use." vate interests of the species “land-skin- These words outline the policy of this ner.” It is estimated that forest fires government toward the remaining public domain. The President is determined cut out and lakes left behind. Out of that what is left shall at least not be the 250,000 acres of wonderfully fertile soil, oot of spoilsmen, but that whenever the ten thousand were completely destroyed; sround can be tilled, there shall be a home ten thousand more lost fifty per cent. of ind that the public-lands shall have their their value; and the uncertainty left beorest cover protected.
hind depreciated the value of the whole The creation of forest reserves is a part valley. f the public-land policy of the United The Forest Service has devised systems states government and aims at the pre- of tree-planting for the river banks, the ention of the waste of any of its resources sand-covered and deeply eroded lands. nd the best permanent use of all the land The object of the first is to prevent washy all the people.
ing of the banks, to protect the whole A single illustration from the multitude area from the full force of the floods and f economies instituted by this Service in time of overflow to check the tendency ay be taken from the turpentining in- to cut new channels. The last two sysrests. The unbroken forest of long- tems are for ultimately reclaiming the af pine which once extended through now destroyed lands and making them he Southern states, practically from the productive. The useless sand-lands will tlantic seaboard to Texas, had been so grow cottonwood and reclaim the land r exhausted that expert estimates gave for crops. A most interesting discovery le industry but fifteen years more to live. was made after the flood. Where the (ore than half of the original forest had protected growth of cottonwood which een exhausted and much of the rest de- had not been cut away checked the rush eted from reckless and wasteful methods. of flood-waters, the land beyond was gen
The service has introduced Dr. Charles erally covered not with sand but silt, and • Herty's “cup”-sytem, instead of the is often more fertile than before. With d destructive box-system, prolonging extensive planting of trees another flood e life of the naval-store industry, which would bring back, instead of further desoas threatened with immediate extinc- lation, a return of fertility to much of the pn. The “Herty” system produces land now barren. t only higher-grade rosins than were There are practically but three classes bssible to the other, but it increases the of land left out of all the great North rpentine output by about forty per cent. American forest and pampas, so short a ţa cost of about $14,000 all told, the time since the roaming-place of bison and prest Service has in this one item added Indian. These at present are all un1,000,000 a year to the naval-stores suitable to agriculture and mostly to oducts. But more important than this human habitation. There is first the the fact that it has not only saved the desert-land that can be reclaimed by rpentine industry, but the turpentine water. There is the desert-land apparrests from annihilation.
ently forever irreclaimable for want of The Service has undertaken, as water. There are also the mountainous ase of its task, the solution of the prob- areas not amenable to agriculture. There n of floods in rivers. For instance: is little hope of future utility in the land he Kansas river floods of 1903 destroyed that lies in hopeless thirst. But between 0,000,000 worth of property and one the other two classes of land there is close Indred lives. One of the most fertile relationship-between the wooded mounlleys on the continent, one hundred tain and the desert plain. High up in the d twenty miles long, was partly de- forested cañons nature has built her great foyed. Here the rich soil was cut away; sponge-reservoirs and her dams of moss ere it was covered with sand six and and fern. Above these yet the ice and ght feet deep over the field; holes were snow. Here open thousands of tiny
sluiceways for the oozing waters that have is: “How would it have been with us been let loose from melting sun and falling otherwise ?” What the country was rain. Soaking deep the sluggish and without the Reclamation Service we have reluctant waters flow from their cool seen who knew the arid West years ago. retreats down into the brooks—those into What American agriculture would have the larger streams whose replenished been without national interference, one banks guide them from their natural could imagine who knows what farming . reservoirs into the plain. How different was a generation ago. What the land the cañons and gullies of the treeless and would have been without a National arid regions, scenes of alternating forms Forest policy the average man can not of desolation. When it does rain, which imagine at all. is not often, a thousand streams pour like It is impossible to exaggerate the seriwater off a tin-roof, to expand below into ousness of the menace to the business an inundation in an hour; to sweep swift interests of the country in the possible destruction through the valley; to sub- failure of the lumber supply. Every side at once into a blister on the plains; human interest from agriculture, transto parch there like the forsaken victim of portation, building, manufacture, comillicit love.
merce, on the land, to the sailing-vessel "All at once and all over with a mighty uproar, on the sea with her cargo of wooden nutAnd this way the water comes down at Ladore.” megs, is directly and vitally affected by
A striking comparison of the types of the forest sources of the wood-supply at water-supply was given by J. B. Lippin- living prices. cott, Supervising Engineer of the United We have not been accustomed to think States Reclamation Service, at the For- of the wood industry as much an indisestry Congress, in Washington, last Jan- pensable basis of our industries as iron. uary. He says that Queen creek, Ari
that Queen creek, Ari- We have looked upon agriculture and zona, discharges through a barren, tree- iron as our two most important economic less drainage basin of one hundred and cornerstones. But our cities and our forty-three square miles, in violent fresh- shipyards use more wood now than ever ets and flood-waves, subsiding almost as before the day of steamboats or steelrapidly as they arise. During most of girders. the year the channel is dry.
My attention has been called by Mr. In contrast is Cedar creek, Washing- Smith, Chief of the Editorial Division ton, with the same drainage area. It is of the Forest Service, that while the cenheavily timbered and in addition the sus shows an annual output from the ground is covered with a heavy growth logging-camps of only about one-half of ferns and moss. The total annual of the iron-mines of three hundred and rainfall in Washington creek in 1896 was seventy millions, that this takes no aceight times that of the Arizona creek, yet count of the vast amount of timber not the maximum flood-discharge per second for the general market but for local conis only 3,600 cubic feet for the former, sumption-worth probably in the aggrewhile that of the latter was 9,000 cubic gate at least as much more. Moreover, feet per second. The mean discharge as we use iron we use it up. So it once from the Arizona creek was fifteen cubic was with the forest. Fresh supplies of feet
рег second; that of the other, 1,089 lumber were available only in new terricubic feet per second. He adds that the tory. First the Northeast, then the Lake radical difference in their character is States, then the South were swept clean believed to be largely due to the differ- of any great reserve. Only the Northern ence in forest cover.
Pacific coast was left. Soon this would A fair question to ask, in estimating have been gone under the awful warfare the value of any service, public or private, with which these private interests have vandalized the future. No one who has of so many a deserted waste; we enterread the history of the Forest Service, tain a sentiment-a patriotism—a reand, as well, that of the “land-skinner,” ligion--for the restoration of the beauty, can hesitate long as to whether “state the utility and the dignity of the land. interference,” or laissez-faire—to use the But for the forest, which was the glory larger meaning of the term-is the better of the nation's youth, what would our politics, and as to whether competitive land have been to-day? What would anarchy or patriotic nationality is the it have been to-morrow? Surely another better guiding principle in public affairs. domain. It furnished the settler and
It is pretty certain that, but for a na- pioneer their meat and drink. It gave tional forest policy, and that with the them the roofs over their homeless heads. nation behind it, the greed of the “land- It furnished the fortress to protect them kinner” would soon have laid bare our from the arrow of a treacherous foe. The Western States as it has stripped the life of the nation's youth was nurtured Eastern and Middle States, and deprived in the forest. And more or less in every he arid region of the West of a stable home on the continent to-day some forestvater-supply.
product furnishes shelter. Every true American has felt the ele- When those now middle-aged were nental sorrow of Leatherstocking, driven children and went to school, and when o the Far West because the sound of the Friday afternoon came and it was their roodsman's axe which had driven him turn to “speak,” how many of us have rom his forest home,--still in the clear- idly drawled the hackneyed words: ngs,-hurt his ears; and a lonely old
“Woodman spare that tree; nan with his silent laugh and his silent
Touch not a single bough.” rief, sorrow-stricken still in the far prai
The United States of America facing ie at the sound of a falling tree. There
to-day the practical destruction and pos$ real tragedy here. This is a common
sible annihilation of its mighty forest eling. But this sentiment has never
areas; recovering from its bewilderment, een organized. The financial interests pposed have been organized. This has
in turning from the past, with the illimiteen a necessity, for sentiment still rules able forest line set against its horizon, to een a necessity, for sentiment still rules face the waste and desolation of a few he world. A growing national sentihent is behind the whole work of the achieved a new meaning for words which
more years of annihilating anarchy, has orest Service.
A national sentiment is not a national might sum up a growing national sentintimentalismus. The pioneers of for- ment toward what is left of forest pri
: try, in creed or deed, have entertained b economic grief that the dryads are
“In youth it sheltered me
And I'll protect it now.” ead or that the wan shapes of the hamaryads are wandering like lost ghosts
FRANK VROOMAN. mong the ragged and unroofed stumps Berkeley, Cal.