Page images
PDF
EPUB

At the IIartford meeting of this Association, held in 1874, a Report, signed by a majority of your Committee, was presenteil by Mr. George B. Emerson, and will be found to give the abore proceedings in fuller detail.3

Early in the 44th Congress, the Ilon. Mark II. Dunnell, who had taken particular interest in this subject, introduced upon notice, a similar Bill, which received the same reference as before. An opportunity for a hearing was given, but no report was made. Before the end of this session, this gentleman, however, secured the adoption of an amendment to an act making appropriations for the current expenses of the Government, in which the Commissioner of Agriculture was directed to appoint a person for prosecuting these inquiries relating to Forestry, his powers and duties being similar to those specified in the Bill just mentioned. This appointment was given to Dr. Franklin B. Hough, and on the 8th of December, 1877, he presented to the Commissioner of Agriculture a Report upon a part of the subjects specified in the act under which this appointment was made. It was transmitted to Congress by the President on the 13th of December, and referred to the House Committee upon Agriculture.

An edition of 25,000 copies of this Report was ordered, but with a restriction introduced by the Printing Committee, which limited its extent to 650 pages, and compelled the omission of a part of the Report.*

At the meeting of this Association held at St. Louis, in 1878, a second Report, prepared by the Chairman of your Committee, was presente, in which further details are given of these proceedings.5 It also embodies his views concerning the subject of Forestry, as applied to the United States, and recites in detail the measures already adoptel in various states for the encouragement of planting, with snch suggestions as to him appeared most effectual for the promotion of these interests.

The Commissioner of Agriculture, deeming the authority granted under the act above mentionech, as sufficient, gare directions for a continuance of these inquiries, and found means from the funds under his control for dlefraying the expenses. A second

3 Proceedings of A. A. A. S., 2311 meeting, Aug., 1874, 11). 36 to 45.

* Report upon Forestis, prepared under the direction of the Commissioner of Agri. culture, pursuant to an Act of Congress, approved August 15, 1870. By Franklin B. llough. Sro. Pp. 050.

Procecelings of 1. A... S., 27t'i meeting, St. Louis, pp. 29 to 40.

Report was presented in January, 1879, and transmitted to Congress by the President early in February of that year. From various causes, wholly foreign to the subject, but chiefly from the occupation of the members of the Committee upon Agriculture (to which it was referred), in other business more urgent, no session was held by the Committee, at which a hearing could be obtained, from the time when this Report was laid before them till the end of the session. In fact, the Committee met but once for business during this time, and then it was wholly occupied upor. another subject. The Report was therefore withdrawn at the last moment of the session, and returned to the Department.

Early in 1880, a Resolution was introduced in Congress, calling for a return of the Report above mentioned, and it was again transmitted by the President, and at once ordered to be printed.

The Committee upon Agriculture, to whom it was referred, gave the subject a prompt and attentive hearing, and agreed unanimously to recommend the publication of 100,000 extra copies. This resolution was still pending when Congress adjourned, and lies over till next session. In the meantime, the stereotyping has been going forward to completion, making a volume of 618 pages.

By the terms of law under which these labors have been done, the Commissioner of Agriculture was directed, among other things, to cause a Report to be made upon the “ Importation and Esportation of Timber and other Forest Products;" and the second Report upon Forestry will be found to embrace an exhaustive statement of the subject in its commercial aspect. It gives a complete summary of the exportation and importation of forest products and wood manufactures, through the period of ninety years, beginning with the government in its present form in 1789, and coming down to the close of the last fiscal year, June 30, 1879, as reported annually by the Secretary of the Treasury from the returns of Collectors of Customs. The arrangement of the tables will be found as uniform as the data'would permit, and ample summaries, percentages and deductions from these tables have been prepared.

The intimate relation between the timber interests of the United States and of Canada, scarcely allows us to consider one without taking into account the other. It is well known that for many years, the lumber products of Canada have found an extensive

and ready sale within the United States, and at the same time, that a large amount of the hewn timber from within the United States, in the country bordering upon our northern lakes, and intended for foreign markets, has been taken down the lakes and the St. Lawrence, for shipment at Quebec. In fact, there has always existed a certain community of interest in the forests, between the inhabitants of the United States and of Canada, and it may be reasonably predicted, that, so long as lumber and timber are produced in either of these countries, they will go to supply the wants of both.

It has therefore been deemed advisable, in presenting a full view of the commerce in wood-products for the United States, and in order that this branch of the subject should be as complete as possible, to enter upon a careful study of the Canadian timber trade from data published by the Dominion and the Provincial Gorernments, beginning with the date of Confederation in 1867, and coming down to the end of the last fiscal year. In some branches of this inquiry, the statistics are carried back to an earlier period, especially in regard to the passage of timber through the government slides and canals, and the inspection of lumber in the timbermarket of Quebec.

A careful analysis has been made of the results of inquiries instituted in recent years by committees of the Dominion Parliament, with the view of ascertaining the condition and future prospects of the timber resources of the country, and the means best adapted for maintaining these supplies, and for economizing their

use.

A full account is also given of the systems of management, with respect to the timber upon the Crown Lands, the results of experience in former methods, and the modifications which this experience has pointed out, in perfecting the systems now in use. In this we may find suggestions applicable in some instances to the public lands of the United States, in the methods of conservation and management that may be hereafter adopted upon our public domain ; in fact, from a similarity of circumstances, we have more to learn from the experience gained in American forests than from the Forest Administrations of Europe, where the tenure of the lands, the systems of government, forest servitudes and the rights of communes and of individuals, are so widely different.

The Crown Lands of Manitoba and of the Northwestern Territories of Canada belong to the Dominion Government and are in care of the Department of the Secretary of State, in a branch of which there is a “ Dominion Lands Office.”

In other parts of Canada, the Crown Lands belong to the Provinces in which they lie, and separate systems of management are provided. In Ontario and Quebec these lands are in charge of a Commissioner of Crown Lands; in New Brunswick they are under the Surveyor General; in Nova Scotia, under the Attorney General; and in British Columbia, under a Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.

In perfecting the Report, application was made personally, or by correspondence, to the several Departments of the general and local governments of Canada, having official cognizance of the subject, and full series of every class of Reports bearing upon the forest-question were collected from them all. More than this, substantial assistance was furnished in several cases, in the way of copies of documents not published, and manuscript statements explanatory of the reports. In short, these inquiries met with the most courteous attentions, indicating the great interest which the question of timber-supply is awakening in Canada, and affording the ground for hope, that effectual measures will ere long be realized in that country for turning their remaining resources to the best account.

If they will go a step farther, and secure adequate means for re-production, the wants of the future will be assured. As an in(lication that one of the means most certain to secure this desirable end is well understood, we may mention, that in the Province of Quebec, it is no longer permitted to cut pine trees upon the public lands, measuring less than twelve inches in diameter at the stump. If they could, besides this, secure adequate measures for the prevention of forest fires and other waste, and apply the reservations to other kinds of timber, and especially the spruce, they would have a useful system of Forestry in operation.

For this second Report that we are describing, a series of graphic illustrations was prepared by a skilful draftsman at the time when the statistical tables were first submitted to the Department. They would fill about a hundred pages, and it was intended to reproduce them by a photo-engraving process. The addition of three more years, since made to these tables, would render it,

necessary to reconstruct these drawings, which cannot now be done, at least for the first issue of the Report.

Besides the statistical details and generalities above mentioned, the Report under notice embraces the recent legislation of the General, the State and the Territorial Governments, upon the subject of timber-planting and other interests of Forestry, with statements relating to the operation of these laws.

It is a significant fact, that in the three States where planting is perhaps of greatest need, viz. : in Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa, the premiunis formerly offered for planting trees upon prairie lands were, after a few years' experience, wholly or in part, withdrawn. This should not be regardled as a sign that the interest in this subject is declining - but rather that a realization of the necessity for plantations is increasing; and that, in fact, it has become so evident and convincing, that it does not need a motive, beyond the pecuniary interest of the owner of the land.

Furthermore, these acts, intended for encouragement, have everywhere led to fraudulent claims for premiums and exemptions, the work of planting being often done in the most superficial and indifferent manner, by those whose chief object was to secure the present benefit of these laws, rather than the more remote but substantial profits of a successful timber-growth.

In the state of Nebraska, after repealing a law extravagantly liberal in its provisions, and remaining some years without any, the Legislature has recently enacted a new statute mpon this subject whiclı, after the experience of the past, may be presumed to approach more nearly the standard of greatest utility at the least expense. It is entitled “An Act to encourage the Growth and Cultivation of Timber in the State of Nebraska,” and was approved February 27, 1879. Its leading provisions are as follows:

The sum of three and one-third dollars per acre is to be paid annually for five years from the county treasury, to the extent of not more than three acres, planted in belts of six rows of trees running east and west, along the north or middle section lines. The trees are to be four feet apart in the rows, and the rows cight feet apart, the whole being under cultivation and in good condition during the time this bounty is paid.

We deem this act altogether too specific; for it assumes that shelter is needed only on the north side of lands, and that there is no diversity in this need. It is quite evident that the aspect

« PreviousContinue »