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remains to be considered one subject that claims our careful consideration.
With the exception of a communication from its chairman to the New York Legislature, 19 and one of like import by Col. Whittlesey, another member, to the Ohio Legislature, no action has thus far been taken by this Committee towards bringing the subject to the attention of our State Legislatures. This delay bas in part arisen froin an uncertainty as to how far a State Government may, with any prospect of success, enact laws tending to secure efficient planting upon private lands.
In European countries where forest systems have been in full force for centuries, it is only within a quite recent period, that the owners of a minority interest in a large and connected body of woodlands, could be compelled to join a controlling majority, in assisting to maintain a system of management under one direction, the costs and profits of forest management being shared in proportion to the proprietary rights. It is still almost invariably the rule, that the owners of private woodlands have a full right to manage them as their interests lead, excepting in cases where the public welfare is concerned, and it is the universal experience of all countries that the owners of the soil are jealous of interference with what they regard as their rights, in the cultivation of their own land.
This is particularly true in our own country, where “ Liberty and Independence” have been the watchwords from the beginning, and where the widest range of freedom is allowed in the enjoyment of every kind of property, provided only that no injury is
iblic, or to the rights of others. We cannot therefore entertain the idea of an edict that every man shall plant a given portion of his land with forest-trees. Our people must be educated to a knowledge of the situation, and familiarized with the means by which benefits may be gained, or injuries avoided. With the great majority, the effect of scarcity upon the market prices of lumber will be of more interest than the influence of forests upon the climate ; and the public generally will give more attention to questions of gain or loss, than to all that science teaches about the hidden causes that produce these results.
We accordingly deem it best only to recommend a series of measures tending to familiarize our people with ideas of the im
19 Senate Document, 82, 1875. A. A. A. S., VOL. XXIX.
done to the
portance of forest culture, and to make them better acquainted with the means by which its advantages may be secured. It may be reasonably hoped, that public opinion will by these means be led to sustain such other measures as further experience may warrant or suggest.
The following form of a Memorial is therefore submitted for your consideration. If approved, we would suggest that it be forwarded in duly authenticated form, as the recommendation of this Association, to the chief executive officer of each State and Territory of the United States, with a request that the same may be submitted to the several Legislatures.
And your Committee, having now served for seven years, and performed their duty to the best of their ability and opportunity, ask to be discharged.
FRANKLIN B. Hougu.
To Ilis Excellency
The Governor of
THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENCE, at its meeting held in Boston, on the 30th day of August, 1880, having considered and adopted the following Memorial, has instructed the undersigned to transmit the same to Your Excellency, and respectfully ask that it may be laid before the Legislature of your State, at its next session.
Memorial of the American Association for the Advancement of
Science, in relation to the Need of Attention to our future
TO THE HONORABLE THE LEGISLATURE
OF THE STATE OF
We would earnestly invite the attention of your Honorable Body, to the great and increasing importance of providing by aclequate Legislation, for the protection of the existing Woodlands of the country against needless waste, and for the encouragement of measures tending to the more economical use, and the proper maintenance of our Timber Supply.
It is evident that the consumption and waste of the Forests of the country much exceed their restoration by natural growth, that the native supply of Timber of the better qualities is rapidly becoming less, and that the demand for building purposes, manufactures and other uses, is rapidly increasing from year to yeah'.
This decreasing supply, and growing consumption, must unavoidably lead to serious inconvenience, and may, unless seasonably prevented, occasion great public injury, by leaving the future without adequate supplies.
We deem it an established fact, that the interests of Agriculture are promoted by the presence of a due proportion of Woodlands in a country, and that they suffer when clearings are carried to excess. The protection which they afford appears to mitigate, in a sensible degree, the vicissitudes of Climate, and to maintain the supply of water in springs, rivulets and wells. They shelter a country from injurious winds, and may be made practically useful, in preventing the drifting of snows and sands, in preventing or diminishing damages from torrents, and in limiting unhealthy emanations from marshes. Their influence in connection with questions of water-supply for cities, and the maintenance of hydraulic power, and of navigation in rivers and canals, where these may be affected by droughts, deserves serious attention.
But it is especially to the Woodlands, as a source for supplying materials of first necessity to the country, that we would respectfully invite the attention of your Honorable Body; and here we would remark, that a realizing sense of the importance of this subject has long since led the principal governments of Europe to enact laws, and establish regulations for the maintenance of a due proportion of Forests upon their Public Domains, and upon the lands belonging to Local Municipalities and Public Insti
We are aware that wide differences exist, in the tenure of land, in the United States, as compared with those of Europe, and that the titles to landed property are here very generally vested in their owners, without any conditions whatever as to Timber
It is also true that, in most of the older, and in some of the
newer States, there are no lands whatever, adapted to this use, now belonging to either the State or the Local Governments - the whole being owned by private citizens, and subject to no conditions, but such as their Representatives in a Legislative capacity may establish for the general welfare.
It is to the Owners of the Land, that we must therefore look for the adoption of measures tending to avert the injuries in prospect; and in furtherance of this end, we deem it within the prorince of a State Legislature to encourage the enterprise, which may be done in a good degree in the following manner :
1. By a Law protecting Trees planted along the Highways, and by encouraging such plantations by deductions from Highway Taxes. It may, in particular cases, be proper to require sucli plantations to be made at the public expense, with the view of protecting roads from drifting snows, or for other local benefits, and in a manner best calculated for securing these objects.
2. By a Law that shall exempt from taxation the increased value of land, from the planting of trees, where none were growing, for such period as may appear proper, or until some profit may be realized from the plantation.
3. By the appropriation of money to Agricultural and Horticultural Societies, to be applied as premiums for tree-planting, regard being had to greatest areas planted, and the most successful management. Reports should be required, giving details of the methods found most effectual in obtaining these results.
4. By prizes for the best Essays and Reports upon subjects of practical Forest-culture, to be awarded by competent Judges, and those approved, to be published for distribution among those who would be the most benefited by this information.
5. By encouraging Educational Institutions within the State to introduce a course of instruction, having reference to practical sylviculture. This object may be promoted by the aid of Collections, and by correctly labelled Plantations of the various species of Forest Trees adapted to the soil and climate. At Agricultural Colleges, and at higher Institutions of Learning, stations might be advantageously established under State patronage, for experiments and observations in cultivation and acclimatization. The distribution of seeds and plants afforis a direct and eflicient aid, in the promotion of an interest in this subject.
6. By laws tending to prevent Forest-fires, by imposing penalties against the wilful or careless setting of such fires, and by enlarging and defining the powers of Local Officers in calling for assistance, and in adopting measures for suppressing them. The waste from this cause, in some years, greatly exceeds the amount of timber used, and there is no question connected with forest supplies, that demands more serious attention. Our main reliance appears to depend upon vigilant precautions, enforced by adequate penalties, and sustained by a strong public sentiment.
7. Under favorable circumstances, Model Plantations might be established and maintained by a State Government, under the care of persons specially trained to the profession of Forestry. Their location should be chosen with a view of affording convenient opportunity to those who might wish to learn approved methods of management, by the study of a work worthy of imitation.
8. The appointment of a Commission of Forestry under State authority (analogous to the Commission of Fisheries in many of the States) might prove of great service in promoting efficient measures for the advancement of this interest. The Members of such a Commission, who would doubtless be selected on account of their influential standing, and their known intelligence upon this subject, would be able to study the conditions and requirements of their State, and devise means for most effectually securing the object in view.
In the questions arising upon this subject, we depend much upon the intelligence of our fellow citizens, who are generally not slow to appreciate advantages, or to foresee a real danger where the indications are apparent. When this danger is fully realized, we believe that no time will be lost in seeking to apply the remedy. The measures we recommend will tend to awaken an interest in the subject, and lead to an intelligent understanding of the means for meeting the dangers that may arise from undue exhaustion of our forest supplies. They will diffuse the benefits gained by experience, for the good of all, and educate public opinion to a degree that will sustain more energetic measures, as their necessity may be hereafter more fully known.
Chairman of the Committee,
A. A. A. S.