National Geographic : 1909 Jan
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE Photo from U. S. Forest Service A FOREST RANGER SCALING LOGS AT THE HEAD OF LOG CHUTE: M'ALPINE TIMBER SALE, MONTEZUMA NATIONAL FOREST, COLORADO from the forests could very easily be made not only to keep pace with the expenditures, but to return to the gov ernment the entire cost of maintaining the Forest Service. Private owners of grazing lands in the same regions ask and receive a very much higher return per head of stock for the use of their lands than does the Forest Service. The national forests, which contain one-fifth of the standing merchantable timber in the country, furnished last year about 1.3 per cent of its lumber cut, resulting in the removal from the forests of about one-eighth of I per cent of the stand. Of this comparatively insignifi cant amount cut, one-fourth was not sold, but was given to home-builders and com munities; yet the sales brought in nearly $900,000. If the chief object of the forests were to produce immediate in come, the amount received could be multiplied several times. There is actu ally going to waste in the woods each year, through decay and other natural causes, from five to ten times the amount of timber now being cut. With an adequate force of forest offi cers available much of this waste might be prevented. Timber sales involve, for marking, scaling, and supervising the work, a cost to the government of about 30 cents per thousand feet, and the amount sold cannot be much increased without an increased appropriation. There is also the waste of the productive power of the forest, which cannot be brought into full play until the mature trees have been removed to make room for a growing crop.