National Geographic : 1901 Jan
GEOGRAPHI THE FORESTS OF THE PHILIPPINES. THE Philippine Bureau of Forestry has submitted its first report on the forest wealth of the Philip pine Islands. The Bureau was organized by order of the Military Governor, April 14, 1900, to ascertain the condition of the forests and the regulations adopted by the Span iards for their preservation. It is estimated that from one-fourth to one-half the area of the Philippine Isl ands, or from twenty to forty million acres, are public forest lands. In the isl ands of Mindoro and Paragua at least 5,000,000 acres of virgin forests are owned by the State. The island of Mindanao with an area of 20,000,000 acres, is almost entirely cov ered with timber. Even in the province of Cagayan, Luzon, there are more than two million acres of forests. In some of the southern islands magnificent tracts are standing with from 1o,ooo to 20,000 cubic feet an acre of splendid timber. The trees tower to a height of one hun dred and fifty feet, often shooting up sixty feet without a single branch and of a diameter of four feet. Captain Ahern, Director of the Bureau, believes that there are as many as five hundred species of trees in the archipel ago. No pure forest of any one species exists. Rarely do more than three or four trees of one variety grow together. Many varieties of valuable gum, rubber, and gutta-percha trees are found; also seven teen dyewoods and the ylang ylang from whose blossoms so many perfumes are made. It is stated the regulations adopted by the Spanish for the preservation of the forests of the Philippines were in line with the most advanced forestry legisla tion of Europe. But these rules were not enforced. The men licensed to cut, hewed indiscriminately; with the result that the most valuable rubber, gutta-percha, and ylang ylang trees were used for firewood. C NOTES 47 The old regulations have been revised by Captain Ahern. Lumbermen are now licensed to cut only certain species. SOUTH POLAR EXPLORA TION. THE arrangements for the British and German South Polar Expe ditions which sail from Europe in August, 1901, are nearly completed. It is expected that the English boat, the Discovery, will be launched in March at Dundee. She is a good strong boat, built on different lines from the Fram, for the latter was planned to resist, or rather es cape, tremendous ice-pressure, while the Discovery was modelled to withstand the attacks of a boisterous sea. The German boat, building at Kiel, is smaller and lighter than the Discovery and follows somewhat the lines of the Fram. The two ships sail from Europe to gether. The official statement of their plan of co-operation is as follows: "When they reach the far South they will separate with a carefully arranged plan of work for each. The Antarctic regions have been divided into four quad rants. First, the Victoria quadrant, which extends from 90 degrees east to 180 degrees, and includes Victoria Land; second, the Ross quadrant, from 180 de grees to 90 degrees west, south of the Pacific Ocean; third, the Weddell quad rant, from 90 degrees west to o degree (Greenwich meridian), the Weddell Sea; and fourth, the Enderby quadrant, from o degree to 90 degrees east, which includes Enderby Land. Two quadrants have been assigned for exploration and research to each expedition, the British taking the Victoria and Ross, and the Ger man the Weddell and Enderby." Both expeditions hope to be able to spend three years in the work. Captain Drygalski, the famed explorer of Green land, leads the German party, while Cap tain Scott of the British Navy, young, hardy, and level-headed, directs the Eng lish.