National Geographic : 1976 Feb
Many Americans say our forests are a priceless national heritage to be preserved forever. Other people think these trees should be harvested for houses, paper and other wood products. Both views seem right, but contradictory. A forest is a majestic presence. Its trees the tallest and oldest of living things. Some older than the pyra mids: 4,000 years! Forests provide cover for wild things. Places to fish, hunt, hike, camp. They protect our watersheds from flood and soil erosion. They beautify our nation. But these same forests are sources of essential raw materials for paper, furniture, homes. Chemicals for in dustry. Waxes, adhesives. Cellulose derivatives for clear coatings. Wood flour for plastic fillers. Our forest product needs will double in 25 years. What to do? Cut? Or let stand? The answer may lie in the forests them selves. They are a marvelously renewable resource. When cut, they can be re grown for harvest again. We can balance our need for wilderness and parks-for great forests-with our need for wood products. Forever. But it takes responsible forest man agement. Today, managed forest in dustry lands produce about twice the wood of non-industry lands. We need to bring this kind of management to more forest lands. To restock idle scrub, to make wider use of genetic ally superior trees. To encourage tree farming. These measures will both increase wood production and broaden forest lands. Caterpillar machines work our forests: in land preparation, clearing, building roads, fighting fires, replant ing, harvesting. We know how im portant forests are to our way of life. There are no simple solutions. Only intelligent choices. CaterpillarCatand reTr rk of CaterpillarT Co. Caterpillar, CatandI1areTrademarks ofCaterpillar TractorCo.