National Geographic : 1904 Nov
ASSISTANCE IN HANDLING FORESTS GOVERNMENT COOPERATION WITH FOREST OWNERS Forest lands in private ownership are mainly of two kinds, small holdings, for the most part farmers' woodlots, and larger areas, chiefly valuable for lumber. The Bureau of Forestry is prepared, so far as its appropriations will permit, to lend its aid to the owners of each kind, on receipt of applications stating the situation, area, and character of the for ests for which working plans are desired. Applications will be considered in the order in which they are received, but precedence must be given to the lands most likely to furnish useful examples. A working plan once prepared will not be put in effect unless it is satisfactory to the owner. The conditions upon which the De partment of Agriculture, through the Bureau of Forestry, will undertake in vestigations and give assistance are stated in the agreement, and provide that a preliminary examination, if necessary, shall be made wholly at the charge of the department, and that if no further study is required final recommendations for management shall be made without cost to the owner. Advice, therefore, for those small tracts which do not re quire detailed study will be given with out expense to the owner. As further stated in the agreement, the cost to the owner of working plans for tracts re quiring detailed study will be based upon the actual cost of the necessary study on the ground, but may be reduced in consideration of the usefulness of the work as an example in practical forestry. Tracts of any size, from five acres up, are eligible. WOODLOTS Throughout a very large portion of the United States nearly every farm has a certain part of its area under wood, either planted, as in regions otherwise treeless, or of natural growth. The value of this wooded portion, besides affording protection from the wind, is chiefly for fuel, fencing, and railroad ties, with some building material, and the wood needed for special uses about the farm. Without the woodlot a farm very often would be an unprofitable in vestment, because the farmer could not afford to buy the wood which now costs him very little except the labor of cut ting and moving it. Indeed, in very many cases the woodlot keeps the farmer going. His labor there during the win ter, when otherwise he would be idle, makes up for any deficit in the cultivated land, and the ready money he receives from the sale of fuel, ties, or other ma terial is indispensable to his comfort and prosperity. In two directions, then, material and money, the product of his woodlot is of high importance to the farmer. But in the majority of cases this part of the farm is far less useful than it might easily be made. This is true because the farmer does not study its productive capacity as he does that of his fields and pastures, and hence does not make it yield as freely as he might, with little or no additional labor, if he went about it in the right way. TIMBERLANDS Large bodies of forest land in almost every wooded portion of this country have come into the hands of private owners, and are held by them chiefly for their value as sources of timber. Much of this land, probably the greater part of it, is in hilly or mountainous regions, where the preservation of the forest is of importance for both wood and water, while the destruction of the lowland forests, except when they give way to agriculture, would bring with it the loss of a plentiful spring of national wealth. The harvest of the timber crop on these private timberlands is commonly accompanied, under the usual methods of lumbering, by the destruction of the forest when merchantable trees predom inate, and in any case by severe and needless injury. Fire follows the lum- 45'