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Forestry and Silviculture at Westtown. | imum value. A 10-acre field of 40-year old
locusts would be a considerable asset. D ORESTRY is a business, and therefore prac- From 1844 until the present generation the T' tical ; silviculture is not forestry. There | Westtown woodlands shared the fate of the large
is some confusion of ideas along these majority of farm woodlots. Trees were cut as lines,-hence my title and this word of ex wanted for use on the grounds, or considerable planation.
areas of woodland were cleared as there arose Our problem from the foresters' standpoint is need for funds. The results of this no-policy of the problem of the woodlot. Silviculturally, we management are to-day in evidence. are working with the twofold aim of securing the Coming down to the present decade, we note most beauty and the highest educational good an active interest, on the part of an organization from our woods and trees.
of graduates from the school, in planting in the As there is standing on our campus but one tree woods and about the grounds clumps of coniferous from the original woods, it is evident that tree trees, mainly for æsthetic reasons : “ So that our planting at Westtown has been going on for children may stroll under the hemlocks and spruces almost a century. What the men who were caring on the banks of Chester Creek,” explained one of for the institution sixty years ago thought about the committee, “and get at least a whiff of balthe necessity of caring for the forest is made clear sam." These trees, including some white pine, by the following extract from the report of the were planted mostly under the natural growth of “ farming committee” in 1844. Of the 599 acres chestnut, oak and tulip. Many were shaded out, composing the farm the report says:
and the survivors grew very slowly. “ The timber land is estimated at (about) 182 A more definite arboretum scheme of about the acres : 32 acres of which is thicket, having been | same period resulted in almost nothing. A grove recently cleared ; 34 acres is young wood; leaving of bald cypress was killed by cattle, a class tree 116 acres now under ripe timber, which will aver planted on the proposed site died, and a row of age 40 cords per acre ; but if the timber suitable moosewood trees on the campus has had a hard for sawing is left out of the estimate, it would cut struggle with sunscald and oyster-shell barkabout 35 cords per acre.
scale. “ The young wood is generally thrifty, and may In 1899 the Westtown Forestry Club was organincrease at the rate of three-quarters of a cord an ized. Boys and girls were assigned trees on the acre (annually) for forty years, dating from the campus for identification. Each attached his period of its having been first cut off.
visiting-cards to his trees and then went to work. “A part of the wood has been lately much im- | The instructor compiled the results and had an proved; the superintendent having caused the expert to check the list. Then the trees were underwood to be gathered up, and such part of marked with aluminum labels and charted. The the standing timber as was not thrifty to be taken labels have mostly fallen off, and we are waiting to out, giving the timber of value a much better discover a satisfactory method before re-marking. opportunity for improvement.
Meanwhile, a large section of our North Woods “The school consumes annually about 80 cords, had been cleared. This was magnificent timber, the farmhouse about 30 cords and the tenements the management realizing nearly $300 per acre about 20 cords. The farm requires for the same on the operation, in spite of several unfortuperiod about 1200 rails, or 24 cords, making in nate deals. But the board-foot value of that the aggregate a consumption of 154 cords. • woods meant nothing to the Westtonians of two
“From this estimate, which we think approxi generations, who had almost literally grown up mates the truth, our timber is evidently decreas under its shade. Closely bordering their playing."
ground, it was part of their home; and to them The last sentence is suggestive of the cause for a walk through the unsightly clearing was like this interest, as the question of substituting coal | visiting the ruins of a beautiful palace. for wood in heating the school building was being It was out of the dispute over this method of discussed. Only a few years later the change was cutting that particular piece of timber there came made, marking the end of this period of genuine for the determination to secure expert opinion on the estry interest. However, about twenty years later, merits of the controversy, and advice as to the another superintendent proved himself a practical best method of restoring, or of aiding nature in forester by having planted several score of black restoring, the natural forest condition. locust trees about the school grounds and in the An agent of the then Bureau of Forestry at woods, “to grow into posts." His purpose has Washington, who visited the woodland, stated that been fulfilled. These trees are now at their max- | it was his opinion that the clearing of the North Woods had been an unnecessary sacrifice ; that | greatest profit out of that part of the school woodin order to get the advantage of the ripe tim- land which is used as a business forest essentially. ber it would have been practicable, in a small Map making, including contour surveying ; estitract so easily accessible, to have cut only the mating timber by eye and by measurement; the mature trees, leaving still a big woods, with favor- study of species of particular value; and, finally, able conditions for the continued growth of the the making of planting and working plans for many partly grown trees. When these were ma- particular tracts,—such, in a general way, is the ture the process might have been repeated. With- | work of this and succeeding forestry classes, — out deciding on the relative merits of the clean applied science. cutting and the gradual removal methods of har- By the time of the forester's next visit such a vesting the timber crop in general, in this case great change had come over the clearing in which the ästhetic value of the wood as a part of the it was proposed to plant white pine that it was school demanded the latter method. As to reme manifestly impossible to do any planting there. dies there was only one, by planting and trim The stool shoots from the tulip and chestnut ming to aid nature's work of restoration. There stumps were in great bunches, 6 to 10 feet high, was need here for money, and no money was and the intervening spaces were tangled masses of available for the purpose.
briars and bushes. No planting could be done. In a strip of another wood, cleared at the same The 2000 seedling pines, planted early in the time as the one just referred to, the planting of spring in our nursery, had best be set out in a white pine was recommended—either seed, by more open location after a year's acclimatization. the seed-spot method, or young seedlings. This for With the pines came 250 Douglas spruce, which the next spring, as it was now too late to get ready were added to one of the older evergreen plantfor extensive planting. In the case of the groups i ings in the Walnut Hill woods, displacing a poor of under-planted conifers above referred to, cutting 'growth of dogwood and beech sprouts. Then, in nearly all the native growth was recommended, order that there might be a resident forester at the to let light in to the trees it was desired to favor. school, the instructor in botany was sent to Axton Later this was done, partly by the boys and to attend the spring session of the late New York partly by regular choppers. In the latter case State College of Forestry, on the 30,000 acre the trees to be removed were carefully “blazed,” | demonstration forest. and all trees were cut. After the cutting, addi- ! During this same year a mature stand of cottontional trees of the same kinds were planted to wood, covering an irregular area, was converted replace those that had been lost. This planting into pulpwood and sold. This proved to be included 100 white pines, 400 hemlocks and some financially profitable and an interesting operation spruce and balsam. With the exception of the from the forester's standpoint. This species of pines which had been dried out in shipment and populus having been, until the recent development died right away, about 75 per cent. of the plant of the pulpwood industry, simply a weed. As · ing lived.
| noted in a recent issue of Forest LEAVES, the land But one other result of the forester's visit is cleared at this time is now covered with a dense significant. The time was ripe for a propagandist stand of suckers from the old roots,-a vigorous movement. Everyone, teachers and pupils, had growth for two years. watched regretfully the fall of the North Woods, From this little piece of work in the woods, all had heard and taken part in the discussion aris- something was learned about the trouble foresters ing thereupon. When the Board and some of the have with American labor. The work was done by Faculty met the forester there was plenty of enthusi- / three negroes. Needless to say, the trees being asm. The efforts of this young expert to show that only thirty-five years old were easy cutting. Once Board that they had a chance to greatly improve a tree had lodged because carelessly thrown, and in the value of the property were met by a somewhat | their efforts to get it down four others had been skeptical conservatism based on years of experience cut, and all five trees securely lodged into a tangle at lumbering in the old way, and no decision was of vines. This carelessness was habitual ; but by made.
a little careful instruction the men became interOne other direct result of this first visit of the ested in the preservation of trees. In the same forester was the introduction into the regular work we cut some tulip trees to make even carschool curriculum of a short course in forestry. | loads of pulpwood. The Board asked me to mark In this the aim has been to acquaint the boys with such trees as should be removed for the good of the prevailing forest conditions, to show them the remaining trees. Here, again, as in the light what has been done, what ought to be done, and cutting for the pines, the “ blazes” were entirely what may be done, with the idea of getting the | ignored ; where any trees were cut all were cut.
The foreman said he could not get men to cut the planting-plan just mentioned, it was concluded only a few of the trees.
to ask the Government to co-operate with us in Last winter, in order to give the forestry class drawing up a comprehensive working-plan for all some real work, and to test a theory, it was de our woodland. At a fall meeting of the Board it cided to make an improvement cutting on about | was virtually decided to do some cutting. A Bu5 acres of 30-year old sprout growth that had reau of Forestry agent was sent from Washingbeen badly broken by the great sleet storm. After ton. Three days' work in the snow and slush, making a careful study of the tract, the class the absorption of whatever data was available marked for cutting such trees as could be taken from the work of the forestry class and individual out to the advantage of the stand. All broken investigations—and the working-plan for ten years trees, useless species, and where crowded the least was made and adopted by the Board. desirable ones, were marked. The work was done! This working-plan simply outlines definitely the entirely by school boys working out of school policy that is to regulate the management of the hours for a compensation. The results more than woodlands for the period covered. It necessitates met our expectations : the balance sheet showed careful planning ahead of work, should prevent a credit of $6.23 per acre on the operation as im snap-shot judgments becoming effective, and espemediate profits,—the advantage resulting to the cially provides, as far as can be, against the possiwoods in increased possibilities of growth is harder bility that the change of personnel in the directto estimate in figures. Every tree has room for ten ing board will make a break in the management, or fifteen years' uninterrupted growth; and that where a long continued harmonious policy is eswith the exception of the wrecked parts and two sential to success. large openings that nature failed to plant, the The working-plan first reviews very briefly the ground is evenly covered with good trees.
history of the tract under discussion, calling attenWhile this operation was going on, the 2000 tion to the fact that in the past there was “no white pines had been moved to their permanent definite system of management for the woodlands home,-part of an old, neglected pasture, 134 as there had been for the farm land.” acres. Some account of this planting might be Ten years is the time allowed for the entire interesting. In the first place, we have a wonder operation of putting all our woodlands into profully popular institution known as the camp sup ductive condition ; and this it is shown will inper. The boys will do a good deal of work and volve no expenditure above what will be realized think it play if there is some good being done, and by the product of the improvement. No imif there is a camp supper back of it. The plant provement is recommended that will not be iming of a 10-inch tree is not a very complicated op- | mediately self-supporting. And in all this is ineration. A tree, two boys, and a mattock-one volved the clearing of but about 3 out of the whole stroke clears the old sod from a space, another 100 acres of forested land. After this general introloosens the soil and opens a hole into which a duction there follows a detailed description of the second boy quickly but carefully places the roots; soil, drainage, site, etc.; and a description also of the hole is filled with hand or foot, a stamp of the the forest, showing that chestnut, tulip and oak heel, and the tree is planted; it is rapid work. form, respectively, 35 per cent., 20 per cent., and With another college man I put in 1800 trees, in 20 per cent. of the forest, leaving 25 per cent. to an acre of Adirondack brushland, in three days. be divided among hickory, elm, ash, butternut, In this part of the country I have seen no land etc. The estimated yield of the whole forest is that compares with those clearings in roughness. | 4175 cords. And the camp supper, even if it is raining hard, 1 In the working-plan proper, the area is divided is a balm for all blisters and backaches.
into natural compartments for convenience in Besides this planting, 1000 tulip trees and 800 working. These are shown on a map accompanychestnuts were set in the North Woods clearinging the plan. The work to be done is classed above referred to, in a part that seemed to be under the following heads : coming up poorly with sprouts and seedlings. “1. Markings for cuttings and supervision of Several thousand small seedlings and about a pound of seed were planted in the nursery. Then " 2. Sale of produce of cuttings. came another visit from the forester, and the de “3. Tree-planting and work of improvement." termination to plant about 10 acres of white pine The first and third of these are to be carried in the old meadow above referred to. For this a out by a resident forester, or failing such, “by planting-plan has been made and the trees or an agent of the Bureau of Forestry, his expenses dered.
being defrayed by the institution." Rules are laid When the determination was reached to make down for protection of timber remaining after im
provement cuttings, and it is recommended that “Condition.— Dense forest, for the most part these rules be enforced by penalties provided for over-mature. The growth is offset by the decay. in contracts.
The large chestnut sprouts are rapidly decaying More specifically, “ The forest is to be managed and many are already dead. Many broken-top so as to get the most out of it in the long run. trees are becoming infected with decay. Tulips This is accomplished by establishing and maintain which are not broken are mostly thrifty. Reproing as far as practical such a continuity of produc duction scant. Estimated yield: 70 cords per tion as will yield the highest average annual in- ; acre. crement in quantity and quality of wood. The “Treatment. — The forest is to be preserved, as necessary work to be done is along three lines : far as possible, for æsthetic reasons, as a luxury (1) Parts of the forest are over-mature and at a forest ; and for this reason is to be managed on standstill, the growth being offset by decay. A the shelterwood system, though clear cutting new crop should here be established and the old would pay best. A heavy reproduction cutting one removed. (2) Other parts of the woodland should be made, taking out all the defective and are still growing vigorously, but are too crowded decayed trees, especially chestnut. This will for proper development of the trees; here im- | open up the ground for reproduction and get a provement thinnings should be made. (3) There new growth started. The vigorous tulip trees left are many open spaces in the forest with no growth, will have a better chance to develop.” which should be planted to trees.” Then follows In regard to this and several other parts of the a clear setting forth of the advantages and the plan, it might be said that the work is actually disadvantages of the clear cutting and the shelter- being done this winter. On compartment I. a wood methods of regeneration, summing up as light rather than a heavy reproduction cutting has follows: " The shelterwood system preserves the been made, hardly heavy enough indeed to be a beauty of the forest much more than the clear reproduction cutting, but enough to make a great cutting. The latter is less expensive, not requir- improvement in the appearance of the wood and ing marking for cuttings and the cutting all being in growing capacity. Some 400 trees or more done at one time. The shelterwood system grows have been felled, cut up and hauled out, and no the best timber and the natural regeneration is appreciable damage has resulted, in spite of the more sure, as the clear cutting system more often repeated assurance of the skeptics that it could requires tree-planting to fill up gaps.”
not be done. Less than a half dozen unmarked Improvement cuttings are recommended along trees have been broken or felled. the general lines guiding last winter's operations. Besides the working-plan as here described, a
This work as outlined involves the cutting of comprehensive planting-plan has been nearly 1200 cords in the ten years, the estimated income formulated for the campus and nearby woodlands. from which is $2000, as against an expenditure Work has been begun on an extensive arboretum for administration and commercial planting of to be established in a portion of the clearing from $1500, leaving a balance of $500 for arboretum which the old North Woods was cut. This spring work.
over 372 acres are to be planted, and it is hoped After suggesting a form of book-keeping for eventually to have growing here all native trees the forest,-a control book, showing just what is and shrubs that will thrive in the latitude of done in each compartment each year,—the plan Westtown. proceeds with a detailed description and plan With this plan before us, and the work under for treatment of each compartment. As a sample way, with the tree-planting interest and the forplan, that for a compartment of the old North estry course well organized, it seems that one Woods may be cited :
should feel fairly well assured for the future of
these interests. The acreage in trees should be “ Compartment I.; Area, 28 Acres ; Topography,
not the least productive part of the farm, the Eti.
campus and neighboring woodlands should be “ The Forest.—The forest of mixed seedling and continuously and increasingly the most beautiful sprout origin. Age 60 to 80 years. Prevailing part of Westtown's environment, and our pupils species : chestnut (26 per cent of stand), tulip should get the greatest possible good from the (14 per cent.), oak (red, white and black), elm, knowledge of, and association with, this work, and ash, pignut, beech, butternut, walnut, locust, and those noblest of all plant forms, the trees. dogwood. Average height of dominant trees : JOO
ALFRED S. HAINES. feet. Average diameter, breast high, about 15 inches ; 20 per cent. of the trees are 18 inches and Let all of our members aid in observing one over,
| of the spring arbor days.