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A Typical Example of the Attainments Possible through Diligence and Faithfulness in Service.

The

Technical World

Volume II

OCTOBER, 1904

The New American Forestry

Function of the Forests in Insuring and Regulating a Permanent Water
Supply-The Urgent Need of National Action

for Their Preservation

No. 2

C

By GUY E. MITCHELL

ONTRARY to the oft-repeated statement that during the first century of the United States the only thought with regard to the vast forest cover was to lay into it the axe and the saw, the early sentiment for forest protection was strong. It has been in comparatively recent years that the United States has become a spendthrift is wasting to-day-one of the greatest natural resources of any country on earth.

In the early days, Massachusetts made. repeated enactments looking to the care and protection of the forests adjacent to the various communities; and New Jersey laws against forest fires are old enactments upon the statute books. In Pennsylvania, the founder of the commonwealth made it a condition, that, of all land acquired from him, one acre of forest should be left standing for every five acres cleared. The sentiment favoring forest protection was universal in the States, as viewed by our present standards, though the early settlers thought that in the very conservative cutting and clearing which they did they were vastly extravagant. They came from a country where wood was scarce, and where respect for the forests had been bred

through generations of their ancestors. It has been during comparatively recent years, bringing with them new uses for wood, accompanied with the belief that our forest resources were illimitable, that there has gone forward the wholesale destruction which, if continued at but the present rate, will sweep away every acre of American timber land during the next generation.

Revival of Forestry Sentiment

The pendulum of extravagance, however, is swinging backward, and the nation is beginning to see again the value of its forest asset. Already fifty-three Forest Reserves have been created by presidential proclamation, including some 60,000,000 acres; and "withdrawals" are constantly being made by the Interior Department, preliminary to the creation of additional reserves dependent upon the approval of the National Bureau of Forestry.

The largest of the forest reserves, including the national parks, is the Yellowstone-that Nature's wonderland, with its 7,800,000 acres. The following table shows the forest reservations made in the Western States and Territories:

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likely to leave a more lasting mark upon the nation's economic life than Mr. Pinchot, who some six years ago became Forester of the United States. If he can carry out the great scheme of reforestation, afforestation, and forest reproduction which he has outlined, the influence of his work will be felt for a thousand years to come. Always a lover of the woods, Mr. Pinchot followed his course at Yale by studying forestry in European schools, and then returned to America to organize systematic forestry upon the Biltmore, North Carolina, estate of George W. Vanderbilt-the first pri

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A WINTER MOUNTAIN RESERVOIR.

Indicating how discharge of waters in springtime will be prolonged and regulated.

the existence of 18,000,000 acres of forest reserves, wholly without care by the Government, the timber from which was being stolen right and left, led the Secretary of the Interior to address a request to the President of the National Academy of Sciences for an investigation and report upon the "inauguration of a rational forest policy for the forested lands of the United States." This brought forth the desired result, and-what was morecalled a large public attention to the subject. Of the seven distinguished members of the committee appointed, the one who has since most greatly influenced this rational forestry policy in the United States, is Gifford Pinchot, since appointed Government Forester.

A prominent writer has said that there are few men at Washington who are

vate forestry work inaugurated in the United States. Appointed chief of the Division of Forestry in 1898, he found the Division's force numbering eleven members, with an appropriation for the fiscal year 1898-99 of $28,000. Secretary Wilson, his chief, lent the new Forester his enthusiastic support; and, from a small branch of the Department of Agriculture, forestry has become one of its most important parts. For the year 1900 we find the Forester's appropriation increased to $48,000, with 61 employees;, and for 1901, to $88,000, with 123 employees.

The Bureau of Forestry

In 1902 the Division was constituted a Bureau, with an appropriation of $184,000 and 205 employees; in 1903 the ap

propriation was $291,000, with 250 employees; in 1904-the fiscal year just ended an appropriation of $350,000 was provided, with some 300 employees; and for the coming fiscal year an appropriation of $425,000 has been made, with over 350 employees.

The Bureau of Forestry has thus, within a few years, become one of the great institutions of the Government; nor has it advanced beyond the growth of public sentiment; indeed it is scarce keeping pace with that sentiment, for the country has suddenly become alive to the necessity for this rational forestry policy. The preservation of the forests affects other interests besides those of lumber and wood supply. Streams are dependent for the continuity of their flow upon forest protection. The forest has been well likened to a great sponge which absorbs the bulk of the rainfall, allowing it gradually to find its way into the water courses through the medium of springs and brooks, thus furnishing an equable and perennial flow. Cut away this forest cover, leave the hills and the valleys bare and denuded, and the rainfall rushes down the unresisting slopes in torrential flow, cutting away the surface soil, creating gullies if not gulches, and leaving the ground in a short time dry and parched and the streams low in water. The evils of forest destruction in the watersheds have come home to many sections of the country, both east and west. It needs but a moment's intelligent consideration to see that the water supply of almost every city and town is menaced by reckless lumbering and forest destruction, while destructive floods are to a like extent augmented. In the West, where the water is the lifeblood of the land, being used for irrigation, forest destruction holds out fatal prospects. So the more intelligent communities are now not only striving to prevent deforestation, but are appropriating local funds to be used in co-operation with the national expenditures for reforesting bare slopes once timbered, which will then act as natural storage reservoirs for snow and

water.

Irrational Opposition

Forest work and forestry education have been by no means an unopposed for

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