« VorigeDoorgaan »
the storage and the careful distribution one could have been found competent of water is not so pressing as on to undertake the duties. But it imthe plains of India or Australia. Ava plies no retlection on the personal lanches do not threaten the destruc ability of these French gentlemen, who tion of our houses because no forest were kind enough to come to our aid barrier exists to protect them. Our in these two instances, to say that inindustries are carried on and our homes directly their presence was felt to be are warmed by the consumption of coal. a reproach, for the services of M. de And to many, perhaps to most of our Vasselot di Régné, the present Inspecreaders, any interest that forestry may tor-General of Forests at the Cape, possess is relegated to the attention of who had already distinguished himself landed proprietors or their agents, who in France by the re-afforesting of the desire to beautify their landscapes or dunes of La Conbra, and of M. to afford coverts for their game.
Moudon, his worthy compatriot, who And yet some of the statements, responded to the call of the Governwhich are supported by corroborative ment of Cyprus, could not, in themevidence in the Report, are sufficiently selves, fail to be of value to any startling to engage the attention of
country all who are interested in the true The success achieved in India by the welfare of the nation. Some of these comparatively small establishment of come to us in the shape of reproaches forest-officials, the greater number of upon our national wisdom and our whom, moreover, came to their work national intelligence. It is a reproach with no special or scientific training -lightly borne it is true, but none to guide them, has done much to rethe less a ‘reproach—that we are de move this reproach, or, at any rate, to pendent upon foreign teaching for cause it to be regarded with more or scientific instruction in forestry. And
less complacency. For not only have it is a reproach that whereas the area these officials, stimulated by the zeal of woodland in the British Islands is and guided by the science of their late sufficiently large, if properly managed, Inspector-General, brought up the tone to supply in great measure the require- of forest-administration in our eastern ments of the country, there is an empire to the level of the most happily enormous, an unnecessarily enormous directed states of western civilisation, importation from abroad. 1
but they have from time to time asTo the former of these reproaches sisted by their advice the Governments special point has been given by the of our colonies whose forests they have fact that the colony of the Cape has visited on tours of official inspection. been obliged to accept the services and I am sorely tempted to linger on this to follow the advice of a French official part of my subject—to set before my in the management of their forests. readers how, on the one hand, by reAnd a similar expedient was found straining the destruction of the forests necessary when the British Govern by the wood-merchants, who felled for ment took over the island of Cyprus,
the sake only of personal aggrandisethe principal wealth of which depends ment; and how, on the other, by guiding, upon the maintenance, or more strictly without checking, the cutting of trees the reconstruction, of her forests. In by the peasants for their agricultural both these instances, an Englishman and building necessities, an arduous would no doubt have been preferred if
course was steered between the neces
sity for restraining reckless waste, and 1 The amount of woodland in the United
the obligation for meeting legitimate Kingdom now stands at two million seven hundred and eighty-eight thousand acres, on
demand ; and how a revenue, which in the authority of the evidence given before the
the year 1886-87 is placed at a surplus Parliamentary Committee.
of forty-one million seventeen thouNo. 339.-VOL. LVII.
sand rupees, was built up from not The obligation to keep before them, in the only an entire absence of income, but
domains which they administer, the raising from a rapidly diminishing capital.
of cattle, the preservation of game, the em
bellishment of the landscape, would, in any But I am reminded that the attention
case, prevent them from applying strictly the of the Committee was more immediately rules of sylviculture. But they possess the directed to our home forests, and the
two master qualities of the forester-practical necessity that there was for remov
sense and local experience. And it is thus
apparent as we go through the beautiful woods ing the second reproach to which I which are confided to their cire, that they do have alluded-namely, the inefficient not compromise the future by inconsiderate management of our British woodlands. operations.”
The value of timber annually imported into Great Britain was stated to This, however, is true as yet only of be sixteen millions sterling, and the
Scotland; and there, only on account largeness of this amount was considered
of the low agricultural value of the soil. to be an evidence that practical forestry Generally speaking the Committee was neither understood nor practised
were amply justified in their concluin Great Britain. I am not disposed to
sion, that “so far as Great Britain accept this reproach as applying gene
and Ireland are concerned, the manrally to the whole of Great Britain. agement of our woodlands might be In England, it is true, forestry has materially improved.” until quite recently been considered
Without touching more particularly a branch, and not a very important
upon the recommendations made by the branch, of land-agency. But on the
Committee, the value of which must less generous and the less productive
stand upon their merits, it is necessary lands of Scotland, a race of men have
in order to arrive at a true appreciabeen trained to manage the forests of
tion of the value of the inquiry to an estate, from which a great propor- glance at the general lines, as shown tion of the annual revenue is derived,
in the following questions, on which it if not in a scientific, yet in a productive
was conducted. manner. In the year 1881 a deputa
1. How far there is need of some tion of three professional foresters means of giving instruction to those visited the principal woods of Scot
engaged in the cultivation of woodland-Scone, Blair Athole, Beauly, lands? Strathspey, Darnaway, &c.--and they
2. How far the establishment of a have thus reported on what they there
school or schools of forestry would observed.
meet such need?
3. Whether a board of persons, " These last" (the Scottish foresters) “have
representing various interests and not made technical studies on the Continent.
associations connected with agricul1 I shall not attempt to place this in Eng
ture, arboriculture, and sylviculture, When the rupee was two shil should be formed, with the assistance lings, a lakh of rupees equalled ten thousand of Parliament, for the purpose of expounds. Now the unhappy coin is gradually
amining, granting certificates, and approaching half its former value. 2 The total product of the State forests of
generally promoting the improvement France is given in the Statistical Almanac for of our woodlands ? t2 year 1881 at two million four hundred 4. Whether by either, or both, of thousand cubic metres of rough timber. Of
such means, the cultivation of woodthis six hundred thousand cubic metres were
lands could be made more remuneracomposed of oak, valued at forty francs, and the remainder of various deciduous trees and tive? pines, valued all round at twenty francs. The It will thus be seen that the question total result thus amounted to sixty millions of
is, in its issues, almost entirely a matter francs, say one and a half millions sterling of our money, less than one-tenth of our
for landed proprietors, for in England imports.
ninety per cent., and in Scotland the
whole, of the forests of the country triment of others, as well as of themare in the hands of private individuals. selves. They could not, for example, And these are compelled, by the pres cut down the trees on lands which were sure of financial circumstances, to spend unfit for any other product than that what money they may have to spend of wood. They could not fell the forests on undertakings giving speedy returns, which were situated on steep slopes, and not upon an enterprise, the com the denudation of which would expose mercial value of which seems to them the neighbouring lands to destruction to lie rather in the building up of by avalanches or by floods. And the capital for posterity, than in the im- penalties for transgressing these rules mediate realisation of a revenue for were sufficiently deterrent
a fine themselves. If only to show that this of a franc for each square perch of revenue is neither so uncertain nor so land so laid bare, besides the obligaremote as some people seem to think, tion to place the land under wood I will take my readers, if they will again within not less than two years. permit me, to the example of what Speaking generally, moreover, all has lately been done in the way of operations in the woods belonging to forestry in Switzerland.
private individuals as well as to the In that country some twenty-five state, required the supervision and years ago, attention was drawn to the sanction of the State inspectors. enormous importation of wood, and to The result of these vigorous measures the low yield or capacity of the native will be best understood by a short forests. Reports were called for, and statement of the financial results of in the year 1863 the consumption of the working of the cantonal forests wood was officially stated to exceed the of Vaud, which cover roughly twentyproduction by twelve million, eighty- four thousand, five hundred acres. nine thousand, two hundred cubic
1884. Receipts, 15,0401. Expenses, 8,8001. feet, the importation exceeding the
Nett surplus, 6,2401. exportation by fourteen million, eight 1885. Receipts, 15,3821. Expenses, 7,9171. hundred and twenty-three thousand
Nett surplus, 5,5951.
1886. Receipts, 13,6111. cubic feet. The outcome of such
Nett surplus, 6,9641.7 neglect was stated to be certain ruin, if it was permitted to continue; and
Striking the average therefore of the result was the reorganisation of
these three years, the nett surplus of the Forest Department. But this
the working operations in the cantonal work was for the Swiss Government
forests was six thousand, one hundred
Each comparatively an easy one, for of the
and sixty-six pounds a year. nineteen per cent. of the whole area
acre of forest therefore gave a free of the country which is under wood,
revenue of over five shillings an acre. three-fourths belong either directly to
The country was thus in the space the State, or to the Communes, who
of twenty-five years--for the reports are under the control of the State.
I have alluded to were dated 1859–60 And with regard to rights of private-placed in the first flight of Europroperty also, communal governments
pean countries as to the results of have a habit of dealing in a summary
its forest-working, For I find it which would not be tolerated in
stated that the French Forest Budget way England.
for 1886-7 (leaving Algiers out of the In such an exigency private in question) shows an income of twentyterests had to yield to the public
seven million, six hundred and thirteen good, and private individuals were
thousand francs, and an expenditure of restrained from the selfish and in
fourteen million, two hundred and considerate use even of their own
thirteen thousand, thus giving à surforests. They were in fact prevented 1 I have taken each thousand francs as from wasting their capital to the de equal to forty pounds sterling.
plus of thirteen million four hundred within reasonable distance of a rail. thousand francs. And as the total area way or station-siding should be worth of State forests is two million, five fifty pounds an acre when fifty years hundred and forty-five thousand acres, of age. And the thinnings in the the free income amounted to 5•26 interim should always yield something francs an
The forests of the in the shape of revenue. It ought to Prussian provinces of Germany give be remembered, moreover, that while an income of fifty-eight million, one ordinary agricultural operations exhundred thousand marks, with an haust the soil, trees render it more expenditure of thirty-four million, two fertile by the deposit of their dead hundred thousand marks, the surplus leaves and detritus. This is well being twenty-three million, nine hun understood in Sologne, where the pine dred thousand marks, which is equal forms one of the regular rotation of to over six thousand, six hundred and crops, no manure being required for forty-four acres to a net income of several
years after its removal to make 3.6 marks an acre.
way for other crops. Although no department or State I will conclude this short sketch of machinery that we are likely to estab what may be done in the way of lish in Great Britain can hope to ex forestry in this country by recapituercise such control, or to work with so lating briefly the functions which the free a hand, as the Government of report of the Committee contemplates Switzerland, yet, in some respects-in entrusting to the Board of Forestry, respect, for example of the advantages which it is proposed to establish, as afforded her by nature, England is an essential feature of the scheme. well situated for the easy restoration
These are : of her forest-wealth. In the words of (a.) To organise schools, or at any a professional visitor to our shores : rate, a course of instruction in forestry. “In spite of the deplorable effects of (6.) To make provision for examinathe rights of pasturage, the complete tions. absence of underwood, and the direct (c.) To prepare an official syllabus destruction of the principal nutritive or text book. properties of the soil, we recognise I wonder if I may venture to add to that the oaks are of a very healthy these functions one that appears to me growth. This is owing, no doubt, to to be the most necessary of them all, the fact that under the maritime although I may only claim for it here Glimate of Great Britain, practices a modest place, and say which otherwise would be detestable, (d.) To prepare a map of the country, are inoffensive, thanks to the great showing the woods now existing, and moisture of the atmosphere." It is the places where each variety of tree no uncommon thing, moreover, to see finds its natural home. land which is of no greater agricultural We have seen that the area of land value than from twelve to fourteen at present recognised as woodland is shillings per acre bear larches which two million seven hundred and eighty. when sold realise from one shilling to eight thousand acres; and I think I one shilling and threepence for each shall be well within the mark if I add cubic foot. And I have heard quite at least an equal amount of land which recently of a crop of Scotch fir of is virtually waste-that is, either enseventy-five years old, standing on tirely thrown out of cultivation, or ground, the annual value of which did yearly receiving less attention from not exceed ten shillings, valued for want of capital to expend on it. Much transfer at no less than one hundred of this must be available for planting; and thirty-two pounds an acre. This, no for if we go back to inquire into its doubt was an extreme instance. Still original condition we shall find that a crop of larch standing on ground it was underwood, which has gradually
yielded before the extension of agricul The department of the Hautes-Alpes ture. I have now in my mind the in France was formerly subject to two excellent maps displayed by the disastrous foods, which periodically Japanese Commissioners on the walls of washed away the best of the agritheir section in the Edinburgh Forestry cultural soil. These visitations were Exhibition. Japan is divided naturally borne with more or less patience until into five regions, each having its own the inundation of 1856 gave point to climate, and in consequence its own the frequently reiterated advice of flora. One of the maps explained this M. Surell, engineer of roads and distribution very clearly, the names of bridges, who insisted upon
the the particular species of trees which afforestation of the mountains as the predominated in each region being set only successful remedy. Four years down in an accompanying schedule. were required effectually to A second map showed the geological public opinion ; but in 1880 a law was formations occupied by the forests of passed prescribing planting, the preJapan. The object of having such a liminary operations of which were map of Great Britain would be to commenced the following year. The show what and where to plant, with difficulties were twofold -- first the the best hopes of success. And while nature of the soil, rugged, crumbling, the question is, as I have already said, unfit to receive plantations; and a matter primarily for the considera secondly, the opposition of the mountion of landed proprietors, these might taineers, who saw in the proposal the justly look to the proposed Board of spoliation of their pastures, and conForestry for professional advice, and sequently of their herds, their only for such assistance, either by way of means of subsistence. The latter subsidy, or by temporary exemption difficulty was overcome by sowing half from the payment of rates on newly of the ground intended to be reclaimed planted lands, as it might be in their with grass; and the opposition of the power to afford.
In Switzerland the mountaineers, which had been pushed Confederation grants to the Com to fury, sometimes even to crime,” munes and to the private proprietors sank for the moment into passive alike a subsidy to the extent of from sullenness. The regeneration of the thirty to fifty per cent. of the total soil
was more tedious.
This was cost of planting, in the interest of the accomplished by barring the inaugmentation of the forest-surface, terior of the deep ravines and especially in the higher lands where accumulating the debris, by cutting the soil is otherwise unproductive. In horizontal banks supported by wattle addition to this concession
trees fences, and by planting on these are supplied from the State nurseries saplings of from three to four years at a price much below their prime old, which were cut close to the ground cost.
once or twice until the vigour of the It will require most delicate hand shoots testified to the development of ling to carry out these functions. The the roots and the activity of the vegeBoard can in no sense be constituted tation. The kind of trees planted as an Imperium in Imperio, such as varied, of course, with reference to those which I have shown above were the pature of the soil. entrusted to the State department in The success of these operations Switzerland. It must, by the justice was rapid and complete. Those parts and by the usefulness of its actions, of the mountains which were thus appeal to the consideration, and com treated
no longer recognismand the acquiescence of an educated able : the soil acquired such solidity people. I cannot do better than bring that the most violent storms, notably in here a little story to fully illustrate those of 1868, which had formerly my meaning
been the cause of such disasters in the