Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page


Forest Resources and Utilization

One of the most important tasks emerging from World War II is to take stock of world resources. Information is not easy to obtain so it was thought of interest to offer all figures that become available through news items in the press, yearbooks, reports, statements, etc., even if they of ten do not represent "news" in the accepted sense.


According to statistics quoted by the Maritime Lumber Bureau, Canada's total forest assets are 311,000 million cubic feet (8,800 million m³) Of standing timber. Of this total 191,000 million cubic feet (5,400 million m³) are accessible under present conditions of operation. Forests in Canada are being depleted at the rate of about 3,000 million cubic feet annually, of which about 80 percent is used in forest-products industries, the remaining 20 percent being lost through fire, insects, and disease. The total forest area is estimated to contain 250,000 million board feet (1,100 million m³) of accessible saw timber, spruce, Picea, and balsam, Abies, comprising the largest share of the total.

The Dominion Forest Service of British Columbia has developed a simple graphic method which permits rapid calculation of what spacing of tree per acre will produce the greatest increment per acre. According to this method, the average basal increment per tree is plotted over the number of trees per acre corresponding to the average spacing of the group, and a regression line drawn through the points. A second curve showing corresponding increments per acre is prepared from the first curve by multiplying the number of trees per acre rep resented by each ordinate by the increment per individual tree occurring at that ordinate and then plotting the value so obtained. For most data the result is a bell-shaped curve whose crest represents the number of trees per acre at which the stand should be carried to obtain maximum increment for the period under study. On the basis of a study carried out at the Petawawa Forest Experiment Station for a period of from 15 to 20 years after planting, it could be established that the maximum basal increment per acre for the period will be obtained if the plantations contain 600 trees per acre.

With the object of making a silvicultural and ecological evaluation of the factors affecting natural reproduction on logged and burned lands, the British Columbia Industrial and Scientific Research Council initiated in 1945 a project on a logged and burned area within the University Research Forest. An investigation of the degree of natural restocking in the burned area was also carried out, and plots were selected with a view to a comparison of the original stand and of the reproduction. Twelve quarter-acre plots were selected to represent (a) original forest types, (b) second growth forests, and (c) logged and burned areas of reproduction representing various combinations of soil and topographic conditions at varying distances from seed sources. At each location climatic and soil records were obtained, the seedlings and stumps of Douglas fir, Pseudotsuga taxifolia, Britt., cedar, Thuja plicata Donn, and hemlock, Tsuga heterophylla (Raf.) Sarg., were plotted and graphed, and the ground cover was analyzed. Besides, three strip surveys provided data on restocking.


The latest data for Rumania list the total forest area at 6,326,000 hectares. 1,595,000 hectares are state owned, 2,671,000 belong to corporations, and 2,060,000 to private owners. Yearly production therefore should be around 14 million cubic meters. The forest area represents about 25 percent of the country's total surface with a per caput distribution of 0.33 hectares.


The total surface of the Belgian Congo is 234 million hectares of which 120 million hectares or 51.4 percent are forests of the equatorial type, 108 million hectares or 46.1 percent are savannahs, whereas lakes, rivers and streams take up 6 million hectares or 2.5 percent. Agricultural land including pastures would amount for 14 percent or 33 million hectares of the total.


Among the increases of known resources of softwoods can be listed the discovery of a yellow-wood forest of at least 1,000 acres in extent in Southern Rhodesia on the Portuguese border. Two kinds of true yellow-wood grow in this area. The yellow-woods, one of which is Podocarpus milanjianus and the other probably Podocarpus latifolius, are true softwoods and will furnish valuable commercial timber.


For the purpose of the countrywide study carried out by the United States Soil Conservation Service all lands were tentatively classified into eight types. These eight land-use capability classes (subject to change) are as follows: Classes I, II, and III - suitable for continuous cultivation at different conditions; Class IV-primarily pasture or meadow land but eventually also used as cropland; Classes V, VI, and VII - suitable only for permanent vegetation, such as grass or timber; Class VIII - only to be used in a permanent type of vegetation which will not be harvested. From the results of the survey it appears that out of the 417,561,000 acres in cropland (169.4 million hectares) 88,581,000 acres should be placed to some use other than constant cultivation, and that there are 113,509,000 acres in grass and 32,934,000 acres in wood that are suitable for continuous cultivation.

On the other hand surveys show that about 25 million acres of private forest lands are idle and in need of tree planting. Millions more are only partially productive. Foresters are making great efforts to remedy the situation; here we bring an example of how they try to solve regional problems. According to calculations made by Burt P. Kirkland of the American Forestry Association, an increase of the annual cut in Douglas fir, Pseudotsuga taxifolia Britt., region of Washington and Oregon from 3,200 million to 13,100 million board feet (14.5 million m³ to 59 million m³) and possibly 20,000 million board feet (91 million m³) is possible and practical. In his report he suggests how to increase the annual yield on a sustained basis and practice full utilization of forests through more intensive utilization, general thinning of young stands, and salvaging overripe trees or stands on federal and other virgin areas. Kirkland estimates that there should be a permanent core of 3,200 million board feet of production from the 320,000 million board feet in public and sustained yield private holdings, and 5,000 million board feet from other "free" private timber.

In the United States of America a prelogging experiment has been carried out wherein all pulp size hemlock 16 inches and under (40.6 cm.), down to a 4 inch top (10.2 cm.) is being removed in advance of regular logging. All gathered material is cut 40 feet long (12 m.) and is tied into bundles of approximately 8 cords (27 steres) with three wide steel straps. The average yield is about 8 cords to the acre. Lands already logged will be re-logged with the same equipment, thus raising the utilization factor to a point undreamed a decade ago.

That the subject of tropical woods is of interest not only to countries in the equatorial zone, is exemplified by a contract awarded by the United States Navy Department to the Yale University School of Forestry for the study of tropical woods and their suitability for shipbuilding, land structures and other types of naval construction.

According to present plans, a series of exhaustive tests will be carried out with a group of selected woods from Central and South America including analysis of strength properties, machining characteristics, decay resistance, and other significant properties. The object of the program is to attempt to find replacements for woods such as teak, oak, and other timbers now standard for various types of naval use.

The largest mahogany log ever to be manufactured into lumber was cut at a Bayou Chico (United States) mill. The log weighed 16 tons, measured 16 feet (4.9 m.) long and was 8 feet (2.4 m.) in diameter at the small end and 12 feet (3.7 m.) at the larger end. The log scaled 4,000 board feet (18 m³) and would produce 88,000 square feet (8,200 m²) of veneer. The giant log was imported from British Honduras.

Nearly 13 feet (4 m.) in diameter at the base, the largest Douglas fir Pseudotsuga taxifolia Britt., tree known in forest service records has been cut in the Packwood forest, southwest of Mount Rainier in the United States. In spite of the fact that the 586-year-old tree was long overdue for cutting because rot had begun to eat at the base of the trunk and much of the upper part was decayed, the remaining section contained an estimated 11,076 cubic feet (313.5 m³) of wood, or enough, theoretically, to produce 349,464 square feet (32,465 m²) of plywood or 132,012 board feet of lumber (311.5 m³), sufficient to build 58 five-room houses.


One of the grave problems facing European forestry and economy generally is the use to be made of Germany's forests. On the one hand are the war-ravaged countries which feel that Germany should be made to contribute to the utmost limit of her ability towards the reconstruction effort. On the other hand, there are many countries who view an excessive depletion of Germany's wood resources with grave anxiety as upsetting the whole economic structure and balance of Europe and as mortgaging the future with a problem it will take at least a hundred years to readjust. We are going to quote from various sources to show how the question is being handled. According to an article "Future of German Forest Resources," appearing in Wood for December 1946,

"The manner in which German forest resources are handled by the occupying powers in the immediate future may well affect the German economic structure for generations to come. At present the artificial barriers raised by zoning impose a disproportionately heavy burden on the forests within the British zone. These forests represent only 15 percent of the total German forest area while the British zone is the most densely populated of the four zones into which Germany is now divided. Of the remaining 85 percent of German forest lands, the Russian zone has 44 percent, the American 29 percent, and the French 12 percent. Some timber is being sent from the American and French zones to the British zone, but the total amount set against the domestic and industrial requirements of a community of 22 million people is negligible. And so, to keep pace with essential requirements, the forests in the British zone must be sacrificed. The alternative of this unbalanced position is the administration of German forest resources as a whole irrespective of zoning. Only in this way will a fair distribution of wood be ensured while the essential structure of forests would stand a good chance of survival."

According to Timber News for February 1947,

"The plans for the 'Harz project' were carried out after a comprehensive survey of the area involved in July 1946 by the North Germany Timber Control and consist in the clear-felling of about 13,000 acres (5,300 hectares) containing over 3 million tons of millable spruce over 80 years old. Both round logs and sawn timber are being provided under the scheme." The British Zone Review maintains that one undeniable fact concerning forest management has emerged from the work done already, and that is, the German rotation system of 120 years is 20 years too long The operation has already demonstrated that invariably much good timber is spoilt by butt rot after 100 years of growth, and the Germans have been quick to learn the lesson and have now adopted a rotation of 100 years.

An article on overcutting of wood appearing in Holz, No. 17, Vol. 60, 1947, states that according to releases from the news agencies in the Amerizan zone of Germany, twice as much wood has been cut as normally allowed, and in Wurttemberg Baden even four times as much. In this last region the amount cut was 3.7 million festmeter, of which 1.5 million was used as firewood. The amount of firewood consumed had the calorific power of 200,000 tons of coal only,


Argentina has adopted a five-year plan for the exploitation of the forests of the Rio Negro and Chubut Territories. A special commission sent to investigate has estimated the exploitable area at 30,000 hectares from which 40,000 cubic meters of wood could be taken. Three technical commissions are now going to make detailed surveys and determine methods of rational utilization.

U. S. S. R.

In order to satisfy special needs, particular species have received marked attention. Thus the U.S.S.R. is carrying out a plan to obviate the necessity of importing some 20,000 tons of cork as was the case before the war. The plan provides for a yearly planting of 2,500 hectares in order to achieve a total area of 75.000 hectares. Before the war some 20 to 25 tons of acorns were imported from Tunisia, Algeria, Portugal, Spain, and Morocco to supplement the home-grown production of 3 tons a year. The acorns were usually shipped to Batum on the Black Sea They were then planted in pots in the autumn and kept in greenhouses. As soon as the seedlings reached a height of 10 centimeters, they were transplanted in lines of 6 meters by 8 meters, which meant 250 trees per hectare.

Forest Policy


It has taken the experience of two wars to show that long-term policies are necessary to ensure adequate supplies of both food and timber in the United Kingdom. In 1939 a mere 4 percent of British requirements of timber were produced and the commencement of a large exploitation of its woodlands found a considerable part of them still suffering from the heavy cutting carried out during the First World War.

During the recently concluded war timber imports have been severely reduced and home timber production stepped up. The following official figures illustrate the position: Home timber production was 450,000 tons in 1935-38 and 3,821,000 tons in 1943; whereas timber imports were 9,662,000 tons in 1935-38 and 1,708,000 tons in 1943.

As a result, little mature timber remains and England has been forced to draw upon supplies of immature timber. In view of this position and the growing world timber shortage, extensive replanting and expansion of forests are imperative. As of 30 September 1939, the National Forest Estate amounted to 1,144,000 acres (463,000 ha.), including Crown woodlands. Therefore, of the 5 million acres (2 million ha.) of effective forest, which the Forestry Commission proposes securing over 50 years, 3 million acres (1,200,000 ha.) are to be obtained by afforestation of bare ground (mostly rough grazing) at "relatively small" loss to food production.

The remaining 2 million acres (800,000 ha.) of the proposed Forestry Commission program are to be secured by selection from existing woodlands. They will either be "dedicated" to forestry and worked to an approved plan of operations, when their owners will become eligible for State assistance, or acquired by the State.


The New South Wales Government has decided to spend in 1947 double last year's amount on forestry development. Three hundred and ten miles (500 km.) of new roads will give access to new areas. Emergency logging of the Upper Hastings will be speeded up and during the year 16,490 acres (6,670 ha.) of hardwoods and 8,960 acres (3,630 ha.) of cypress pine, Callitris spp., will be reafforested. A start will also be made on planting hoop pine, Araucaria cunninghamii Ait., on 327 acres (132 ha.) in the Tweed-Richmond area, and certain areas of private timber land will be acquired.


The planting scheme for Kenya, initiated in 1922 by the Founder of the "Men of the Trees," is carried out by the Forestry Department of Kenya which carefully replaces timber cut from forests by replanting them with suitable young trees. Its activity is particularly important and essential as in Kenya timber is not only used for building purposes but also as a substitute for coal for the railways.


A broad program for the development of forest lands in the United States to meet continuing high-level requirements for wood and wood products has been proposed by the American Forestry Association after a nationwide survey of the effects of war drains on the country's timberlands and their capacity to meet postwar needs

The program calls for greater emphasis on State and private responsibility in the handling of forest-producing lands, including state action to curl) destructive timber cutting: a record-breaking tree-planting project of 20 million acres (8 million ha.) during the next 12 years; greatly intensified action to bring all forest land under protection from fire; and a vigorous nationwide expansion of forestry education, including advice and assistance to the 4 million owners of small forest properties who control 57 percent of the commercial forest land of the United States. Specifically, the program covers the following items: protection of the forest resources from fire, protection of forests from insects and diseases, education of the American public, education and assistance for forest owners, control of destructive practices, forest planting, forest taxation, forest and wood-use research, forest credit and insurance, intensive timber production, cooperative sustained-yield units, Federal, State; and private forest ownership, current forest inventories, and recreational and aesthetic, values.


The Norwegian Parliament has unanimously voted an allocation of 3.15 million kroner (approximately U. S. $635,000) for private forestry during the fiscal year 1946/47.

Silviculture and Reforestation


A movement called "tree farms" began in the Pacific northwest of the United States in Gray's Harbor, Washington, five years ago. It was then that a tract of forest land was set aside and given the name of the Clemons tree farm. It marked the beginning of a new era in forest management, although many forest owners were consciously "growing trees for tomorrow" long before the program known as "tree farms" actually Started. The term "tree farm" caught interest and added incentive to forest owners, large and small. In the five years which have followed the official adoption of the title, it has become a significant factor in the United States' forest future. Nowadays the national total of forest acreage certified is 12,922,231 acres (5,229,459 ha.) in the 15 states which have adopted the program. Encompassed in these states are 1,053 testified farms. The tree farms can range from 5 acres (2 ha.) up to any amount. As a matter of fact, the smallest tree farm is just 5 acres while the largest is 700,000 (283,000 ha.) and they are both located in the largest state in the Union - Texas.

Realizing that the production of nursery stock will have to be increased to meet future demands and needs, state foresters are making plans to grow from three to ten times as many trees as were produced in 1946. Georgia, with 2 million acres (800,000 ha.) in need of planting, plans to grow 30 million seedlings for distribution in 1947 at the two state operated nurseries at Flowery Branch and Albany - with 70 percent coming, from the latter nursery. Another southeastern state, South Carolina, has purchased additional land and is now making tentative plans to grow 15 million trees for 1947 compared with 2,175,350 trees for 1946.

During a five-year period from 1947 to 1952 Oregon will levy a tax of 5 cents per thousand feet of logs (4.53 m³) produced, to be dedicated to research in forest rehabilitation and direct scientific investigation by the Oregon Forest Products Laboratories. Forty percent of the money to be collected on an estimated annual cut of 5,000 million board feet (23 million m³) a year will go, to forest rehabilitation studies - U. S. $100,000.


The British Columbia Research Council, in collaboration with the University of British Columbia, began a survey in 1945 of the effects of various factors, such as rainfall, light and shade, and location of seed trees, on the extent to which reseeding occurs in logged areas, on the types of trees which form the second growth forests, and on the rates of growth. In close conjunction with this work, methods are being developed for accurately and efficiently surveying large areas to determine the extent and nature of reforestation.

A "tree planting car" of the Canadian Forestry Association was visited in the past 25 years by more than a million people; it travelled 2,906 miles (4,676 km.) on the Canadian Pacific and Canadian National Railways and held 338 meetings attended by 40,776 persons. In its- staff's spare time 194 farm homes were visited to assist in tree planting problems and more than 300 letters of inquiry from farmers were answered with complete information. The purpose of the car's activity in the open prairie is to teach the farmers how to plant shelterbelts, which is the first step in creating profitable food gardens, in the protection of livestock, and the ameliorating of living conditions.


A National Forestry Fund is to finance reforestation in France by a levy of 9 percent on the value of forest products. Some 2 million hectares are to be reforested of which one million hectares are old forest areas depleted by fire or abuses. The reforestation program is to be completed in 10 years.


Rimu Dacrydium cupressinum is the most important tree species milled in New Zealand. For instance, out of a total output of approximately 341 million super feet (805,000 m³) of timber in 1942-43, 198 million (467,000 m³) was made up of that species. Rimu stands are found throughout New Zealand, but, having a very slow growth rate, they are in danger of being heavily depleted, the trees at present being milled varying in age from 250 to 600 years. Foresters therefore believe that, even under management, it would take at least 200 years before a second crop could be obtained. Unfortunately, rimu is an infrequent and sparse seeder and, except on the West Coast, does not regenerate freely. More over, it has been found impossible to handle it in seedling states whether it has been raised artificially in nurseries or has been naturally regenerated. What is true for rimu, is true also with minor modifications for totara, Podocarpus totara D. Don., matai, Podocarpus spicatus R. Br., and white pine, Podocarpus dacryioides. The Forest Service has realized this for many years and accordingly has established large areas of fast-growing introduced species.

Experimental work using a helicopter to reseed logged-over land is being undertaken. A newly developed tree seed pellet coated with fertilizer, root hormone, and a substance toxic to rodents will be used in the experiment This seed pellet, it is Said, makes tree seeding by aircraft possible for the first -time.

Forest Fires


The southwestern coastal regions of France suffer most from forest fires that have wrought great havoc in the pine forests from 1940 to 1946. A decree of 25 March 1947 creates a fire fighting corps for the three departments which have suffered most. It is not a group of volunteers but rather a professional body of specialists in forest fire fighting the members of which, even though they may be employed for other forestry work, will always be on call to be sent wherever a fire is detected. The corps will be financed by the National Forestry Fund established by the law of 30 September 1946.


Forest fire losses in British Columbia during 1946, amounting to Canadian $357,984, was only about 25 percent of the previous year's figure. Accessible merchantable timber killed is placed at 63,992,000 board feet (290,000 m³) of which 16,150,000 board feet (73,200 m³) is salvageable. One hundred and fifteen, or 30 percent of last year's fires, were started by lightning, with damage estimated at Canadian $43,827. Smokers were blamed for 326 fires, and brush burning caused 117; industrial operations, including logging, were the source of 38, and campers were responsible for setting 263. Ten fires were tracked by the Forest Service to incendiary causes.


The Forest Commission of Victoria, Australia, has recently carried out a test of the bombing out of bush fires at Anglesea under realistic conditions. Mustang planes dropped 750 pound bombs on patches of fiercely blazing scrub. The results are regarded as most encouraging by the Commission and further testing will be carried out in due course.


Water bombs will be used to check forest fires in the north-western forest regions of the United States. One type will hold 160 gallons (606 liters) and the other over 300 gallons (1,136 liters). They may be fused to burst forty or fifty feet (12 to 15 m.), above ground or on impact. Bomb-dropping B-17 airplanes will be used.

Forest Enemies and Pests


A number of native Australian woods are susceptible to "dark heart" which considerably affects their utilization value. The Division of Wood Technology is trying to obtain a better appraisement of the extent and peculiarities of this condition. If its cause can be determined, it will be possible to provide better protection to many of the young susceptible softwoods now being planted.


According to Mr. G. B. Bawling, an entomologist of the State Forest Service, New Zealand forests are in a particularly healthy condition. He carried out an inspection to investigate the possibility of the introduction of new tree ,diseases during the war years, but he did not discover any new species nor did he find that any of the destructive fungi and insects already known had caused significant damage.


In the United States the sugar pine cone beetle, Conophtorus lambertianae, is normally a destructive pest of immature cones. Nevertheless, recently a twig-mining habit which had previously escaped observation was discovered, which indicates that in certain years at least a part of each brood reared in the cones emerges in August and September, and then attacks the twigs. The effect of the twig killing is not looked upon as particularly damaging to the tree as a whole, because the amount of foliage destroyed is relatively small. However, it has a scientific interest as it brings out a new phase of the seasonal activity of a well-known forest insect.

According to Dr. Ray R. Hirt, forest pathologist of the New York State College of Forestry, scientists have not succeeded in controlling the Asiatic chestnut blight nor yet discovered an immune American chestnut. Dr. Hirt is now studying chestnut hybrids not only for their resistance to the plague, but for growth characteristics. One of the most important aims is to discover forms that may be valuable as food for wildlife as well as for lumber and orchard purposes.

Tests recently made on a large western tree farm may point the way to increasing timber supplies by killing insects which kill trees. DDT sprayed on a forest from the air destroyed 4,300,000 tree-devouring insects per acre.

A new tree paint that will help heal tree wounds in two-thirds the time normally required has been put on the market. The tree paint contains plasticized asphalts, resin, lanolin, and fungicides, including pinenem bornyl acetate, and sylvestrenes. The tree paint prevents the drying out and death of the living outer cells.


It has been estimated that, reckoned in food crops and young growth destroyed by the rabbit in the United Kingdom, each rabbit costs the country at least one pound sterling. Total loss after deducting the price obtained for the rabbits sold is estimated at 140 million pounds sterling

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page