Report of the FAO forestry mission to Austria
Regional meeting on standardization of timber
Ninth session of the FAO Council
European forestry and forest products commission - Subcommission on Mediterranean problems
Preparations for technical assistance program
United Nations mission to Bolivia
While in Vienna in July 1949 the Director-General of FAO was approached by the Austrian Government with for an FAO forestry mission to advise on programs for the development and improvement of Austria's forest resources and industries. The Director-General appointed two permanent staff members of the Division of Forestry and Forest Products: Dr. Egon Glesinger, Deputy Director of the Division, and Mr. D. Boy Cameron, Chief of the European Working Group, to form that Mission. They arrived in Vienna in January 1950 and in April a report was presented to the Austrian Cabinet by Mr. A. H. Boerma, Regional Representative of the Director-General in Europe.
The report of the FAO Forestry Mission to Austria is an important document because: (1) it is the first time that an international organization has made a comprehensive investigation of the forestry situation in a country, including the status and potentialities of the industries dependent on the forest resources for their raw material supplies, and (2) the report makes far-reaching recommendations, the implications of which affect the whole national economy.
On the basis of proposals formulated by Austrian forest owners and manufacturers, the Mission has recommended for the next three years an investment of 1,700 million schillings (corresponding roughly to 80 million dollars) for the improvement and modernization of the country's forest resources and industries. Such an investment would raise the annual output of primary and secondary products derived from Austrian forests which now represent approximately 9 percent of the annual national product, to 2,800 million schillings, i.e., by more than 30 percent. It would enable Austria to increase annual exports of forest products by 600 million schillings, or almost 60 percent, between 1949 and 1952, assuming no radical change in present price levels. The importance of such a development is best illustrated by the feet that in 1949 forest products exports attained a value of 1,100 million schillings, corresponding to 32.6 percent of Austria's total exports. The anticipated expansion of forest products exports would thus go a long way in closing the present gap in Austria's balance of payments.
It was peculiarly fitting that Austria should be the first location of an international forestry mission, because of the long tradition of leadership in the science and art of silviculture accorded that country by the world. Furthermore, forests are Austria's most important natural resource and the rehabilitation of the national economy must depend in large measure on the efficient development and expansion of its forest industries.
Fortunately the special ECA Mission to Austria recognized this feet promptly and expressed its willingness to further in any way possible large-scale and long-term plans for the modernization of forest industries.
The Austrian Government was also aware of the opportunity afforded for additional capital investments which the European Recovery Program assistance made possible. A very comprehensive long-term forestry program was prepared by the Austrian authorities, and the various industrial associations compiled briefs indicating their plans for expansion and the financial commitments which these would necessarily involve.
The work of the Mission therefore consisted primarily in the analysis of these plans, their correlation with the assessed productive capacity of the Austrian forests, and their integration into an overall investment program for forestry and forest industries.
The report of the Mission is in two main parts. Part 1 contains a summary of its conclusions and four important recommendations. Part 2 is a detailed discussion of the individual items in the program. It deals first with the forestry aspects and then formulates the Mission's proposals with respect to each section of the forest industries.
In its general recommendations in Part 1, the Mission had to take into account the feet that the financial assistance which could be made available under the ERP program must end with the termination of the Marshall Plan in 1952. On the other hand, the investment requirements, particularly for forestry, must continue over a term of years. Furthermore, the productive capacity of Austrian forest industries requires a raw material supply considerably in excess of the yield capacity organized as at present.
The Mission's first two recommendations concern the financial basis of the investment program. The first recommendation proposes the creation of a government-controlled Forestry and Forest Industries Finance Corporation. This Corporation would operate through four technical committees for forestry, sawmills other wood-working industries, and pulp and paper. These committees would have the responsibility of initiating action on investment projects and approving loan applications which would be made directly to them. The chairmen of the committees would sit on the Board of Directors, which would also include members of the Cabinet, heads of Ministries interested in the program, and representatives of the leading national political parties. The General Manager of the Corporation would be responsible for the actual completion of loans approved by the committees.
The Mission's second recommendation is for the establishment of a revolving fund to meet the long-term investment requirements. Into this fund, which would be administered by the Corporation would go all the interest and amortization charges of loans to be made under the program. It would also receive at the termination of Marshall Aid in 1952 all unused balances from allocations for investments expenditures made during the life of the ERP.
The third recommendation proposes an expansion of Austrian research facilities both in forestry and forest products. For forestry it recommends the establishment of a new research center to which should be attached a demonstration forest. The present institute at Mariabrunn would be continued as a branch station, A forest products laboratory is also proposed, to work on problems of applied research designed to service the requirements of Austrian forest industries. In addition' a continuing subsidy is recommended for the Austrian Society of Wood Research which will be engaged more particularly on problems of a more fundamental, scientific character.
The Mission's fourth recommendation is for the establishment of an Austrian Forestry Commission, to be responsible for the heavy investment program required to rehabilitate Austrian forests which have suffered from two wars and a major depression. This Commission would have as its chairman the Minister of Agriculture, who is in charge of forestry affairs. It would report directly to the Cabinet and would have the status of a Ministry. The Mission suggests that the Commission should have as its chief executive officer a Director General, and be organized in six major divisions namely management, utilization, economics and service, research and surveys, torrent control, and State forests. The proposal that the State forests should be integrated in an over-all administration involves a fundamental organizational change in Austria. This will take some time to effect because of complications connected with the constitution of the Federal Republic. The Mission points out, however, that State forests must in the future play that part which over-tall forest policy demands, even: though this may not be the most profitable from the standpoint of the State forests then selves. Particularly, reductions or increases in the volume of fellings should take into account the essential needs of industry rather than be dictated primarily by price trends.
In addition to its four main recommendations, the Mission makes in Part 1 certain additional suggestions concerning the better use of thinnings to be made available in large quantities through forest improvements and the maximum utilization of wood waste by the pulp and paper and wallboard industries. It also points out the desirability of changes in the incidence of taxation to encourage industry to take advantage of the loan facilities available under the investment program.
From the standpoint of the long-term economic prosperity of Austria, the recommendations with regard to forestry are perhaps the most important. The Austrian forests have been seriously depleted and their productive capacity impaired. Since World War I, overcutting is estimated to have amounted to 70 million m³. Still worse, there has been an accumulation of cutover lands which it has been impossible to replant and thus return to production. Over 300,000 hectares, or approximately 10 percent of the potential forest area, have now been reduced to this category.
As a result, the productive potential, which in 1936 was estimated at 9.5 million m³, has fallen to what Austrian forest authorities place at around 7,700,000 m³ at the present time. The Mission has proposed an allowable cut after 1952 of 9 million m³. The justification for this higher figure is the feet that current statistics are admittedly incomplete in that they do not include important quantities of wood going into construction or fuel-wood for domestic use on farms. Secondly, the forest improvement program will make available large additional volumes of thinnings from areas now economically inaccessible and where as a consequence proper silvicultural treatments have not been possible.
The two most important elements of the forestry program proposed by the Mission are reforestation and increasing forest accessibility. The planting program prepared will be deferred until after 1952, but the remaining period of Marshall Plan aid should see the installation of the additional forest nursery stock and the purchase of all necessary modern equipment. The Mission's proposals call for an expenditure of 38.5 million schillings per annum for reforestation for a 16-year period following 1952.
The forest improvements program is designed to open up an area of over 143,000 hectares of timber by the construction of roads and permanent cable ways. It is proposed that practically the entire construction program should be initiated within the life of the ERP. About 90 percent of the expenditure will be in the form of loans, the proceeds of which will constitute an important part of the Revolving Fund, most of which will eventually be used in the reforestation program.
Another important element in the forestry program is the preparation of a forest inventory. In the initial stages this will have to be conducted by ground survey methods. However, as soon as the Austrian Peace Treaty is signed and the use of aircraft can be sanctioned, aerial survey methods will be introduced.
The Mission has also endorsed the recommendations of the Austrian authorities for a number of minor projects designed to increase the proportion of industrial wood coming from the country's forests. These include the replacement of wooden shingles by tiles in house construction, improved wood-burning stoves, preservative treatment of wood for external use, and the development of peat production.
In the industrial field the Mission was particularly concerned with the modernization and expansion of the sawmilling and pulp and paper industries, and the possibilities of integration between them. Today these two basic primary forest industries exist as competitors and there is little if any systematic co-operation between them. In the sawmilling industry the equipment of most mills is deficient and manufacturing processes obsolete. Owing to the mountainous nature of the country there, will always be necessity for a large number of small mills to service local needs. There is, however, room for modernization of a relatively small number of larger units producing for the export trade, which with better manufacturing and lower costs could be greatly expanded. The Mission report stresses that well-equipped medium-sized mills, which can obtain their log supply relatively close at hand, will best serve Austria's economy. The report recommends capital investments for this purpose.
Modernization is also essential in the pulp industries and would permit a reduction of around 20 percent in production costs. Large increases in industrial capacity are not warranted in view of the limitations of raw material supply. The Mission's report therefore recommends two small expansions only, one to provide for the manufacture of some 60,000 tons of ground wood pulp and the other for the establishment of a new factory for the manufacture of sulphate pulp.
The Mission sees in the wallboard industry prospects of an increasingly important asset in the country's economy, more particularly as this industry may be organized to utilize a large quantity of sawmill waste now serving no useful purpose. The report recommends the building of two additional factories and modernization of existing equipment. Comparatively small capital investments are also recommended for the other primary industries, veneers and plywoods.
In the secondary industries particular attention is paid to paper and cardboard where total capital investments totaling over 280 million schillings in the first priority are recommended. An equivalent amount is placed in the second priority. These capital investments are designed to raise the manufacturing capacity of the industry by 120,000 tons per annum or 42 percent over 1949. Total export supply by 1952 should exceed 200,000 tons and make an important contribution to the national economy.
The manufacture of containers and crates for export has reached sizable proportions in Austria. The Mission has recommended investments for capital equipment which in the opinion of the industry will enable it to accept large-scale orders and thus better meet competition in this field.
Austria has a high reputation as a producer of prefabricated houses After enquiry into this industry, the Mission concluded that further expansion of capacity was not desirable. However, it endorsed proposals for restively modest capital investments for the introduction of modern equipment for further increases in efficiency and for possible adjustment in output towards the manufacture of sash and doors and other mill work. Similarly with regard to furniture, for which Austria is well known, modest scale investments were endorsed for modernization of existing production capacity.
A technical meeting on nomenclature, terminology, testing methods, grading, and dimensions, of timber was held at Dalat, Viet Nam, from 3-7 April 1950 and was attended by 18 delegates and observers representing the French Union (Viet Nam, Cambodia, and Laos) Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaya, Thailand, SCAP (Japan), and the United States of America.
FAO was represented by Mr. W. H. Cummings, Regional Representative of the Director-General, and Mr. C. Purkayastha. Dr. M. A. Huberman, Chief of the Forestry and Forest Products Working Group for Asia and the Far East, acted as Secretary of the meeting.
Papers submitted for consideration at the meeting included grading rules for logs and lumber, and material on nomenclature, terminology, testing methods, and dimensions. These were submitted by Burma, the French Union, India, Indonesia, Malaya, New Zealand, the Philippines, and Thailand.
Consideration of this material, together with the proceedings of the first Conference on Mechanical Wood Technology held at Geneva in September 1949, and also the report of the Mysore Conference on Forestry and Timber Utilization held in April 1949, resulted in the adoption of the following recommendations:
1. - Recommends that the participating countries should group their timbers into five categories, as follows: (1) Teak (Tectona grandis); (2) Conifers; (3) Primary (durable) hardwoods; (4) Secondary (a) General utility hardwoods. (Primary hardwoods are heavy constructional timbers that will normally last more than five years if used in an untreated condition in contact with the soil in termite-infested areas. Secondary hardwoods are also generally suitable for heavy construction but must be treated with preservatives if they are required to last more than five years in contact with termite-infested soil. General utility hardwoods are those relatively light timbers that are in general use for interior construction and purposes such as packing eases, sheltering, etc.).
2. - Recommends that countries agree to send to the FAO Regional Office at Bangkok a list of the trade names of their commercial timbers classified as far as possible as recommended in the first resolution. An appendix to this list should contain details of the density, durability, color, and ease of sawing of each commercial timber.
3. - Recommends that timbers of similar characteristics should be grouped under one trade name.
The Meeting agrees to the definitions of defects and of the more important terms used in the timber trade that are set out in the Malayan Grading Rules, with the proviso that they may submit additional definitions and amendments to the FAO Regional Office at Bangkok for incorporation in this list if agreed upon at a future conference.
1. - Agrees with the Resolutions regarding methods of timber-testing passed at the first Conference on Mechanical Wood Technology at Geneva in September 1949 but recommends:a) That the cross-sectional dimensions of test pieces shall be restricted to 2 x 2 cm. or 5 x 5 cm.
b) That the moisture content of test specimens in an air-dry condition shall be 15 percent, plus or minus 2 percent based on weight when oven dry, and that the results shall be published as obtained at the time of the test.
c) That tests shall be made as far as possible within the range of 25° C. plus or minus 3°.
d) That the tension perpendicular to grain test shall not normally be carried out.
2. - Recognizes the necessity of establishing standard methods of making moisture strength and temperature strength adjustments and, with this object in view, proposes to study the recommendations made at the Timber Mechanics Conference held in Ottawa in 1948.
3. - Recognizes the great importance of achieving as much uniformity as possible in the methods of selection of test material, and proposes an exchange of information through the FAO Regional Office in Bangkok so as to obtain if possible complete uniformity in selection methods within this region.
4. - Agrees that no suitable equipment exists in any of the regional laboratories for the testing of abrasion and recommends that close touch be kept with any new developments which may be made in respect of this test.
5. - Recommends that if any laboratory is to undertake tests on plywood or similar material, a study should be made of the standard methods set out by the American Society for Testing Materials in their A.S.T.M. D.805-47. Furthermore, it is recommended that close attention should be paid to the work being carried out at Dehra Dun, India.
6. - Recommends that an exchange of information on methods of carrying out durability tests should be conducted through the FAO Regional Office at Bangkok to ensure standardization of such tests.
1. - Teak. The Meeting recommends that the Burma Grading Rules should be adopted for the export of teak squares, but recognizing that there are differences in the quality of teak from different countries, considers that no agreement can be reached at present regarding that of very high quality and sawn teak for special purposes. Delegates agreed to forward their specifications for teak for high quality and special purposes to the FAO Regional Office at Bangkok so that studies can be made with the object of attaining a greater degree of standardization.
2. - Conifers. The Meeting considers that as there is very little export trade in conifers, there is at present no need for standard grading rules for this type of wood, particularly as there is such a great divergence in the type of coniferous wood growing in these regions. But it recommends that a study be made of the problems involved in the grading of such timbers.
3. - Hardwood Logs. The Meeting recommends that the North Borneo Standard Grading Rules shall be accepted as a basis for the grading of hardwood logs for export. It proposes that four grades shall be drawn up for presentation at a future conference.
4. - Hardwood Lumber The Meeting recommends that if any country of this region is to start exporting sawn hardwoods, it should grade according to the Malayan Grading Rules and that those countries which already have an export trade in sawn hardwoods should study these rules and conform to them as closely as possible. However, it invites countries to make a comparative study of the method used in the Malayan Grading Rules with that developed in France. It is noted that the Philippine Islands wish to retain their rules for grading Philippine mahogany for export and that North Borneo does not wish to change its existing rules at present.
Training of Grading Inspectors
The Meeting, recognizing the importance of the proper training of timber grading inspectors, recommends that arrangements for the training of such inspectors in Malaya or other countries shall be made either directly or through the facilities of the FAO Office at Bangkok.
1. - Agrees that the metric system of measurement of timber has advantages over all other systems but cannot recommend the general adoption of this system at present. However, it suggests that in the region only cubic meters and cubic feet be used to record the volume of timber, and requests the FAO Bangkok Office to draw up a table for converting dimensions in feet and inches to meters and centimeters.
2. - Recommends that all countries send to the FAO Office at Bangkok lists of the standard dimensions of timbers for export and requests that office to draw up a table including all these dimensions so that some common standards may eventually be evolved.
3. - Recommends that all timber for export should generally be cut oversize to allow for shrinkage.
These recommendations will be submitted to the first session of the Forestry and Forest Products Commission for Asia and the Pacific, to be held in October, and will form a basis for the Commission's policy decisions.
The Council of FAO, meeting in Rome 8-17 May, made financial and administrative arrangements for transferring the Organization from its temporary home in Washington to its permanent seat in Rome early next year. It also set 3 November 1950 as the time and Washington as the place for a session of the full Conference to approve the final arrangements for the move. The Council is an interim governing body composed of 18 of the 63 member governments, and is under the independent chairmanship of Lord Bruce of Melbourne.
In connection with the program of technical assistance, the Council laid great emphasis upon the need for integrated action among the various participating agencies, including not only FAO, but also the World Health Organization, the International Labour Organisation the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and, the United Nations itself It urged discrimination among the numerous possible projects and the closest liaison with governments.
The Council also put under way a study of the work of various international organizations as this relates to FAO's program, looking toward avoidance of: duplication and more effective co-operation..
The Mediterranean Subcommission held its second meeting at Algiers 8-13 May 1960, with the following countries represented: France, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. The International Union of Forest Research Organizations was also represented.
Professor Aldo Pavari, Director of the Forest Research Station at Florence, and Jean Paul Challot, Conservator of Forests in Morocco, were unanimously reelected to the posts of Chairman and Vice-Chairman.
The Subcommission examined the report presented by Messrs. Pavari and Birraghi of the Italian delegation on the problems raised by chestnut blight (Endothia parasitica) in the Mediterranean area. It was deemed advisable to await the results of the International Chestnut Congress, to be held in France in September, before drawing any specific conclusions. Liaison with the Congress will be maintained by the Secretariat.
As decided at the Subcommission's first meeting in Rome in December 1948, a provisional map had been compiled indicating (a) the boundaries of the European-Mediterranean area and (b) the boundaries of the transition countries. The criteria adopted have been set forth in previous reports and discussions. The provisional map will be sent to each of the countries concerned, and corrections and comments made thereto will then be used in drawing up a definitive map. The Subcommission requested the interested countries to send the Secretariat all pertinent documentation which might serve in the compilation of this map, which will then become the official map of the Subcommission.
The Subcommission also requested the countries to submit to the Secretariat all documentation which would help in making the detailed ecological map called for by the Rome meeting.
In connection with cork research and production, three points were raised:
(1) Permanent markets. Will there still be a world market for products from these stands of cork-producing trees 30 or 40 years hence? The answer to this question seems to be in the affirmative.
(2) Production statistics. The study of statistics was the first point stressed in the report on the promotion and protection of the Mediterranean cork-growing industry which was presented by the Portuguese delegation. The report was adopted by the Subcommission as constituting an acceptable summarization of its work in this connection.
(3) Methods of increasing and regularizing production. The above report also summarized all questions which might arise in connection with cork production. All are of great interest, and it is necessary to establish an order of priority for treating these research problems.
The Subcommission was of the opinion that technical matters should be given immediate priority; it therefore decided to establish a permanent Working Party, presided over by Mr. J. V. Natividade (Portugal).
Finally the Subcommission considered reforestation, soil conservation, and land use, and, after hearing several reports, reaffirmed the conclusions reached at the Rome meeting. However, since a' program of reforestation for rehabilitating steep slopes involves the control of grazing and the shifting and re-establishment of populations, and since it can only begin to influence water run-off after a considerable time, the Subcommission believes that steps must also be taken to ensure that: (1) the ground is so treated that the effects shall be the same as a forest cover as far as soil conservation and water regulation are concerned; (2) an intensive utilization of the soil is made possible so as to help raise the living standards of the populations in mountainous areas.
Following an inspection of the vast embankment works completed in Algiers by the Soil Protection and Restoration Service, the Subcommission found that the technique evolved for establishing "infiltration embankments" seemed to provide one of the best solutions thus far offered for carrying out reforestation work in the Mediterranean region. The Subcommission called the attention of all other governments to this technique, which has already been successfully applied here on a very large scale (almost 20 thousand hectares so far) and is worth copying. It recommended wider dissemination among governmental and technical circles of the interesting reports submitted, in order that all Mediterranean countries might benefit quickly from the experience already gained. It again pointed out to governments the danger implicit in any policy of land utilization involving the further clearance of forests on the pretext that, with modern soil restoration techniques, additional land can now be safely placed under cultivation. It recommended:
(1) That a firm policy of conservation and improvement of existing forests be followed
(2) That soil restoration work be confined to areas where the forest vegetation has already disappeared and to agricultural land already denuded by or threatened by erosion;
(3) That reforestation combined with soil restoration methods be applied in areas where soil conditions so require.
No definite location or time for the next meeting was fixed, but the Subcommission agreed to place on its agenda a study of the need to restrict grazing in order to establish a proper equilibrium between grazing and forest lands, with a view to restoring the forests and ultimately obtaining the maximum yield from the land.
From 15-19 May, excursions were made to various places of interest in Morocco, where the delegates were greeted by M. Grimaldi, Director of the Forest Service M. Challot, Director of the Soil Conservation Service, and M. Metro, Chief of the Research Station at Rabat. Much useful information was obtained on the work being carried out on silvicultural treatment of cedars, planting of eucalypts and acacias, management of cork-oak forests, and ecological problems.
The full report of the Subcommission is issued by FAO from Geneva.
As point four of his message of 24 June 1949, the President of the United States recommended to Congress the enactment of legislation authorizing an expanded program of technical assistance to underdeveloped areas. The United Nations and the specialized agencies which already have devoted much time and effort to assisting countries in their social and economic development, is also assuming part of the task of making such technical assistance available.
Pending legislative authorization and the necessary appropriations, a great deal of constructive planning has been done within the United Nations and the specialized agencies preparatory to the selection of projects for the program. The UN Economic and Social Council has provided for the establishment of a Technical Assistance Board (TAB), composed of executive heads of UN and the specialized agencies, with such functions as will assure co-ordination of the various activities under the program. The work of the Board is subject to review by the Council, which has established for this purpose the Technical Assistance Committee (TAC), a special committee of delegates from member countries.
Within this framework, the various specialized agencies will receive allocations in prescribed proportions when funds have been made available through contributions by participating governments. Of these contributions, which will be paid into a special account set up by the UN Secretary-General, FAO will receive the highest percentage (29 percent). This is an indication of the important task which awaits FAO, particularly in the early years of economic.
A special Technical Assistance Conference was held at Lake Success, beginning 12 June, to ascertain what contributions governments were prepared to make, to decide on all administrative arrangements, and to review the proposed programs of technical and economic development.
It is now assumed that some contributing governments will make their first payments for the initial financial period (July 1950-December 1951) in July of the current year, so that funds will be available by that date to cover specified projects based on formal requests by governments.
In FAO a working group on the level of divisional directors, presided over by the Director-General or the Deputy Director-General, has been established since 1949 to determine general policy regarding technical assistance and to coordinate the work within FAO and with UN and the other specialized agencies. Details of planning are carried out by an interdivisional working party in which each division is represented by an officer specifically in charge of technical assistance.
This working party examines the preparatory work done by the divisions considers administrative problems to be anticipated; devises methods of coordinating FAO work with that of other agencies; suggests procedures for consultation with governments; prepares agreements with recipient governments; prepares proposals for establishing adequate registration and filing systems for Technical Assistance projects, keeps FAO's progress in this field continuously under review.
The Division of Forestry and Forest Products has given special attention to technical assistance programs. Its regional offices have aided interested governments in drawing up well-considered programs covering all projects for which technical assistance would be requested. These programs, after review and coordination at Headquarters, are now serving as basic documentation for the formal requests which are required from governments for any financial allocation from the Secretary-General's Special Account. The recipient governments, must also give reasonable assurance that they will adhere to the guiding principles recommended by the Economic and Social Council and approved by the General Assembly to facilitate the implementation of technical assistance furnished. This means that they commit themselves to help the experts to obtain the necessary information about the problems on which technical assistance has been requested, to give full and prompt consideration to the Technical advice received to maintain or set up as soon as practicable such governmental co-ordination machinery as may be needed to utilize its own Technical natural, and financial resources, so as to improve the standard of living of its people and ensure the effective use of any major international technical assistance, to undertake the sustained efforts required for economic development, including continuing support and progressive assumption of financial responsibility for the administration of projects initiated at its request under international auspices.
The successful operation of such a broad program will increase the prestige and effectiveness of the recipient countries in proportion to the results obtained. The Technical Assistance Program will strengthen the UN and its specialized agencies in the accomplishment of one of its fundamental purposes: constructive international action for improving the standard of living of the world's peoples.
The introduction of mechanized equipment has been one of the most revolutionizing factors in modern agriculture. For some time now this development has become evident also in forestry, yet forest utilization and especially logging operations are still carried on in most places by manual labor or the use of draft animals. Even when large-scale operations are undertaken very few of the operations are carried out with mechanized equipment, and then it is usually only the transportation phase that is modernized. As a result of this situation not only is the cost of harvesting the product very high, but also the working and living conditions of forest workers have been, in most eases, way below standard.
In order to let member countries reap the full benefit of the possibilities opened up by mechanization, the 1948 session of FAO's Conference recommended that all possible assistance should be given to governments to ensure that they could avail themselves of progress in this field. The response to this recommendation has been immediate. The advantages are evident not only for countries where forestry is well developed - since additional mechanization may bring forests formerly considered "inaccessible" within the orbit of commerce (inaccessibility, in most eases, is a matter of cost, i.e., transporting the wood from the forests) - but also for underdeveloped countries where large-scale forest utilization would not otherwise be possible because of working conditions, manpower shortages, and economic factors.
In accordance with the Conference recommendation, the Division of Forestry and Forest Products has endeavored to make available all pertinent data on forestry equipment. The Equipment Section has collected Technical information, catalogues, and specifications from some 2,500 firms, from all over the world, whereas existing literature is usually confined to one country only. The data covers mechanized equipment used in logging and woods operations as well as in fire-fighting, nurseries, and all wood-converting industries. The first step was to collect data on tractors, both wheel and track types. This is now being extended to cover tractor-mounted equipment for forest utilization. The next steps will be equipment for loading and transportation.
A special study on fire-fighting is being carried out, dealing with equipment for fire prevention, communication, transportation' and fire-fighting in general. This will enable interested countries to keep informed of the latest developments in equipment as it is used in different parts of the world.
These data are available to member countries upon request, and it is hoped that it will be possible to publish them in the form of a compendium. Information has already been supplied to the following countries: Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, Iran, Thailand, Venezuela, and Yugoslavia.
A United Nations mission left in April 1950 for Bolivia, at the request of the Bolivian Government, to determine what Technical assistance is necessary for improving the economic and social conditions of the country and raising its standard of living.
This mission, organized in collaboration with FAO, UNESCO, and WHO, is under the direction of Mr. M. H. L. Keenleyside, Deputy Minister of Mines and Resources in Canada. Its membership is composed of fifteen experts, chosen from eleven different countries of Europe and the Western Hemisphere. The main objects of its study will be public finance, administration, transportation forestry, agriculture, exploitation of the mining industries, social legislation, and education.
The expert on forestry, Mr. Henry S. Kernan, was recommended by FAO for this appointment. Mr. Kernan's experience has covered all major phases of forestry in the northeastern, southern, and far western sections of the United States, in eastern Canada, and in Colombia and various other South American countries. He has worked for federal and state agencies and private industry. He also manages his own forest lands and operates his own sawmills. He has lectured on forestry and written numerous articles on various forestry problems, many of which have been published in the magazine of the American Forestry Association.