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News of the world

The items appearing here are condensed from newsworthy material collected by FAO staff or submitted by correspondents. FAO assumes no responsibility for statements and statistic in items accepted in good faith from contributors.


· Afghan economy is very dependent on the export of Karakul lambskins which together with wool bring in almost 50 percent of the foreign exchange. Afghan skins, both grey and black, are perhaps as high in quality as any in the world, most being marketed as "Persian lamb". As a rule, only ram lambs are pelted. All but the very poor quality ewe lambs are kept for breeding.

Afghanistan is a mountainous country, having large expanses of desert and steppe. The Karakul sheep flocks are located almost entirely north of the Hindu Kush range of mountains where spring range conditions are invariably good and summer range conditions also favorable. The greatest sheep losses are due to lack of winter pasture and of supplemental feed during the severe period from January to March. An FAO Technical Assistance officer has devised ways of collecting for winter use the many hundreds of tons of camel thorn and grasses left ungrazed on the spring and summer pastures. He has also laid out experimental plots of 15 varieties of grasses which may prove to be adaptable to the northern steppe region of the country, and might then be used for general range reseeding.


· A recent Forest Products Newsletter of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization points out that resources available today do not allow production to be restricted to timber free from every real or imaginary blemish. The sawmiller has to ensure the maximum yield of industrially' usable timber sort it with regard to the requirements for different purposes, and offer it for sale in the respective qualities in the proportions in which these can be produced. While customers ask only for faultless timber irrespective of service requirements, the demand for this sort of timber will quickly overtake supply and the disposal of other sorts will be hindered. It is necessary for the consumer as well as the sawmiller to recognize that certain characteristics in mill run timber are not detrimental in certain uses.

Timber is graded from considerations of either appearance or strength.

The appearance is most important m furniture, fittings, moldings, floors, doors, windows, and other items which are on display. Even in these uses, however, all timber is not finished with a clear coating. Some furniture, moldings, doors, etc., are painted. Large areas of floors are covered with linoleum or carpet and in other circumstances other opaque coverings may be applied. It is wasteful to meet the cost of eliminating minor blemishes which may detract from the appearance of timber finished in the clear and then utilize that timber under some screening material. It would be more economical to estimate what pieces or areas are to be finished in the clear what are to have some covering, and then to order requirements accordingly. If the supplier knows these requirements, he can make available for covered use material containing imperfections which will not lower the quality of the finished job any more than an imperfection permissible in the highest grade will detrimentally affect the clear finish. A dissection of the order in this way can assist the production of both grades, expedite delivery, and effect economy. For these reasons the sawmilling industry offers dressing quality timber in select grade suitable for clear finishing and standard grade suitable for covering.

When, strength is the basis of grading, appearance is of minor importance. A timber component for a structural frame with appearance marred by small defects, which do not reduce its strength or the resistance to deflection, will be just as suitable for that use as a piece in absolutely unblemished. condition. Supply of the latter for framework only reduces the quantity available for the furniture or joinery trade and prevents scarce material from being used to advantage.


· The Burmese Forester reports that on 27 June 1954 Burma for the first time celebrated a "World Festival of Trees" day. Saplings and seeds of various species, ranging from flowering shrubs to trees of commercial value, were planted throughout the country to mark the occasion, which was sponsored by the Agricultural and Rural Development Corporation. At Rangoon, the ceremony opened early in the morning with recitations from the Buddhist Scriptures, followed by speeches by the Prime Minister and high-ranking civil and military officials and then by the planting of trees. A large gathering of people attended.


· An economic survey, carried out on farm woodlots in the Province of Ontario, covered 162 farms averaging 242 acres (97 ha.) a considerably larger size than the average Ontario farm. It is computed that, on each farm, an average of 30 percent or 29 hectares consists of woodland, in which maples are generally well represented. The average capital investment per farm is $ 22,974 and the average woodlot is valued at $ 1,437 or 6 percent. The average annual cash income derived from a woodlot, taking into account both the products used on the farm and those sold outside, is estimated at $ 500, of which lumber accounts for 40 percent, maple syrup 13 percent, and fuelwood, poles, posts, etc. for the rest. This income represents 4 percent of the total farm income.

Providing employment particularly during agricultural off-seasons, labor is the largest single item of expense in woodland operations involving on an average 294 hours of labor annually (excluding the harvesting of maple syrup). Most products are sold on an "at the farm" basis. However a fairly large proportion of timber is sold on a "delivered at the mill" basis, although some farmers sell only on the stump.

For the five-year period from 19461950 the average cut was 27 cubic feet of wood per acre (2 m3 per ha.) annually. This compares with an estimate by the Ontario Royal Commission on Forestry, reporting in 1947 on farm woodlots, that if sound silvicultural methods were employed, a sustained yield of 36 cubic feet (2.7 m3 per ha.) could be obtained at 30 years of age, rising to 48 cubic feet (3.6 m3 per ha.) at about 76 years.

The survey brings out the interesting point that more than half the farm woodlots investigated were grazed, at least partially. The average annual timber income was $ 10.20 per acre ($ 25 per ha.) from ungrazed woodlots, and only $ 5.62 per acre ($ 14 per ha.) from grazed forests. It should be noted, however, that the farms in question get most of their income from livestock production, the returns from this source, including the sale of dairy products, representing on an average 85 percent of total income.

· A study of an unexploited forest of white spruce (Picea glauca) and balsam fir (Abies balsamea) in Ontario, issued by the Division of Forest Biology of the Department of Agriculture, indicated that the current outbreak of spruce budworm, which has now lasted for about ten-years, is a recurrence of a similar outbreak of about 85 years ago. It is known that mature or flowering balsam fir provide conditions favorable to increasing-populations of the budworm, and thus to the initiation and spread of epidemics.

It has been concluded that during the earlier epidemic, mature balsam fir was substantially wiped out over the area, but that seedlings were not affected. Now that they have grown to maturity, they provide a base for a renewed epidemic. Timber surveys in the area, one in 1926 and another in 1948, showed that during this brief period spruce decreased by 12 percent and balsam fir increased by 337 percent in volume.

The general conclusion is that changes in the forest composition and the recurrence of spruce budworm outbreaks are phases in a natural cycle of events associated with the maturing of balsam fir.


· Established in 1941, a factory at, Buenaventura is producing high quality tanning extract from mangrove bark. After the trees have been felled, the bark is peeled off by axe and transported to the mill site in pieces about 20 x 150 centimeters. Bark thickness varies from 15 to 25 millimeters, and one tree gives about 500 to 1,200 kilograms of bark (green weight). The best bark contains about 16 percent tannin (on weight of green bark).


· The Central Association of Finnish Woodworking Industries published in 1954 a bulletin entitled Analysis of Time Study Materials of Some Forest Jobs by Jaakko Vöry (in Finnish, with an English summary). Systematic work studies in forestry have for a long time been carried out to help establish wage rates for piecework. The factors affecting a forest worker's output are many and continually changing, thus introducing problems which do not occur in other fields of work. Investigations must be confined to measurements of working time, i.e. time studies.

Although research in. this field began only relatively recently, it is today being extended in many countries which have an important forest industry. Time study observation series in the forest cannot in general be as precise as industrial work studies,- which raises questions as to the validity of the conclusions, and as to the extent to which data obtained by different investigators have generally application. It was with this in mind that the author made time studies in Scandinavian countries on some typical phases of manual forest work. His findings give 8 fairly clear picture of the possible comparability of the times required for the performance of the various phases, and valuable information on the best way to treat time study material.


· It is claimed that wood is still the cheapest fuel to use in France, especially for cooking. The heat value of 1 kilogram of dry wood (4,110 calories) is equivalent to 0.548 kilogram of coal, 0.934 cubic meters of piped gas, 0.349 kilogram of bottled gas, and 0.777 kilowatt of electricity. On this basis, 4 francs (1 cent) worth of wood, at 4,000 francs per ton, will produce as much heat as 7.67 francs (2 cents) worth of coal, 28 francs (8 cents) of gas, 33.60 francs (10 cents) of butane or 119 francs (36 cents) worth of electricity.

· An important new forest law, which came into effect in December 1954, provides for the grouping of scattered private forests or land destined for afforestation with a view to facilitating proper management, silviculture, protection and planting, and overcoming the defects of fragmented ownership of forest land. Under the law, "forest groups" can be formed whose members whether individuals or corporate bodies - are exempt from taxation on property which they bring into the group, except in the case of business or industrial concerns for which, however, taxation is fixed at a low rate. Forest owners associations already in being may become "groups". In the case of joint ownerships of properties, the owner or owners holding at least two-thirds of the value of the property can terminate-any existing agreement if a "forest group" is created in its place.

An earlier law provided for the establishment of "afforestation sectors" of uncultivated land by the Ministry of Agriculture. Under the new law, owners of land included in such a sector can be required to enter into a "forest association" if they do not wish to form a "group". The law also simplifies the procedure whereby the State may compulsorily acquire neglected properties. If such land falls within an "afforestation sector", supervision may be handed over to the local "Commune" provided the latter will join a "forest group".


· In addition to their normal system of nutrition through photosynthesis, a considerable number of plant species in particular forest trees, are able to absorb carbohydrates and proteins direct from the humus, i.e. from organic material. This process, called mycotrophy, is carried out with the help of filamenteous fungi living as symbionts on the roots of their host plants. A-few plant species depend exclusively on these fungi for nutrition-, lacking the requisite organs for autotrophy (i.e. the chloroplasts of the leaves and the hairy roots). The importance of these fungi are discussed in a publication entitled Die Bedeutung der Fadenpilze als Symhzaten der Pflanzer für die Waldkultur (R. and M. Falck, Sauerländert's Verlag, Frankfurt-am-Main, 1954).

The study of mycorrhiza and mycotrophy has in recent years been given increasing attention, and may have an important influence on modern silviculture, in particular as regards methods of inducing good natural regeneration, increasing growth, and afforesting poor, arid soils such as savannas and steppes. In this latter connection intensive mycorrhiza research is reported from the U.S.S.R.

In the study in question, the authors deal with the various forms and functions of mycotrophy in forest vegetation, based mainly on studies made in (Georgia, U.S.A.


· Military installations and expanded home building require the import of large quantities of lumber. It is likely that such imports will be increased as it becomes necessary to replace thousands of war-time, temporary buildings and to house a rapidly increasing population. All good timber stands on the island have been cut and the areas have largely been taken over by nontimber trees. There is hardly a good stand of Intsia bijuga left; and the remaining Calophylum inophylum, Claoxylon marianum, and Artocarpus incisus trees are largely crooked and heavily limbed. There are small areas of good Tectona grandis on the island. It is improbable that sufficient amounts of high quality timber will ever be produced on Guam to affect the need for imports.


· The forest area of Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) is estimated at 41.5 million hectares. Out of this about 13 million hectares are true primary forest, of which only about 5 million hectares are accessible at the present time. The remaining forest area includes the coastal swamp forests, the little known scrub forests of Central Kalimantan (Kutai) and the secondary forests, partly destroy ed by shifting cultivation, with rather poor natural regeneration. In those places where shifting cultivation has been practiced too long, making natural tree regeneration impossible, big alang-alang prairies have replaced the forests.

An FAO Technical Assistance Officer writes that the Kalimantan rain forests and those of Equatorial West Africa are very similar in appearance to the extent that a forester, brought unawares from Gaboon to the Dipterocarpus forests of East Kalimantan, would find the same swamps and jungles, the same hilly, uneven ground, the same multitude of timber species of all age classes, the same buttress roots, bark colors and stern shapes, and only a closer botanical examination would show him that he was not in Gaboon.

The exact area of the various forest types is not yet known but will be assessed by aerial survey within the next few years. Of the several hundred timber species occurring, only about a dozen are exploited at the present time as so-called "commercial timber". They are classed by their durability, the most durable species ranking as first class.

Controlled timber production in 1953 is reported to have been 112,000 cubic meters, all of it produced by manual labor employed by contractors. Unchecked timber production which escapes any control by the Forest Service, is estimated at about 300,000 cubic meters a year, including forest destruction by shifting cultivation.

The bulk of the rich accessible rain forest of 5 million hectares stretches from the east coast to the mountain range of Central Kalimantan, where timber extraction has been going on for a long time on the banks of the Mahakam (Kutai) river and its effluents. Strip timber cruisings along the Segoj and Senjur rivers two tributaries of the Mahakam river report total timber volumes per hectare as high as 300 to 400 cubic meters' with 10 to 50 percent commercial timber species. The volume of commercial timber per hectare assessed by 100 percent surveys in 1953 and 1954, and checked by the FAO Technical Assistance officer in the Mahakam river region, varies between 30 cubic meters and 150 cubic meters for timber of 45 cm. d.b.h. and upwards.

The Agathis forest area of the Sampit River region in South Kalimantan s estimated at about 25,000 hectares. In contrast to the extraordinary increment of 20 to 25 cubic meters per hectare of the Agathis plantations at Mount Slamet, Central Java the natural coniferous forests of South Kalimantan' stand on soft, poor, acid soils of swamp borders and appear to have an increment of one cubic meter per hectare. The purest stands contain up to 20 to 25 percent hardwoods. Exploited since 1949 at the rate of 200 cubic meters a day by a joint government and privately owned enterprise, the cut-over area is covered two or three years after logging with a very thick natural Agathis regeneration of 50 to 60 small trees per square meter, which suggests that the management task will be limited to thinning and improvement fellings.


· A bulletin of the Forest Experiment Station is devoted to an economic study of a mountain village in the Fukushima region. The village, part of whose land is absorbed into a national forest, is divided by two conflicted claims It was formerly well-known as a horse-breeding center, and even today the remaining horse-breeders are anxious to keep large areas of the national forest for grazing. However, charcoal production from coppice has been steadily increasing owing to improved communications to consumer markets. While the past limited to local needs charcoal production now provides the farm population with additional income, as well as employment in the "dead" season. The enquiry has shown that the income per surface unit from land given over to coppice far exceeds that from grazing. Farmers are therefore advised to change from breeding horses to cows, which can be stall-fed with B consequent saving of grazing land while it is recommended that the policy should be to increase the area under coppice for producing remunerative charcoal.


· The first Arbor Day was celebrated in Amman, the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on 15 January 1949, when the ceremony took place in the yard of El-Husain College under the patronage of the late King Abdullah. The day became a national holiday. The seventh Arbor Day was celebrated on 15 January 1966, on an unprecedented scale throughout the country. The opening ceremony in Amman took place in the grounds of a new hospital. The ceremony started with a Koran reading according to tradition. The Director of Forests gave a speech emphasizing the importance of forests in the nation's life and encouraged the people to plant trees. The first tree was planted by the Minister of Economy in the name' of King Hussein and the Government of Jordan. Altogether, 15,000 seedlings of Aleppo pine and cypress were planted in the grounds of the hospital. Seedlings were distributed by the Forest Department to be planted in all centers of celebration throughout the kingdom.


· A recent decree created 39 new posts of brigadiers and forest guards an increase of 45 percent in the effective strength of the Forest Service. At the same time the latter was raised in status from a Service to a Direction The staff have since the beginning of the year been issued with military-type uniforms and a distinctive badge of a silver cedar on a green background. These measures are indicative of the Government's intention to preserve and develop the country's forests on a systematic basis.


· The Pan-American Highway which traverses Mexico from north to south, from Ciudad Juarez to El Ocotal, passes not only through the largest towns of Mexico but also through undeveloped regions possessing extremely varied-natural resources Vida silvestre y recursos naturales a lo largo de la carretera panamericana (edited by Enrique Beltran and published by the Instituto Mexicano de Recursos Naturales Renovables A.C.) describes. these regions from: ecological and geographical standpoints and enumerates the various kinds of natural resources to be found: plants, forests and national parks, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals and wildlife.

The last chapter deals interestingly with the effect of the highway on conservation and the scientific utilization of natural resources. The effects of such a highway on the living conditions of the local populations of the areas through which it passes are too often overlooked. Interest is focussed on engineering problems, tourist needs, and providing the speediest transport links between important centers. But, at marry points, the highway can also contribute to the transformation of the local agricultural economy. In forested areas, for example, exploitation is now an economic proposition, But if such changes are not governed by sound planning, there is grave danger that the natural resources thus opened up may be exploited to exhaustion.


· The long awaited (Forestry Board) was established by royal decree in 1954. This Board is a public body which has the legal powers to enact decrees and which has control of the State forests, and of all forestry enterprises, irrespective of size or title. There are 14 members of the Board, of whom seven represent "employers" organizations (one for State forests, one for municipal forests, and five for privately owned forests) and seven the recognized "employees" organizations (the three agricultural workers' unions to which forest workers belong).

The Board's regulating powers include the following:

1. the growing of forest crops and the production of forest products;

2. storage and processing of forest products;

3. management of forest estates;,

4. standardization of timber commodities;

5. recruitment, dismissal, wages and working conditions of forest employees, other than government personnel;

6. inspection and registration of forestry enterprises.

The Government may only withhold approval of the Board's regulations on the grounds of conflict with the general interest or with the law. Clearly, the Board will greatly influence future forest policy and legislation in the Netherlands.

New Guinea

· A major development in Australian New Guinea has been the establishment of the plywood factory at Bulolo, which commenced operations in January 1954 and id now producing substantial quantities of first class plywood, the bulk of which is being exported to America and Australia.

Large building demands in the Territory have forced up sawn timber production. Annual cut of logs now exceeds 30,000,000 super feet (136,000 cubic meters) but it is still necessary to import small quantities of sawn material. Measures are in hand for the establishment of further sawmilling operations to obviate this.

There has been a definite striving, particularly by operators in the coniferous stands of the Goldfield area, to extract the maximum recovery from their exceptional raw material by seeking out markets for small dimension stock. Substantial quantities of flitches have been exported to Australia for the production of battery separator veneer.

The range of species acceptable to the trade is constantly widening as they come within the logging range of the sawmills. Research work by the Division of Forest Products (C.S.I.R.O.) is constantly assisting this trend.

· In Netherlands New Guinea the two government sawmills at Sorong and in Hollandia, as well as the privately-owned sawmills at Manokwari and Hollandia, produce mainly assortments of standard measurements. North Borneo grading rules are applied as much as possible to round logs, and the Malayan grading rules to sawn-timber. Production of sawn-timber still does not meet local demands.

There have been successful exports of hewn iron-wood baulks (Intsia bijuga) to South Africa, as well as consignments of hardwood logs (Intsia bijuga and Pometia pinnata) to the Netherlands.

Copal (resin of Agathis labillardieri) is mainly shipped to the Netherlands.

Approximate trade figures for 1953 are:

Home production of sawn-timber squares and logs 9,100 cubic meters

Import of sawn timber 2,000 cubic meters

Export of squares and logs 980 cubic meters

Export of copal. 564 tons

New Zealand

· In the South Island, the forests of podocarps and other conifers, most characteristic of which is the rimu (Dacrydium cupressinum), do not regenerate naturally except with great difficulty and under very special conditions. They are being replaced either by scrub or by species of Nothofagus.

"Forest and Climate m the South Island of New Zealand" by J. T. Holloway (reprinted from the Transactions of the Royal Society of New Zealand, Vol.. 82, Part 2, September 1954) attempts to explain the seeming state of disequilibrium or maladjustment to present climatic conditions of the natural forests. The author produces the hypothesis that the whole of the island's vegetation is at present in a state of dynamic evolution set in motion by climatic changes which took place about the 13th century A.D. These changes consisted in a perceptible cooling of the climate, which lowered the limit of occurrence of Nothofagus, whose habitat was previously in the upper areas of the western mountains. This was accompanied by a decrease m rainfall, favoring the extension of tussock grasslands.

The South Island of New Zealand is particularly suited to the study of climatic changes - and their biological consequences, due to its geographical situation; the variety of regional climates; the absence, until the advent of the first white settlers, of a human agency of importance affecting the forests as a whole, and the absence of mammals; the longevity of most podocarp species; and the peculiar mode of propagation of Nothofagus (seed carried by water courses), which makes it easy to trace its migration pattern.

· Further attention has been paid to the grading of Pious radiate. The two grades for framing have been renamed No. 1 framing and No. 2 framing, and are now widely accepted throughout the country, provided that the durability factor is taken care of by preservation, where required. For some building components subject to bending stresses, the depth has been increased slightly as compared with that employed previously with rimu. A "factory" grade is now included among standard grades and is very popular in both the domestic and Australian markets for cutting purposes (furniture, joinery and miscellaneous wooden-ware). The quality of the timber cut from the clear lengths is now recognized as very good from points of view of machining and finishing. Intermediate between "dressing" grade and "boxing" grade is a new grade called "merchantable" suitable for rough work as full length pieces or for cutting purposes of a cheaper nature than those for which "factory" grade is used.

To meet current deficiencies in supply of native softwood timbers for finishing purposes (a use for which the exotic softwoods have only a limited application at present because of the inherent defects), increasing use is being made of native hardwoods! especially the beech timbers and tawa. Tentative grades drawn up for the three most important beech specie generally follow the pattern of ruler laid down for rimu in the National Grading Rules, New Zealand Stan card. Specification No. 169. Already the grades in use for tawa has led to its being widely accepted for flooring and interior woodwork. It is anticipated that the exotic softwoods will be of sufficiently good grade to meet many of the needs for finishing timbers

The National Grading Rules for building timbers were formulated at a time when use, full length, of clear boards was considered the logical procedure in building for all finishing purposes. There is a need for revision of this approach to make more use, especially in flooring, of shorter clear lengths available from lower grades. These could logically be considered for end-matched flooring, and eventually the native timbers of high quality would more logically be used for a finish flooring over an exotic pine sub-floor. This is the general trend of thought today.


· An important area of coniferous forest is situated in the northwestern mountainous region of the country, at elevations over 600 meters above sea level. The total area is supposed to be about 170,000 hectares, mainly consisting of Pinus oocarpa, and the forests show much resemblance to adjacent areas in Honduras. The average volume per hectare does not exceed 50-100 cubic meters and the forest is much subject to fire and erosion.

The rest of the pine forest area is almost completely concentrated in the northeastern part of the Atlantic coastal area, roughly between the Rio Grande and the Río Coco. Available data indicate an area of 670,000 hectares but from an air reconnaissance flight, a FAO Technical Assistance officer assumes the actual area to be bigger. The pines occur mostly in pockets of varying size. Close to the Río Coco, the pine forest appears to extend over considerable areas and to be of good quality. On the whole, however, forests, consisting of Pinus caribea, are in poor shape, not exceeding 15 cubic meters per hectare as an average volume. The whole area is burned over every year, and in many places even three times a year. Natural regeneration, although very promising in many parts, cannot get established, and the trees left over after exploitation or which survive after many years of burning, are of poor shape, showing big holes from fire damage and attacks from white ants (comejenes).

There are two extensive broadleaved forest areas, mostly evergreens with some areas of deciduous species, the first area being mainly situated on the northwestern hill slopes and adjacent plain regions towards the Atlantic Ocean; the other on the opposite mountain slopes and some plain areas towards the Pacific Ocean. A big part of the existing forest area of the country is still quite inaccessible owing to lack of roads, but this could quite easily be rectified. A road connection between the Pacific and Atlantic coast areas would open a considerable part of the broadleaved forests, while the pine forest areas of the Atlantic coastal area part do not offer any particular road-construction difficulties. A road system of about 400 kilometers has already been constructed here by a commercial timber corporation and there is a very good road between Puerto Cabezas and the Río Coco (160 km.). This company spends about U.S. $2.85 on road building for every 1,000 board feet of sawn lumber produced.

Road construction in the mountainous northern part of the country is much more expensive. Nevertheless existing sawmill companies have constructed a good system of roads, transporting the lumber to Managua sometimes over distances of more than 200 kilometers.


· A recent issue of the Boletin de la Facultad de Ingeniería Forestal, Universidad de los Andes, Merida, Venezuela, is devoted to a report on the forest resources of Peru. It has much to say on the introduction and cultivation of Eucalyptus globulus in the Sierras which has been a complete success. The ease with which it can be grown, its hardiness and the rapidity with which it puts on volume have made it possible to alleviate the scarcity of firewood and timber in the inter-Andean valleys which have long been almost denuded of trees. The eucalypt has provided not only local supplies but also furnishes a readily accessible source of timber for the mining industry. The high prices offered by the mines have encouraged private enterprise to plant industrial forests without government loans.

Fears that good agricultural land might be taken for the plantations have proved unfounded, and the eucalypts are generally planted on marginal lands where, on account of the high altitude, coldness of the climate or poor quality of the soil, they are economically more profitable and give better yields than agricultural crops. Except as windbreaks and boundary lines, they do not seem to have been planted on areas suited to intensive agriculture.

Puerto Rico

· The Tropical Forest Research Center is just completing the establishment of a laboratory for making machining and other simple physical tests on local woods. The present research program contemplates the testing of 50 species during this year. The tests include specific gravity drying time and characteristics, planing, sanding, boring, mortising, turning, bending, resistance to splitting, nail holding, gluing, and finishing. In addition, local woods are to be tested by fabricating a number of items from them, such as containers.

Ryukyu Islands

· The silvicultural practices of greatest present significance are those adhered to in the management of private and community forests. In the main, these are empirical methods handed down from generation to generation, or adaptations of the methods of long-departed leaders. Inhabitants of individual islands, or of island groups, revere their own sages and call them to mind to provide inspiration during Arbor Week and other community activities in forestry. Among them, the man generally acknowledged as having done most is Saion, an early eighteenth-century prime minister, exceptional both for creating a lasting foundation of policy and practice and for preserving its essential features in writing.

In assessing the forest situation in 1738, he wrote:

"The reason why the wooded mountains have lost their prosperity and appear as they are now is due to lack of knowledge of the mountain conditions, as a result of which the closely embraced and protected entrances are opened deliberately by burning and felling trees, thereby allowing the mountain atmosphere to escape until the trees of the interior are damaged; this is one of the reasons. Owing to lack of knowledge of methods to foster and develop the wooded mountains on the part of those entering the mountains, trees are left uncared for and this provides the background for the decline of these mountains; this is another reason. The reckless overrating of farming induced the people to burn forest, this is the third reason. As it is impossible for this country not to build ships and not to build and repair the royal palaces with large timber, in spite of the fact that the wooded mountains are getting worse, it will therefore be necessary to order large timber from outside the country. If this is the case, we must pay the price for the timber and its transportation charge, and this in turn will cause us to order the farmers to pay money and rice to meet the purpose. But by so doing, everyone in the country will surely be financially distressed. As the situation stands like this, the wooded mountains must be preserved with care and energy...."


· A report of the Forests Department gives a too familiar picture of the results of the high demand for wood fuel around Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. Railed firewood coming from southern districts was inadequate and supplies were. augmented by the cutting of dead scrub from the regions lying northeast of Khartoum and northwest of Omdurman. Many permits were granted to owners of private land on the Blue Nile and the main Nile to clear their land of trees for sale in the local markets. Local Arabs were engaged in bringing dead scrub into the towns from as far away as 70 mires (113 km.), in some cases bringing the wood to collecting centers on the main Nile banks whence it was transported to Omdurman by boat. As a consequence of this heavy demand for firewood, all forestry staff around the towns were kept bury preventing the illicit cutting of green wood.

The report also gives another side of the picture. Although, it states, the usual opposition to the reservation of land for central forest reserves was encountered, local councils proved more amenable in the matter of provincial reserves. Fuel and pole plots established in 1948 have been such a success that the local inhabitants are eager to buy and have asked for plantations to be extended. This is the first time in the history of the particular Forest Division that a request has been made for the Forests Department to take over and plant up land.


· An article in the journal of the Swiss builders and wood workers suggests that only the oldest among its readers can still remember the days when streets and bridges - even in the big towns - were paved with wood. Nevertheless wooden paving is gradually returning to the market and making a place for itself in a specialized branch, as flooring in places where it cannot be competed with by other materials - industrial buildings such as workshops, machine shops, rolling mills, iron-works, automobile factories, railway workshops, warehouses, hangars, and also in stables, sports buildings and gymnasiums.

The properties that have made such a come-back possible are that wood paving is elastic, warm under foot deadens sound and vibration, is light in weight - and can therefore also be used for upper floors - and maintains a dull non-slip surface for an unlimited period of time. After working for many hours on wood paving floors, workers do not evince signs of tiredness in the same way as when they have to stand on concrete or stone.

Wooden paving blocks are made from home-grown timber, usually cut to a measurement of 8 centimeters across and 6 to 10 centimeters deep. They are impregnated in the same way as railway sleepers and last practically indefinitely. As they are cut from "waste" that - cannot usually be used for any other purpose, it is also very much in the interest of forestry that wood paving should regain a position in the market.


· An FAO Technical Assistance officer reports that a new headquarters in Ankara, is being prepared for the Forest Research Institute of Turkey. It is hoped that it will be ready for occupation in 1955.

During the past year, experiments - the first of their kind in Turkey - have been made on improving open range land and the results are very encouraging. Not only has the production of milk per animal increased as a result of the improved range forage but, even with fewer animals, the production of milk per hectare is higher. It is becoming more widely recognized that forest grazing, although not always compatible with forestry, has many possibilities if properly managed, and that in many instances such dual use of the forest is an advantage.

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

· A paper presented at the Fourth World Forestry congress contained some interesting information about experiments in sand-dune afforestation in Latvia. Afforestation of the 7,900 hectares of moving dunes, started in 1830, is now virtually completed, but certain problems still remain to be solved.

With the exception of grasses such as Elymus arenarius and Ammophila arenaria or shrubs such as Betula verrucosa, Alnus glutinosa and in particular Salix purpurea, the only forest species that appear capable of growing in ground which is so low m calcareous and humus content are Pinus silvestris, P. banksiana and, of less interest, P. montana. It would seem that the potassium, phosphorous and moisture content of the soil is sufficient for the growing of pines, but they spread their root systems over a very wide area to obtain sufficient moisture. For some reason the roots do not penetrate deep into the ground to levels where there is more adequate moisture. The problem of maintaining an adequate moisture supply near the surface has been overcome by placing a layer of turf (5 centimeters thick) or of branches (10 centimeters thick) at a depth of 40 centimeters in the furrows prepared for planting out young trees.

While planting with broadleaved species alone did not appear feasible without soil preparation, good results were obtained by mixing conifers with broadleaved species, in particular with Alnus glutinosa and A. incana which not only gave a high percentage of successful plantings but also improved the rate of growth for the first 10 or 16 years. The most desirable spacing of trees to produce speedily a good canopy has not yet been determined.

United Kingdom

· For many months, the Timber Trade Federation had been urging the Government to grant facilities for the reopening of trade in hardwoods from the dollar area which, over a long period, used to be restricted to specialties unobtainable from other sources. The Board of Trade has now established a quota at the annual rate of £.3 million f.o.b. ($8.4 million) for the import of general purpose hardwoods from the dollar countries. The quota will be allocated in two half-yearly instalments to hardwood-using firms and hardwood importers, individual shares being determined on the basis of usage and imports in a specified period.

The sum will go some way towards reviving what was in pre-war days a flourishing branch of the hardwood trade. Uniformly graded and well-prepared hardwoods from the United States are firm favorites among industrial users, especially furniture manufacturers. Canadian timbers, notably birch and maple, also rank among species of high utility value. The London Times thinks that freer importation from the dollar area as a whole will contribute to the stabilization of world hardwood prices.

· Experiments in Tree Planting on Peat is the subject of Forestry Commission Bulletin No. 22.

There is no greater potential field for the expansion of forestry in Great Britain than the peat-covered hills and moorlands of the north and west. Private landowners made various attempts to establish plantations of conifers on these lands before the first world war which were largely unsuccessful but, with the setting-up of the Forestry Commission after that war, renewed-attention was given to this problem

This bulletin evaluates results of experiments to date, including the classification of the peat lands, the vegetation type supported by the peat and the exposure class - that is, slope, aspect and relative elevation of the ground. The success or failure of both experimental and large-scale plantings are found to conform to these basic classifications, modified of course by method of site preparation.

Early experiments showed that special steps in ground preparation were essential. Plowing and surfing, both for drainage and to prepare for setting plants with their roots spread below the turf, with furrows at about five-foot (1.5 m.) intervals are the accepted practice. Although some differences in ground preparation have been found advisable on the different vegetation and turf types, it has not yet been determined how much additional surfing and drainage is economically desirable.

The species used most extensively have been Scots pine, Japanese larch, and Norway and Sitka spruces, while contorta pine and hybrid larch have been used less extensively. For each of the main species, reasonably sound conclusions can be drawn as to adaptability to the different types and methods of ground preparation. Experiments in mixed plantings have been made but it is not yet possible to draw firm conclusions in this field. On poorer peats, manuring with phosphate is now established practice.

The general conclusion is optimistic, for successful establishment of plantations is now being obtained far beyond earlier experience. It is a humbling thought, however, that after 30 years of careful experiments, another 20 years of observation of trial plantations is considered necessary before safe conclusions can be drawn as a guide to general practice.

United States of America

· On 1 February 1955, the Forest Service of the Federal Department of Agriculture initiated the celebration of its 50th or Golden Anniversary Year. It is planned to use this occasion as an opportunity to reemphasize to the American people:

1. the consequences of their determined action to set up and maintain the Forest Service and the National Forests;

2. the progress made in forestry both on public and private lands, and by various agencies during the half century;

3. the many essential goods and services obtainable from managed forest lands and the dependence of the people and economy on them;

4. the greater progress needed in the future and the various steps necessary to accomplish the goal envisaged.

It is expected that forest officers everywhere will take part in these endeavors, together with all others directly concerned with forestry and with citizens whose loyal and understanding support has carried the Forest Service through many times of adversity.

One event in the celebration of the Anniversary was a formal dinner given on 4 February in Washington, D,C,. by the Society of American Foresters and the American Forestry Association, attended by 500 friends of the United States Forest Service. An honored guest at the dinner was Mrs. Gifford Pinchot, widow of the first chief of the Forest Service.

· The American Forestry Association, whose membership includes many leading figures in forestry and the timber industries, last year submitted to ballot an important program for American forestry which was approved by 93 percent of the members who voted.

The program is a real statement of forest policy which the Association pledges to support. While reaffirming its attachment to the system of in federal and state forests, the program recommends the establishment of a joint committee, consisting of members of various Senate and House committees, whose objectives would be "to consider a desirable pattern for ownership of federal, state and private forest, range and other conservation lands", and to formulate policies for achieving this pattern. The Committee would receive reports on this subject drawn up by similar committees appointed by the governor of each state. The program recommends:

"development of state policies methods or laws by the people of each state to avoid unnecessary destruction for growing stock and young growth and to assure practices that will maintain continuous production on forest lands."

A small number of members were opposed to any type of public control, but others believed that some form of federal regulation is required.

Some members also voted against an article of the program recommending that "permits to graze livestock on public lands be considered a privilege and not a legal right," and against various sections relating to the public acquisition of forests in connection with protection and management of watershed areas, recreational forests and technical assistance to forest owners.

· A report issued by the Engineering Experiment Station of the Georgia Institute of Technology discusses the subject of bamboos as an industrial raw material taking into account their characteristics, properties, suitable localities for cultivation, their possible uses, and economics. A major difficulty still exists in the poorly organized nomenclature which, despite much work, is still far from satisfactory.

Uses for bamboo in the United States, though by no means as extensive as in Asia, are nevertheless numerous. The report concludes that full exploitation is conditioned upon:

1. setting up plantations of different species large enough to determine best and motet economical methods of production;

2. large-scale plantings of species suitable for pulp to provide supplies for experiments;

3. further study of the physical properties of different species to determine curing conditions and processes for each end use.

· Pentachlorophenol, copper naphthenate, zinc naphthenate, and a number of less common wood-preserveing chemicals often require dilution with some type of petroleum solvent before they are used. Such chemicals are prepared in concentrated form to avoid the necessity of shipping the diluent, which can be purchased locally.

Diluents recommended in the past have included fuel oil, kerosene Stoddard's solvent, and used crankcase oil - the latter, because test fence posts treated with toxic crankcase oil solutions have often shown better results than posts that were treated with solutions prepared from lighter oils. However, tests by the Illinois Agricultural Experiment Station in which crankcase oil was boiled to remove any water and low-boiling fractions and strained to remove gummy substances and particles of soil and metal, have proved it unsatisfactory as a diluent because of possible sludging and precipitation of toxicant (particularly with pentachlorophenol).

Veterinarians have also discovered that hyperkeratoris (X-disease) of cattle is caused by chlorinated naphthalenes, compounds that may be present in crankcase oil. Hence, in view of these factors, crankcase oil appears undesirable as a diluent for wood-preserving chemicals, particularly when wood is to be installed on the farm.

In a study The Effect of Synthetic Adhesives on the Strength and Physical Properties of Wood Veneer Laminates (Bulletin No. 60, Yale University School of Forestry, New Haven, Connecticut), designed to determine the extent to which the properties of wood veneer laminates are influenced by synthetic resin glue lines, the tensile and flexural strength and certain elastic properties were investigated for hot-pressed plywood and laminated wood constructed of yellow poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera L.) veneer. Six commercially important types of synthetic resin adhesive were used, and veneer thickness was varied from 1/10 to 1/60 inch (0.30.04 cm.) with sufficient sheets being used to form panels approximately 3/10 inch (0.75 cm.) in over-all thickness.

The study indicated that synthetic resin adhesives differ basically from impregnating resins in their influence on the wood component. Of the properties investigated fiber-stress at proportional limit in static bending was least influenced, whereas modulus of rupture and work to maximum load in static bending and ultimate tensile strength were improved to the greatest extent. Properties, however were not similarly influenced by ail adhesives nor were all influenced proportionately by any one adhesive.

The test results suggest that extensive cell-wall impregnation does not occur and that the influence of the laminating process may be largely attributed to:

1. veneer compression in the vicinity of the glue line;

2. deposits of polymerized adhesive in the porous structure of the veneer;

3. deposits of polymerized adhesive in the pits and torn areas of the cell wall thereby improving resistance to longitudinal shear.

It is indicated that the basic change in properties occurs largely in the area of the glue line.

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