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Selected reviews

WOODLAND MANAGEMENT. W. E. Hiley pp. 463. - Faber and Faber

Ltd. London. 1954. 63 shillings.

Starting from the premise that forestry has too long been regarded in the United Kingdom as an unremunerative operation, or at least of little interest to capital investors, the author sets out to show that, for the owner who makes the necessary investments and ensures proper management of his woodlands, as he would do for any other sound business, forestry can be made to pay In order to achieve this, all phases of forest management need to be critically examined, which the author does under the following headings:

1. the organization of a woodlands department, that is, supervision and control, management plans, contract work, labor and wages, equipment, extraction;

2 the production, felling and conversion of woodland products including problems relating to the measurement and sale of timber;

3. woodland maintenance, including natural regeneration, establishing plantations, choice of species and of silvicultural system;

4. woodland administration including regulation of yield, accounting and costing.

That forestry can be a paying concern is based on the assumption that the present remunerative prices for timber will not fall again to impossible levels. The author asserts that this assumption is justified.

"The days of cheap timber, mined from the virgin forests of the world, may be over, and foresters may look forward with some confidence to obtaining remunerative prices for the timber which they grow, but the present prices are higher than is necessary to encourage a healthy forest industry, and boom conditions nearly always lead to a recession in trade."

The chapter on the profitableness of forestry is particularly interesting. Based on the latest Forestry Commission yield tables for Scots pine, European larch, Japanese larch, Norway spruce, Sitka spruce and Douglas fir, the rates of interest which may be expected appear to vary between slightly over 1 percent and slightly over 7 percent, depending on the species, length of rotation and site quality.

The chapters dealing with legal restrictions on woodland management, state assistance to forest owners and taxation of woodlands will also be read with much interest, and the very great advantages which a landowner wishing to plant woodlands can enjoy in the United-Kingdom will be particularly noted. The final chapter on small estates will well bear study by all who are concerned with the problems involved in this class of property, both on the national and international level. Mr. Hiley examines the various means, including co-operative associations, which the owner of an area of woodland that cannot by itself constitute an independent economic unit, may use to secure for his property the benefit of sound management.

In brief besides the undoubted interest of this book for the private forest owner in the United Kingdom, many of the problems discussed and the solutions propounded are of common interest to foresters all over the world. Moreover, the book is written in clear and precise language which makes it particularly readable and persuasive.

A M. Woodbury. pp. 503. The Blakiston Co. Inc., Toronto and Country Life Press, Garden City,
New York. 1954. U.S.$6.00.

From the vast literature dealing with ecology the author has attempted to combine in a single volume the various findings to date on the subject. On the basis of the several accepted systems of classification, the author has divided the subject into:

1. Physical environment

(a) soil, water, air and its constituents;
(b) radiant energy;
(c) gravity and periodicities;
(d) climate;
(e) adaptation to the physical environment.

2. Biotic relations

(a) biotic communities and their development;
(b) community analysis and conditions of existence - energy, space, shelter, protection;
(c) food relations;
(d) reproduction and species persistence;
(e) population problems;
(f) evolution;
(g) biotic rhythms and migrations;
(h) historical distribution
(j) geographic distribution;
(k) consortism
(l) social relations;
(m) societies;
(n) ecology and human affairs..

Specialists in the field may object to the author's choice of examples and to the inclusion or omission of items in the bibliography. However, the book opens the way to a broad understanding of the complex of environment and its living creatures, as to why particular landscapes and communities exist, and to the effects of major interference with nature.

FORSTWIRTSCHAFTSPOLITIK. (Forest Policy). V. Fieterich. pp. 398. Paul Parey. Hamburg and Berlin. 1953. DM. 38.60.

A well-founded, national forest policy depends upon a sound understanding of the relationship between forests and people, and between forest economy and the national economy; it implies too, a sustained effort to balance the often conflicting claims on the forest by the various sectors of the economy

The author of this book, until recently head of the Institute of Forest Policy and Economics at Munich University, abandons the traditional attitude to the forest as being a source of raw material, for a broader one its role in man's development. He analyses the various complex functions of the forest and their influence on people in such fields as production, labor, income, property, protection, recreation, human welfare and ethics, and succeeds in presenting the forest in its true perspective to the life of men and nations and not merely as a source of commercial products.

DAS NATURLICHE WALDBILD EUROPAS (The Natural Forest Cover of Europe). K. Rubner and F. Reinhold. pp. 304. Paul Parey. Hamburg and Berlin. 1953. DM. 13.00.

Decades of experience in western Europe have shown that growing forests according to principles borrowed from agriculture, that is the production of generation after generation of uniform crops, entails grave dangers to the maintenance of soil fertility and growth rate. There are numerous examples where the raising of pure conifer plantations for centuries without consideration of the needs of the land has resulted in severe soil degradation and reduction of its productive capacity. The realization of this trend on many forest sites in western Europe has swung opinion against any kind of unnatural monoculture unless the effects on the soil are compensated by appropriate measures such as the use of soil fertilizers. The modern view is that silviculture must be based on a thorough knowledge of the original forest cover types of each particular site or region and must maintain any new forest cover in requilibrium with the site conditions.

The authors have undertaken the task of bringing together all available information on the natural forest cover of Europe and have followed the Braun-Blanquet classification system. The publication is divided into three parts: the first part classifies the climate and soil types of Europe, based on the duration of the tree growth period, i.e., the number of days per year with a mean temperature of above 10°C. The second part describes the natural forest regions of Europe; and the third, and shortest part, attempts to establish a basis for a consistent European silviculture.

PUBLIC POLICY TOWARD PRIVATE FOREST LAND IN SWEDEN NORWAY AND FINLAND R. E. Marsh. p. 80. The Charles Lathrop Pack Forestry Foundation. Washington 1954 $.1.00.

The present study undertaken at the request of the United States Forest Service is concerned with forest policy in regard to private forests and more particularly, to small woodlands or "farm forests". Its principal aim was to discover whether the methods used in Sweden, Norway Finland carried any lessons for conditions fin the United States.

In general the policies applied to farm forests am m many ways similar in all three counties as their economic and social conditions are also similar. they are well-wooded sparsely popped, with highly developed timber industries, where timber is of prime importance in the export tam. Private forests, and particular farm forests, are highly developed. The wood lot occupies a preponderant place in the economy of every in, al many farms would not be did to survive without it. It is not surprising that in these circumstances a profound feeling for the forest has taken root among the population, and that owners recognize and willingly accept State supervision of their operations which is accompanied, however, by effective assistance, especially from co-operative associations.

There are, however, some important differences, mainly of principle, due partly to the varied social development of the three countries and partly to the different effects of the last world war on each of them.

Much instructive information is given in the book on the legal definition of what constitutes "forest", on the laws bearing on forest clearing, the development of community forests, co-operatives and associations of private forest owners and their relationships with the agencies responsible for carrying out the forest law relating to private forests. Despite the progress made in the three countries, officials of the forest services who were consulted by the author stated that there was still much more to be done. Forestry practices on a large percentage of farm forests, mainly small woodlots, are still considered to be poor and a substantial increase in growth and yield is thought possible if proper silviculture and management can be applied.

URWALDPRAXIS (Virgin Forests). J. Frödhlich. pp. 200. Neumann Verlag. Radebeul and Berlin. 1954. DM. 12.50.

European foresters attempting to establish healthy forest crops are faced with problems arising from the fact that, in the course of the past 200 years, many of Europe's forests have been converted into uniform stands of species often unsuited to the site or produced from poor seed.

The best source of information on the biology of the individual tree species comprising these stands is of course the rapidly vanishing virgin forest. To provide such information the author has published his experiences and observations acquired in 40 years' practical work in the virgin forests of southeastern Europe and the Near East.

He first describes the stand composition and the main species found, showing that, contrary perhaps to general belief, the trees are distinctly heterogeneous in age and diameter, and the species are sometimes mixed sometimes uniform, depending on the site conditions. Natural regeneration of pure spruce forests has usually been fouled by experience to be practically impossible, but natural mixed spruce stands, particularly those containing a proportion of beech or other broadleaved species, lent themselves more readily to natural reproduction. The mixed virgin forests also appear to have been comparatively resistant to serious insect attacks.

METHODS OF SURVEYING AND MEASURING VEGETATION. D. Brown. pp. 223. Commonwealth Agricultural Bureaux Bulletin No. 42. commonwealth Bureau of Pastures and Field Crops. 1953. 35 shillings.

In many parts of the world, forest lands produce forage and are grazed. In some countries, research and surveys of the forage available for grazing have led to improved management and improvement of forest conditions, whereas in others grazing is a major problem to be solved before forestry can be successfully practiced. Since total exclusion of grazing from the forest may not always be the best solution, foresters may be confronted with the need to take an inventory of grazing resources and to sample the herbaceous vegetation within the forest as a first step toward improved management.

Since the wide variety of methods for appraising grassland vegetation makes it difficult for novice and expert alike to appreciate the advantages and disadvantages of each, this bulletin provides a valuable review of world literature on the subject, analyzing techniques on the basis of the experience in the field

After an introductory discussion of the broad vegetation types and the theory of sampling vegetation, the bulletin groups the various methods of measuring forage productivity and utilization on the basis of the job to be done. There is a valuable glossary of terms and limits of measurement used.

THE FLOOD CONTROL CONTROVERSY (Big Dams, Little Dams and Land Management). L. B. Leopold and T. Maddock Jr. pp. 278. Ronald Press Company. New York. 1954. U.S. $ 5.00.

This book, sponsored by the Conservation Foundation and written by two authorities on the subject, is not specially written for foresters but is designed to present the facts on methods of flood control used in the United States.

Two schools of thought have developed singe work in flood control began 25 to 30 years ago: one held by the Corps of Engineers that downstream structures such as reservoirs, levee systems and related structures in major river valleys are the more important, and the other held by the Department of Agriculture that land management and small upstream structures are most important.

The authors point Out that although existing legislation does not define adequately the responsibilities of each group, much of the controversy stems from an incomplete [understanding of the factors involved and the true place of each control method. Land management and vegetative cover are not sufficient in themselves to prevent or control floods, but they may reduce flood damage in three ways by:

1. promoting an increase in the volume of water retained in the soil;
2. increasing the rate of infiltration of water into the soil;
3. reducing erosion losses.

As watersheds increase in size and as the factors causing floods accumulate and become greater, however, land management and vegetative cover have progressively less effect in flood control It was realization of this fact that spurred the Department of Agriculture to construct small dams in the upper roaches of watersheds. It is these "little dams" versus the "big dams" which cause continuing controversy, abetted by the fact that watershed management for the conservation of soil and the improvement of productivity has become intermixed with the concept of flood control proper.

CONSERVATION LAW AND ADMINISTRATION. W. F. Schultz Jr. pp. 607. Ronald Press Company. New York. U.S. $ 10.00.

This-book, although entirely devoted to the State of Pennsylvania, is of value to all who are interested in legislation on conservation of natural resources. The complexity of the situation which is still further in creased by the federal character of the United States of America, is due to the fact that, "in Pennsylvania, are met practically all factors that have a major effect upon the use of natural resources."

Although efforts have been made to solve existing problems, these are inadequate for two reasons:

1. the excessive number and complexity of the State agencies charged with the conservation of natural resources, often with overlapping functions

2. the lack of public education for conservation.

Chapters are devoted to wildlife conservation, game and fishing laws, water conservation and management, forestry, sol] conservation and recreation with an analysis of the policies adopted and the relevant legislation implementing them and the administrative agencies responsible for seeing that they are observed.

The study, an outstanding contribution to the history of conservation, ends with a proposed model act to improve conservation administration operated by a special Department of Conservation.

DAS HOLZ (Timber). H. Knuchel. pp. 472. H. R. Sauerländer and Co., Aarau (Switzerland) and Frankfurt a/M (Germany). 1954. Sw. fr. 27.0 or DM. 27.0.

Research on wood and its properties and uses has made great advances in recent decades, and the present book sets out to inform the wood processing industries and the trade of the state of present knowledge.

It gives, in condensed form, an outcome of:

1. wood growth and morphology, wood properties (physical, mechanical, technical, commercial), wood irregularities and defects

2. wood utilization (wood working, engineering, wood chemistry, etc.)

3. directory of the commercially important wood species of the world.

This third and longest section contains as complete as possible a synopsis of the timbers of the world with concise descriptions of their essential properties.

The author, who recently retired from the Chair of Wood Technology at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, which he held for thirty years, has concentrated in this publication the knowledge and experience of a lifetime. Excellent alike in the completeness of its contents and the simplicity of its style, it is valuable for all concerned with wood and its utilization.

Another publication by the same author, Planning and Control in the Managed Forest (reviewed in Unasylva, Vol. V, No. 2, p. 94) has been issued in an English version, prepared by M. L. Anderson, and published by Oliver and Boyd, Edinburgh, price 35 shillings.

SOIL EROSION SURVEY OF LATIN AMERICA. Joint publication of the Conservation Foundation, New York, and FAO. Reprint from the July, September and November 1954 issues of the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. Available on request from the Conservation Foundation, 30 East 40th Street, New York 16, NY., U.S.A.

This publication is the result of a joint survey by the Conservation Foundation and FAO which had as its aim to review the causes and possible remedies of soil erosion in Latin America, with a view to stimulating individual nations of this vast region to study in greater detail the facts and implications of erosion within their borders. The survey was conducted by three prominent soil experts who prepared maps for Central America and the West Indies and for the northern and southern parts of South America, classifying the various degrees of soil erosion.

Although the distribution of severe erosion areas naturally depends on the physical conditions and essentially on land relief, it is closely related to changing human agency. There are indications that, in many places, accelerated soil erosion began long before settlement of the land-. by the white man, and was obtund by farming, particularly the growing of corn (maize), and was later aggravated by the introduction of livestock and failure to manage grazing lands properly.

The same causes are to be found in the mountainous parts of the north of South America, wit-in additional factors such as wind erosion and uncontrolled use of fire on range lands, in particular on thy altiplano of Bolivia and the pampas of Argentina. In Brazil, two further causes of accelerated erosion have affected a wide area, coffee and cotton growing; the former, since it is often grown under a system of shifting cultivation and the latter, because it has a tendency to provoke erosion on soils that are liable to it.

In Latin America as a whole, no effects to arrest soil erosion equal to the magnitude of the problem have yet been made, although valuable individual projects may be cited, especially in Venezuela and Mexico and in the State of São Paulo, Brazil which established the first soil conservation organization in. South America in 1939.

Commonwealth Forestry Bureau, Oxford England

This unit of the Commonwealth Agricultural Bureaux organization functions as a clearing house for information and research on every aspect of world forestry.

It does this mainly through its quarterly journal FORESTRY ABSTRACTS, supplemented by its more recent auxiliary, the Centralized Title Service, and through a series of leading articles and TECHNICAL COMMUNICATIONS summarizing the results of past research.


This presents the essence of current world literature extracted by an experienced permanent staff from publications in about 30 languages (over 550 periodicals, 700 serials and innumerable miscellaneous papers, books, etc.) and now totaling about 4,500 abstracts each year. Special features include: the abstracting at length of literature published in the more unfamiliar languages (e.g. Slav, Hungarian and Oriental languages); notices of the more important critical reviews; notices of translations into English; notices of new journals and serials, or of changes in their style; and notices of atlases, maps and patents. Each issue normally contains a leading article synthesizing authoritatively the literature on some particular subject and also salient items of world news. Annual subscription is £3 or $8.40 U.S.A. or Canada.


A quick-service postal auxiliary to the Abstracts, bringing to subscribers three to four times a month, exact copies of the index cards made from the world stream of forestry literature during the Bureau's day-to-day work. Full particulars and samples from:

The Director, Commonwealth Forestry Bureau, Oxford.


Containing a directory of publishing sources, analysis of an abstract notice, a key to abbreviations and many other aids, available in a trilingual edition (English, French, Spanish) for 5s. or $0.70, post free.


The last four in this series are:

Forest Tree Breeding and Genetics. R. H. Lichens (1945) (published jointly with the Commonwealth Bureau of Plant Breeding and Genetics)
... 5s. od.

The Use of Aerial Survey in Forestry and Agriculture. J. W. B. Sisam (1947)
(Published jointly with the Commonwealth Bureau of Pastures and Field Crops)
... 7s. 6d.

The Use and Misuse of Shrubs and Trees as Fodder (1947) (Published jointly with the Commonwealth Bureaux of Pastures and Field Crops and Animal Nutrition)
... 9s. 0d.

The Establishment of Vegetation on Industrial Waste Land R. O. Whyte and J. W. B. Sisam. (1949) (Published jointly with the Commonwealth Bureau of Pastures and Field Crops)
... 10s. 0d.
Under preparation are world studies on shelterbelts and on shifting cultivation.

Orders should be sent to:

Central Sales Branch, Commonwealth Agricultural Bureaux, Farnham Royal, Buckinghamshire, England.

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