The items appearing here are condensed from newsworthy material collected by FAO staff or submitted by correspondents. FAO assumes no responsibility for statements and statistics in items accepted in good faith from contributors.
· Forests cover about 1.1 million hectares, representing 41 percent of the total land area which is less than a hectare per head of population. Relatively, Albania has the largest extent of forest among central and southern European countries. One-fifth of the stands consist of conifers (predominantly pine and spruce), while oak and beech are the main hardwood species. Some half million hectares support high forest, the remaining 600,000 hectares being coppice and brushlands.
Due to the hilly and mountainous character of the country and to the fact that most forests occur in areas 900 meters above sea level, forest exploitation was in the past unevenly distributed. Easily accessible stands were heavily overcut while in other areas, especially in the north and northeast, difficulties of access prevented full use. By the end of the 'forties some 20,000 hectares had been clearcut and extensive areas deprived of timber of any commercial value.
All the forests of Albania were nationalized in 1944. At the beginning of the 'fifties rehabilitation work started. The 1949-50 two-year plan made some provision for afforestation and forest improvement, but work did not start in earnest until the period of the first five-year plan from 1951-1955. Priority in afforestation has been given to quick-growing species of conifers, eucalypts and poplars. Up to 1953, about 6,000 hectares had been afforested and more than 30,000 hectares of malarial swamps in coastal districts drained and partly afforested with eucalypts. Whereas in 1938 only four tree nurseries existed, today there are reported to be about 70, each averaging one hectare, and producing annually more than 16 million plants.
Forest grazing is widespread all over the country, there being more than 1.5 million sheep and over a million goats. The new forest administration is aware of the fact that in the past, goats have contributed very materially to deforestation and soil erosion, and an attempt is being made to regulate forest grazing.
Annual net growth of all forests (including coppice) is put at 3.8 million cubic meters, but in order to restore the productivity of the forests allowable out and fellings are kept below this figure. Annual fillings are estimated at about 3 million cubic meters, a fifth consisting of industrial wood. Due to the lack of adequate roads, mechanization is not far advanced and timber hauling is still mainly done by animals (oxen, horses buffaloes, asses and mules). The timber industry has been modernized the nationalized sawmills have increased their output from 30,000 cubic meters in the 'forties to about 100,000 cubic meters. With the help of foreign credits and deliveries of machinery, two modern dry-kilns, one plywood factory and one impregnation plant have been established, and production of parquetry and sliced veneers has been started in recent years.
Foreign trade is a state monopoly and is conducted by an import-export agency. Although no figures are available, it is reported that Albania has become a net exporter and is shipping abroad much oak and beech sawnwood, parquet flooring, veneer logs, veneers and charcoal.
· Interest in growing plantations of pino paraná has increased greatly in the past 15 years in the area contiguous to its natural habitat, the southern States of Brazil and the northeastern part of the Misiones Territory in Argentina. In the forests of the latter Territory, Araucaria angustifolia is spread over an area of about 400,000 hectares, of which about 25,000-30,000 hectares are well stocked with this species, in association with Ilex paraguariensis (Yerba maté). Scattered trees occur much further south which is attributed to the habit of a bird, the arraca azul (Cyanocorax chrysops), that gathers and buries seed which often subsequently germinates.
Ordinarily natural regeneration of pino paraná is difficult in Misiones because the ripe seed when it falls in April and May is eaten by wild and domestic animals, and is also collected by the local people who eat it roasted or boiled. Fire commonly kills off any young plants that succeed in establishing themselves.
Various private companies have embarked on making pino paraná plantations on a large scale and the Government is providing credit facilities to planters through the Banco de la Nación Argentina. It is also drawing up planting programs through the National Forests Administration, and has set up a special agency for this purpose at the General Manuel Belgrano Settlement in San Antonio where study is made of all problems relating to the successful planting of this species.
The silvicultural system adopted is clear-cutting followed by direct seeding, which is considered better than using plants because the seedlings are sensitive to transplanting. In general, the techniques employed are similar to those described for Brazil in the article "Reforestation of paraná Pine" which appeared in Unasylva Vol. VIII, No. 1 (1954). That article, however, advocated the planting of seedlings rather than direct seeding, following the techniques developed in Australia for raising Araucaria cunninghamii.
· A newspaper report states that scientists of the Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organization have discovered in the Australian tree known as Alstonia constricta, or "bitter bark," a new source of supply of the drug "reserpine" which is used in the treatment of high blood pressure and hypertension, and is scarce throughout the world. The bitter bark exists over a large area of northeast Australia, and two firms are interested in producing the drug from it.
· A member of the FAO forestry mission for the Amazon, reporting on the inventory of selected forest areas which has been in progress over the past year, writes of the sampling of forest on the slopes and foothills of the planalto (see "The Amazon Valley" Unasylva Vol. VII, No. 3) and on the planalto itself around Santarém. In 45 working days the party was able to make 57 samples of one hectare each. Over 130 kilometers of transects were made, of which approximately 125 kilometers could be used for sampling purposes.
The planalto forest on heavy clayish soil is easily the best forest, with an average volume of growing stock per hectare of about 225 cubic meters of trees 25 to 35 centimeters in diameter and up. The forest on the slopes and foothills on more sandy soil may be classified as degenerate planalto forest with an average volume of 143 cubic meters per hectare. The savanna or catinga forest on pure sandy soil on the slopes represents the last stage of degradation with a volume of only 34 cubic meters per hectare.
The results of the field work in the Santarém region HO far, using the available aerial photographs, may be summed up as follows:
1. The vertical but too hazy for properly recognizing tree species. The maps made up from the verticals have been found to be accurate on the ground.
2. The oblique pictures are only good for rough orientation and practically useless for identification of tree species and special features of the major forest types.
3. With the help of the photographs and maps made from them, the samples on the ground could be located with sufficient accuracy.
4. The types of tropical forest so far sampled are reasonably uniform.
5. The data now obtained are adequate for mapping the forest types over a sufficiently extensive area.
· Institut national pour l'Etude agronomique du Congo beige (INEAC) has issued a contribution towards the scientific investigation of tropical forests, An Ecological Classification of the Forest* of the Belgian Congo, Scientific Series No. 63. (90 pp., illus., Bruxelles, 1954). In concise form, substantial information is given particularly on the ecological and physiographical aspects of the various forest types of this vast territory. The authors admit that such a synthesis may appear rather premature as long as there still exist wide gaps in the analysis of various forest types. However, the value of this study lies in the fact that it provides a general framework without entering too far into details of merely local interest, yet which is flexible enough to allow incorporation of such detailed information resulting from extended research in the future.
Excellent work has been performed by INEAC in the field of agricultural research in the broadest sense. It has already published over a hundred outstanding scientific and technical works among which are a number of studies on forestry in the Belgian Congo, which may well pass for models in the field of tropical forest research.
· In his annual report for 1954, the President of the British Columbia Lumber Manufacturers Association dramatically indicated the rapidly growing importance to the pulp and paper industry of material formerly treated as waste. The increasingly integrated forest industries of the Pacific coast of Canada, by installation of barkers and chippers to handle mill waste and logs unsuitable for sawmilling, had produced enough pulp chips in 1954 to equal the annual
growth of about one million acres or 400,000 hectares of productive forest land, operated on a sustained yield basis. This utilization of waste was made possible by the development of new equipment and the courage of the forest industry to spend large sums of money to install the necessary machinery. With expansion of chipping facilities continuing, an even greater improvement in waste utilization was to be expected in 1955.
· An editorial in the annual review issue (April 1955) of Canadian Pulp and Paper Industry comments on the feet that artificial fibres as a source of paper are coming out of the laboratory and into the realm of practical use:
"They stand about where rayon fibres stood at the beginning of their introduction to the spinning and weaving industry for use in cloths. Today's prices for artificial or chemically produced fibre as compared with wood pulp or rag fibre are high but they may go lower as users who want the extra strength factors available create the markets that will allow higher production rates to lower unit costs.
"If we look solely at the North American market, with its disturbing genius for invention, we might assume that these competitive new fibres might face the pulp industry with dislocation one day and temporary overproduction. If we see the world as a whole and if we accept the truth of today's assumption that for civilization to survive there must be a much more widespread distribution of a good standard of living around the world, then we must recognize the possibilities of an almost insatiable long-term demand for products of the pulp and paper industry and we may not be too fearful of what the scientist can unloose from research."
· An FAO Technical Assistance Officer writes that two recent graduates of the University of Chile's Forestry School, one now working as Assistant Professor in that School and the other as assistant in charge of the Llancacura sawmill (Bee Unasylva Volume 9, No. 2, pages 81-83), accompanied him on a two-day visit to the Cordillera Pelada, to the northwest of Llancacura. They covered 20 miles each day, on foot or horseback, sleeping in a hostería or resthouse at about 1,560 meters (or 5,100 ft.).
About 4 kilometers east of this hostería, they located a number of large recumbent "cushions" of Dacrydium fonckii (about 1 meter in diameter and 30 centimeters high), the only conifer of this genus in the western hemisphere. (Other species are well known timber trees in New Zealand and Indo-China). They report that the flora of the very windswept Cordillera Pelada is most interesting' including alerce (Fitzroya), ciprés de las Guaytecas (Pilgerodendron uviferum), stunted coigüe (Nothofagus dombeyi), better grown canelo (Drimys), Drosera, Sphagnum and Lycopods. In clear weather, the view from the summit is magnificent, embracing the peaks of the Andes over a north-south stretch of some 300 kilometers or 180 miles, and also the Pacific Ocean to the west. The case for trying to preserve some of this extremely interesting forest area, if only as a national park, is very strong. In the future there will be relatively easy access from a railway and a main north-south road.
The officer returned to Santiago with a party of 12 students from the Forestry School, visiting en route some of the chief forest industries and more important forests of south Chile. For a second successive year the party visited a private estate at Villarrica to see the excellent plantations of Douglas fir, (ping Oregon) Cupresses torulosa from the Himalayas and other exotics, and the 35 year-old pole crops of raulí (Nothofagus procera), regenerated naturally. The owner had an excellent German and Austrian staff who were doing first-class nursery and planting work. The growth of Douglas fir is very good indeed, and various interesting mixtures with other conifers and with hardwoods are being tested.
A large plywood plant at Curacautin was inspected which uses Chile pine, Araucaria araucana, a similar wood to A. angustifolia of Brazil and Argentina. The logs run to a diameter of 4 feet (1.2 m.) or more, from trees which appear to be from several hundred to 1,000 years old, with annual rings wider than those of alerce (Fitzroya), especially for the first 40 or more years of the tree's life, i. e., 8-15 rings per inch (2 to 4 per cm.) and then much narrower, though not so narrow as in alerce, about 20-35 rings per inch (5 to 9 per cm.) instead of alerce's 50 or so rings per inch of radius (13 per cm.)). Large knots occur in the cores of these logs, and there are generally "leaf-traces" throughout the logs. The defect factor is quite high, sometimes causing a large core of as much as 2 feet (60 cm.) diameter to be left unpeeled; better logs are peeled down to a core of about 9 inches (24 cm.) only. The plant produces some 70 percent of Chile's plywood and exports to Argentina, the United Kingdom and elsewhere when markets are attractive. A sawmill, a box factory and a cooperage plant are attached to the main plywood mill. Some coigüe is out or used in these, especially for cooperage, and some raulí.
The party was taken in trucks to visit one of the company's main Araucaria forests, to reach which they traversed the railway tunnel, LOB Raices, through which in due course the railway lines will be laid to give another rail link between Chile and Argentina. This tunnel is 4.5 kilometers long. The working area for the Araucaria was at about 1,400 meters. Tractors, vanes were being used effectively to handle the large logs. The roads were good, the terrain being not so precipitous or rocky as might be expected and road building therefore not unduly expensive. Lenga (Nothofagus pumilio) grows with the Araucaria, and ñirre (N. antartica) at lower levels, the latter seeding freely. Deep snow lies in winter, and work is possible in the woods for only four months of each year.
· It is reported that the Government is giving considerable attention to the restoration of forests and to the development of forestry in general. At present the forest area amounts to only 6.8 percent of the total area of the country, 72 percent of the forests being in State ownership. A central Ministry of Forestry, which was set up in 1950, plans to bring half of the existing forests under sustained yield management by 1957. Fire protection has been greatly helped by the formation of a voluntary fire-preventing organization with more than one million members. A forest industry department has been organized within the framework of the Ministry of Forestry. Two forest research institutes and six forest experiment stations have been opened, and over one thousand tree nurseries formed. Three forest academies and 11 forestry departments have been established in existing universities, at which 3,000 students are being trained. There are also 12,000 students attending technical schools to train as forest rangers.
· A report to FAO states that under the Ordinance of Distribution of Village Land of 21 April 1781 and the Forest Ordinance of 25 September 1805, the areas with the densest tree stands were defined as permanent forests, where grazing was prohibited, and the remainder were left at the complete disposal of the persons possessing grazing rights. Forests which were communally owned were also parcelled out, so that each owner had a wood-strip allotted to him as his share. Apart from this a great many small woods have been established during the last 100 years particularly in regions in Jutland which were previously heath, a considerable number of them coming under the advisory service of the Danish Heath Society.
An Act of 4 October 1919 provided that undivided tracts of woodland should not be parcelled out without the Ministry's assent, and that only 20 percent of a wooded estate comprising more than 300 hectares should be sold, it being forbidden to fragment the rest into lots of less than 600 hectares each. For some of these woods the Government scoured preemption.
An Act of 3 April 1925 forbade the fragmentation of adjacent tracts of woodland into lots of less than 50 hectares, and the further splitting up of those under 100 hectares.
In almost all eases the owners of small woods are farmers who are usually more interested in farming and are apt to neglect the woodland, making heavy fellings, or else regarding it as a sort of reserve which is not to be touched in normal periods. Since the second world war, however, heavy consumption has reduced most small woods to an average level below that of bigger private forests and state forests.
The establishment of associations of owners of small woods has greatly improved the situation. Nevertheless only in about 50 percent of the small woods can forestry practice be described as good, in 50 percent fair. Working plans are only used in a few eases. About three-quarters of the small forests are under an advisory service of some kind.
The fragmented woodlands present a difficult problem as the owners of the sometimes narrow strips are disinclined to join the associations and are apt to care for their strips independently, disregarding the silvicultural difficulties or damage they may cause to the neighboring lots.
The Government inspects all private forests to see whether the principles of good silviculture contained in the Forestry Act are complied with, but it is considered essential that management should remain free so that owners do not lose their initiative and sense of responsibility.
· Poplar or hoor trees have been present and utilized in Egypt for a long time, but now few trees of the Populus nigra, P. alba and P. euphratica varieties are left mostly in small areas in the north.
Recently, however, the Ministry of Agriculture has accepted the importance of growing poplar trees on a large scale, and several species and clones have been introduced from Holland, Italy and Syria. The Horticulture Department propagated many of these species in its nurseries and distributed the plants throughout the country to farmers, private landowners and trade nurseries.
Many factors limit the possibilities of growing poplar trees on a large scale and under natural conditions. The hot summers and the limited amount of rainfall during the mild winters limit the possibilities of cultivation to the northern part of the country. Where there is ample irrigation water, it is considered more profitable to raise field crops than to grow timber trees, and furthermore poplar trees are regarded as hosts to rust diseases and wood borers which infest field crops and orchards.
At present, poplar planting in Egypt is being encouraged to meet the demand for products such as matches, plywood, etc. It is hoped that poplar planting can be associated with croplands and farms and that an intensive agriculture may develop where crops, fruits and wood are cultivated together.
· The greatly increased volume of goods traffic between countries may be one of the reasons why many forests, particularly in industrialized regions, have in recent years become infested by a growing number of destructive insect species. On the other hand, technical development is providing more and more methods of fighting such pests. First of all, however, it is essential to know the insects that cause damage. To meet a need expressed by many practical foresters, a key has been published for identification of forest insects from pictures of the damage done to the trees, (Schimitschek, E.: Die Bestimmung von Insektenschäden im Walde, 1955, pp. 196, 290 illus., Paul Parey, Hamburg).
This is probably one of the first manuals of this kind to be published. Following the elimination method of botanical identification keys, the author uses as criteria the damage design mostly through feeding, and in addition, where necessary, a description of the insect stage actually performing the damage. This is mostly the larvae stage, in which cases the imaginae are not considered. Identification is facilitated by a broad classification of the types of damage into that done in nurseries in young plantations, or among older growth, as well as according to wood species. Within these sectors further subdivisions are made according to whether damage is to leaves, sprouts, branches, stem, roots, flowers or seeds, etc. Particular emphasis has been given to insect damage to poplars and willows, species which are being increasingly cultivated. Fruit trees have also been included. Although this key has been established for central Europe and its use might appear to be limited to this region it may be of considerable interest in other parts of the world as an example of a practical method of identifying insect damage in the forests.
· In the summer of 1954, the Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam, organized for the first time round-table discussions among agriculture and forestry specialists from Surinam, British Guiana and French Guiana, to promote a mutual exchange of opinions on a non-official basis.
There has been growing local contact on technical matters between the three Guianas themselves, in addition to their co-operation in work carried out by the Caribbean Commission, which has its headquarters at Port of Spain, Trinidad, on subjects of common the various territories in the Caribbean area. The Guianas, which lie wedged between the great republics of Brazil and Venezuela on the tropical northern coast of South America, have a great deal in common in their climates, soils, historic development, and the composition of their populations. On the other hand, there are also striking contrasts, owing in a large measure to disparities in the constitutional development of the territories.
Problems of economic development have also many points in common and, as regards forestry and utilization, the meetings at Amsterdam produced a number of proposals which would assist in solving these problems. One possibility put forward was that the three Guianas should pool facilities for the technical training of sub-professional forest staff.
· In the special World Forestry Congress number of The Indian Forester, a plea was put forward by M. D Chaturvedi, formerly Inspector-General of Forests, India, to save the Indian lion from extinction, especially singe the Asoka Lions with the inscription "The Truth Triumphs" have been adopted as the national emblem. The lion, which differs little from the African lion, was once plentiful but today is restricted to the Gir Forest in Saurashtra, on the west coast of India to the north of Bombay State. It is protected, and the results of the protection have been encouraging, the last count placing its numbers at over 200, but the Indian Board for Wildlife views with alarm its restriction to one limited area exposed to the danger of epidemic or other unforeseen calamity. The Board has therefore recommended the development of an additional center in a locality similar to the lion's former habitat.
· On a recent official visit to the country, the Director of the Forestry Division, FAO, was shown the afforestation work carried out in Israel. Since 1948, the Government and the Jewish National Fund have done an equal share of the work and altogether about 40,000 acres (16,188 ha.) have been planted. In the previous 35 years, the fund had planted 5 million trees.
At Ilanoth, near Hadera, is the most important of the seven forest nurseries. It gathers 10 million seeds a year and produces 3 million seedlings. Seeds and seedlings are exchanged with government nurseries all over the world.
Seedlings are sent to settlements, to forest reserve areas in the hills and to places along the roads that are to be wooded. Pines and eucalyptus are used most. Poplars are developed to serve as windbreaks for orange groves. Acacias are set in sand dunes to halt the movement of the sand, and other trees are grown to meet special purposes and climatic conditions.
With the planting program moving rapidly, it is estimated that the woodland will supply one-third to one-half the nation's need for timber 15 years from now. There will be enough wood for soft-board factories, part of the amount needed for kraft paper and a sufficiency of poles and posts.
· According to the 1955 report of the FAO Italian National Committee, the main feature of Italy's forest policy continues to be the restoration of the country's forest resources.
Afforestation is being intensified both as a means of soil control and of putting barren mountain areas to economic use.
Imports of sawn softwood have shown an increase, while export of home production of softwood lumber has been reduced to a minimum. Exports of wood in the round of all kinds and of conifers in general, have been completely excluded. Cork exports have been encouraged whereas imports, either of cork or cork by-products, have been restricted to essentials only so as to safeguard the local Sardinian industry.
As a consequence of the fall of fuelwood and charcoal prices, due to the extended use of liquid gas, new lines of forest production have been sought. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has already made special provisions so as to promote the transformation of coppice land, owned either by the State, communes or by other agencies, into high forest, to ensure a larger production of saw timber. The Government has also granted private owners of coppice land a subsidy up to a maximum of 75 percent of the total cost involved for this transformation.
· A report of the fourth season of archaeological excavations at Jericho states that, to reach the highly important Neolithic stage, it has been necessary to clear the overlying levels of the Bronze Age. These in themselves are yielding material of much interest. Unfortunately, the outs confirm the conclusion that the walls of the Late Bronze Age, the period of Joshua, have, at least in most places, been denuded away. They also confirm the strength and complexity of the defenses in the preceding periods. One of the most interesting points which have emerged is the extent to which timber was employed in the third millennium, which may, with its implication of the cutting down of forests, explain the erosion of the surrounding slopes, which the evidence from the tombs shows took place between 3,000 and 2,000 B. C.
· A final report made by an FAO Technical Assistance officer proposes that a larger place should be given to fodder trees in all plantations in order to provide reserves of feed with which to counter the disastrous effects of drought on the numbers and condition of livestock.
Seeds of Prosopis juliflora (mesquite), Gleditsia triacanthos and G. inermis (honey locust tree) have been imported and the seedlings are being grown in nurseries. Instead of constructing hedges of useless Acacia horrida or eburnea, use will be made of honey locust trees (to be out back when 3 or 4 years old so as to make the hedge thicker), which will rapidly yield crops of highly nutritive pods. The mesquites will be planted either on the dunes in partial replacement of Acacia cyanophylla, or near waterworks and in the principal beds of temporary wadis, in order to ensure that they get an occasional natural "watering."
The carob tree, 100,000 specimens of which are now being raised in nurseries, can be planted both in the coastal zone and on terraces in the well-watered parts of the Jebel.
· A report to FAO states that land-use committees of experts advising the Government examine available land and classify it according to whether it is to be used for Crown forestry purposes or for agriculture and pasture. Important areas classified during the last two years comprise:
(a) Urewera Maori Lands - indigenous forest on hilly to broken topography classified into:(i) protection forest for soil conservation and flood control;
(ii) protection-cum-production forest;
(iii) forest land suitable for conversion to agriculture.
(b) Part of the coastal sands on the western seacoasts of the North Island, classified into:(i) primary protective zone for stabilization of sand by development of protection forest;
(ii) secondary protection zone for development of protection-cum-production forest.
(iii) stabilized sand suitable for conversion to agricultural or pastoral use.
(c) Multiple-use Crown forests: forests whose main function is watershed protection, but which would have value as public recreation areas. Where the recreational and tourist value is paramount, such forest land has been placed under the control of the National Parks Authority for development. Where the protection value is paramount, the forests remain under the control of the Forest Authority which is charged to develop and encourage recreational use. Some 400 square miles (100,000 ha.) of Tararua State Forest have been placed in the latter category.
· The Forest Service, organized in 1901, has up till now been governed by a law passed in 1926.
Recently, a complete revision of this law has been undertaken and new Forest Service Regulations, amended and brought up to date, have been published, in which the foresters' functions and duties in the protection and conservation of the country's forest resources are defined.
A chapter of the new law contains provisions relating to forests and land administered by the Forest Service and finally there are regulations for private holdings placed under the optional forest management scheme and "simple supervision" which require first:
"that the holding to be placed thereunder be wholly or in part (at least two-thirds) predominantly forest land, and that there be a plan for reforestation, tending and extraction, drawn up by a forest officer and approved by the Minister of Economy."
Private holdings may enjoy certain benefits, even if they carry only scattered woodlots or groves along lanes, roads, valleys and waterways enclosing agricultural plots or marking the boundaries of the property, or used as hedges or windbreaks, provided that the total area on which trees are grown equals one-third of the total size of the holding, and in all oases, goat grazing is prohibited.
Owners who fail to fulfill their obligations will lose their rights. Signs stating that the holding is under approved forest management must be affixed at various places along the property boundaries. A number of uniformed foresters proportional to the size of the holding will be assigned thereto.
The Minister of Economy may, at the request of interested parties, grant the privilege of creating hunting and fishing preserves, providing that the interests of the local populace are safeguarded and that the beneficiary landowners undertake to pay the farmers of adjacent lands for any damage caused to their crops by the game in the area. If it is proved that such hunting preserves are inimical to the public interest in a given region, privileges will be withdrawn.
· The Boliden Mining Company announces that a new method of wood impregnation recently developed at its laboratories has now been working satisfactorily for over two years, with both pine and spruce wood (See also Unasylva Vol. 9 No. 1). It is called the pressure change method and is designed specially for conifer wood. The tracheids of conifers are connected by pit membranes acting as sort of spherical valves for the transmission of the trees' sap stream. Since preservative liquids introduced lengthwise to the wood under constant pressure will block them and hamper the permeability of the wood, it is necessary to apply pressure and vacuum alternately, so that the passage is released for a moment, allowing a small quantity of preservative to enter the valve spheres.
For best results the amount of over- and under-pressure, the duration of the periods, and other factors must be carefully controlled. Tests have shown that, since the complete process of filling the wood tracheids with the preservative liquid does not run uniformly, the frequency of the pressurevaeuum period must be kept changing according to a specific program, which is governed by the combination of a filmband, a photo cell and devices to steer the pressure pumps. Under normal conditions, the time required for the full impregnation of wood does not exceed 20 hours, in which time roughly 800 vacuum-pressure periods are applied.
The particular advantage of this new method is that even green and wet pine wood can be impregnated, so that the operation becomes independent of the seasons and weather conditions. A disadvantage is the relative length of the full process. The necessary apparatus can be attached easily and cheaply to preservation plants of the traditional pressure type.
· Amendments which have recently been made to the Swiss Federal Forest Law are a good example of how a country's forest legislation can keep in step with changing ideas without overthrowing the existing foundations.
The present Swiss forest law is now 53 years old, and even its forerunner, brought into forge in 1876 differed only inasmuch as its application was restricted to the country's high mountain forests, its object being to protect the forests against thoughtless devastation. While its basic conception is still sound, the development of forestry during the last 80 years has made it necessary to include new paragraphs from time to time. Such regent amendments were an article to facilitate the consolidation of small woodland parcels (1945), and another to provide funds for the reparation of avalanche damage to forests and for measures for avalanche prevention (1951). In a new supplement prepared by the Federal Government, the first amendment galls for training courses in logging techniques to be compulsory for all forest guards, and subsidized by federal and cantonal governments. A second amendment authorizes the federal government to issue instructions regarding the control of pests and the supervision and treatment of attacked forests, as well as regarding the control of import, export and the trade in tree seeds, seedlings and other parts of trees liable to carry pest hazard.
The third amendment degrees that for all reforestation and afforestation in the country only seeds or plants of an origin known and suitable to the intended site may be used. The federal government is authorized to set forth rules relating to the import of foreign seeds and plants.
Lastly, the scale of fines is brought into conformity with the general rise in the cost of living index.
After adoption by Parliament of these amendments, the Swiss Federal Forest Law will no doubt again be found to be among the foremost national forest acts.
· The Land Allocation Policy for Trinidad, prepared in 1944 by the Lands Advisory Committee, was based upon sound principles. Only Crown lands suitable in soil and topography were to be allocated to agriculture. Lessees of such land would be bound by strict conditions of utilization. State acquisition of abandoned or badly managed land was advocated, resettlement on suitable agricultural land of persons thus dispossessed was to be effected, if necessary by reclaiming swamp land, or using areas not likely to be developed for oil production in the foreseeable future. Selected areas were to be declared forest reserves and non-agricultural reserves created for future urban, industrial or recreational development. Finally the rehabilitation of degraded land owned or acquired by the Crown was to be initiated.
A recent progress report gives some interesting facts on developments singe 1952. In view of the relative shortage of good agricultural areas, clearing of forest land on poor soils by squatters was becoming an acute problem and causing deterioration. The Forest Department has checked this by allocating areas for reforestation under a taungya system using teak. The project was at first viewed with suspicion but co-operation is now good. The maximum annual coupe is 65 acres (26 ha.) and the area to be planted has been set, in 1955, at 40 acres).
In other instances demands for land, aggravated by State acquisition, have been met by controlled longterm lease of scattered areas to adjacent private owners for the growing of timber or orchard trees, and research and scientific institutes have collaborated with the Agricultural Department in studying improved methods of farming, fire prevention and anti-erosion practices to enable otherwise marginal areas to be put into production by lessees under the three-year probationary and 25-year lease agreement.
The provision for nature reserves has been ensured within forests under conversion to teak plantations by demarcation at the rate of 50 acres (20 ha.) to every 1,000 acres (405 ha.) to be developed. The Forest Department has also developed promising techniques and successfully introduced several tree species for the reforestation of foothills and for use on poor soils.
Union of South Africa
· The Botanical Survey Memoir No. 28 of the Union's Department of Agriculture is a "summary" of nearly 200 pages on Veld Types of South Africa, based on over 15 years of collecting, field study and analysis. It undertakes:
1. to divide and describe veld types, defined as "a unit of vegetation whose range of variation is small enough to permit the whole of it to have the same farming potentialities"; the difficulty is that, of 15,000-16,000 species of flowering plants, about 2,000 are more or less important, and a total of 70 main types plus 75 variations is recognized.
2. to disentangle origins, migration routes and inter-relations of the types and their main components;
3. to identify and map the main large changes in types which have taken place, are continuing and may be expected to go on under grazing and farming use.
The work is, of course, designed for use in the Union, and unless the reader is already familiar with local Dutch names for type groups he will have difficulty..
Ecologists elsewhere, particularly those who hold that plant communities are to be defined in terms of vegetation, may disagree with some of the author's definitions.
The most interesting feature is the series of five maps showing the:
1. distribution of the ten main type groups in about A.D. 1400, as reconstructed from very sketchy historical evidence and the author's studies;
2. distribution of the type groups in 1950, solidly worked out;
3. estimated distribution in 2050 if current deterioration continues unabated;
4. distribution which could have been maintained by sound farming pratices, and the vegetation which will have to be reclaimed before there is any sort of stability in the Union's agriculture
5. stage of deterioration in 1950; already desert, below and above critical stages, etc.
In total, the maps picture widespread deterioration, advancing at a rapid pace, mainly due to persistent and prolonged overgrazing by domestig stock. Some reference to counter-measures, for instance the very extended work in the same complex field in the United States, would have been appropriate.
· The "volume-basal area line" which is the relationship that exists between the volume of trees and their sectional areas at breast height, is the subject of British Forestry Commission Bulletin No. 24 by F. C. Hummel. This relationship is used to prepare general volume tables by methods developed simultaneously by Hummel, Irvine, and Jeffers in Great Britain and by S. H. Spurr in the United States.
General tariff tables, that is, volume tables based on breast-height girth alone without differentiation of height classes have been prepared for all coniferous species for any site in Great Britain. They hold good, provided that the average height of the 100 largest trees per acre is less than 80 feet (24.4 m.). This new method of preparing such tables is simpler than previous techniques.
United States of America
· The editorial in the special number of American Forests (March 1955) devoted to the 50th anniversary of the United States Forest Service, describes as a disturbing element the fact that:
"a sizeable gross section of the public persists in viewing the forester as a 'custodian' of land rather than as a 'land manager'. In view of our increasing population and the proportionately greater demands being made on land, this is a situation that must be corrected if our foresters are to grapple successfully with such problems as water management, timber production and other renewable resources, on the one hand, and land-use problems on the other which will call for the services of the best qualified technicians our schools can produce."
The only likely candidates for these posts, the editorial says, are professional foresters - provided they continue to show the necessary capacity for growth, imagination, and ability to adjust to rapidly changing condition
"That the 'custodial' attitude of the public still prevails is indeed puzzling in view of the philosophy of leading foresters of yesterday and today and reported forestry advances on many broad fronts... Young foresters of today are... strong in their 'wise use' convictions. Ask almost any Forest Ranger if he regards himself as a 'custodian' and he will tell you he is a 'land manager,' and in cogent terms. To apply the 'custodial' tag to many an industrial forester would be like waving a red flag in front of a bull."
Yet, the 'custodian' concept is still part and parcel of the thinking of many intelligent people. Others seem not to realize that the U.S. Forest Service harvests forest crops at all.
"This despite the fact that forestry on national forests today is a big business. Equipment owned by the Forest Service for timber management totals 34 million dollars. Capital investments on national forests (including the road nets over which forest products are hauled) are evaluated at 650 million dollars. Income from timber on these forests has topped 70 million dollars in one year."
· A series of performance tests with portable chippers are described in Station Paper No. 30 of the Lake States Forest Experiment Station. Two variations of the same model chipper were used. The first machine had 8 cutting knives operating at a cutting speed of 1,500 rpm. The modified model had 12 cutting knives operating at a cutting speed of 2,200 rpm. A 31-horsepower motor was used on both models.
The wood chips produced from material 1 to 6 inches (2.5-15.2 cm.) in diameter were small in size, ranging from about 0.5 inch (1.3 cm.) in width, 0.25 inch (0.6 cm.) in length, and 1/16 inch (0.16 cm.) in thickness to fine material the equivalent of sawdust. Chips from small brush less than 1 inch in diameter were coarse and irregular in texture and size.
Chips produced from rough wood by chippers of this type are not generally used by the pulp and paper industry mainly because of small size and lack of uniformity of the chips, high proportion of bark and leaves, mixture of species, and uncertainty of supply. If these objectionable features can be minimized, the low production costs relative to standard pulpwood should make it possible to market chips from sticks 1 to 4 inches (2.5-10 cm.) in diameter that are currently being left in the woods on most pulpwood operations.
Portable wood chippers are useful for the disposal of orchard trimmings, for producing chips for livestock bedding, poultry litter, and mulch from available non-merchantable trees and other wood material in the farm woods.
These chippers are in current use on roadside and right-of-way slash disposal operations, for general slash disposal on logging operations in special areas of high fire hazard, or in recreational areas where slash burning is inadvisable for aesthetic reasons.
· A report of twenty years of the work of the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research at Yonkers, New York, gives details of the basic seed research which it has conducted since 1924. The wide range of specialized equipment devised to control environmental conditions and isolate causes of germination difficulties has been used mainly for horticultural and agricultural seed problems, but also for some American forest tree species notable for germination problems.
Several broad types of seed treatment have been used, including after-ripening in dry storage; scarification, acid and other treatments of hard-coated seeds; after-ripening (stratification) in moist storage at various controlled low temperatures.
Special attention has been given to developing a rapid and sure viability test so that the true worth of seed may be readily and promptly determined. Tests have been made as well of many of the so-galled growth-promoting or hormone-like substances as effecting germination. The general finding on non-dormant seed was that there was no beneficial effect..
Very detailed studies on seed storage methods show that dominant controls are moisture content and temperature. Various conifer seeds stored at a temperature of 23° F. either in open or sealed containers for periods up to six years retained all or nearly all of the one-year germination capacity effectively..
· Forest Science, Vol. I, No. 1, has made its appearance. It is published by the Society of American Foresters with co-operation from forest research and educational institutions to provide an outlet for research and Technical papers either too long or too specialized to be handled by other professional journals, particularly the Society's Journal of Forestry.
The need for such a publication has long been recognized, and a long period of study lies behind the launching of Forest Science. Suitable articles in the whole field of forestry studies will be acceptable and the first issue includes papers on a wide variety of subjects.
Reviews of important works, including those of other countries, will be a regular feature.
· The Northeastern Forest Fire Protection Commission was organized after the great Maine fires of 1947.
It includes the fire control organizations of the several member states and of the United States Forest Service, and is designed to provide mutual aid in fire suppression and to integrate the joint efforts of the several organizations which may be mustered to fight a major fire.
A problem has been to instruct and train members of the various organizations to a common understanding of plans, terminology and duties, so that, when vises arise, there shall be no confusion. To this end, the Commission and the Forest Service have recently developed a training manual of organization on big fires, based on experience gained during the past several decades, both in the region itself and elsewhere. It gives detailed description of the nature of the fire suppression job, the functions and duties of the fire boss and of the various people in the three major groups of the suppression organization, namely the line unit, the plans unit and the service unit.
The emphasis of the manual is placed on the techniques of training and, in this field, note has been taken of applicable techniques developed in Army training. Details of the specific standardization requirements of the service unit are given, such as the gas and oil requirements for various types of equipment, hand tool lists for different types of cover layouts for camp kitchens and food supply lists.
As organization on big fires has inevitably become more complex, such material is more and more necessary when various organizations must be welded into an effective team under the pressures of an emergency.
· Recent publication by the Society of American Foresters of Forest Clover Types of North America (Exclusive of Mexico) brings to a new stage the work begun by the Society twenty-five years ago to clear up the existing confusion by setting up a standard system of forest types for the eastern United States. A work on forest cover types of western North America followed, and now the present work includes also the types of Canada.
The accepted basis for recognizing forest types is the existing tree cover. In naming the types, the principle was to employ species rather than generic names which would be descriptive of the composition. When possible type name was confined to a single species or a binomial, with trinomials used rarely. Predominance is judged by number of stems in the dominant and codominant classes combined, the predominant tree usually forming 50 percent or more.
In the east there are five great forest regions - Boreal, Northern, Central Hardwood, Southern and Tropical Forest and the recognized types have been listed and described separately for each forest region, further arranged into groups on the basis of soil moisture relations into dry, fresh to moist, and wet situations. Site is regarded as subordinate to type and is treated as such and the Society has formed type groups, each including two or more types, which are cross-referenced to the two other major and widely used type groups of the area, namely the Canadian (generalized coniferous mixed wood and hardwood groups), and the United States Forest Survey system (economic values). The Society accepts 106 cover types for the east broken down into about 16 type groups compared to 10 type groups recognized by the Forest Survey.
In the west, six natural regions are recognized - Northern Interior High Mountains, Middle Elevations of the Interior, North Pacific, Low Elevations of the Interior, and South Pacific. These cannot be accurately mapped because of the complexity and rapidly changing elevation of the western mountains. About 50 types are recognized in the west, and these are cross-referenced to the ten type groups of that area as used by the Forest Survey.
For both east and west, each type is described as to definition and composition, nature and occurrence transition forms and variance. Under the latter heading the typical replacement vegetation when the natural type is destroyed is described.
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
· Four years have passed singe the all-Soviet meeting on the classification of forest types took place, and foresters have continued to develop their ideas for improving classification. An article by Professor B.C. Nestorov on "The study of forest types and their classification" has been published in a recent issue of Lesnoie Koziastvo (February 1955), in the hope that researchers and practical workers will give their views on the present system of classification and its practical application.
A new broad definition of "forest type" was given by Academist V.N. Sukachev in 1950. "Forest type" should be understood to mean
"all wooded areas identical in composition and fauna, in the complex of the conditions (climatic, soil and water) under which the trees grow, in the relations between their plants and environment, in the process of restocking and the evolutionary trend that makes itself felt there, and to which, consequently, uniform forest management methods must be applied."
Academist P.C. Pogrebniak proposed to define environment types as:
"the grouping of areas where growth of forest vegetation is similarly affected, that is, showing the same complex of active natural factors (climate, soil and water). Several forest types may be found within one type of local growth conditions. In addition, however each forest type has its own complex of soil and climatic conditions to the extent in which the latter depend on the vegetation."
Two types of classification therefore recognized by plant associations or on ecological grounds, in that the system of V.N. Sukachev was recognized as a classification of forests, and that of P.C. Pogrebniak as a classification of local growth conditions.
The mere putting together of two classifications and, even more so, their automatic combination is far from sufficient to solve the whole theoretical question of forest type classification, and does not mean that further study is no longer necessary.
The incomplete consolidation of the Sukachev-Pogrebniak ideas with regard to classification of forest types appears from the fact that they are not entirely suitable in practice when various errors frequently show up. The plant builder and indicator theories are not at all inconsistent and form "the two sides of the same coin," but for this very reason common defects appear in the combining of these two lines of thought.
The classification now submitted in this article shows both stand composition by species and soil fertility. Example is given for two large geographic areas: the forest zone and the wooded steppe zone.
According to the new classification, in the forest and wooded steppe zones, for each major species (pine, fir, birch, aspen, oak, alder) there are seven different, main categories of forest types that group stands and local growth conditions by fertility glasses.
In the middle, under the fourth category, fall all forest types, of the most fertile lands: moist clayey soils, clayey-silicious soils with intermediate layers of clay, clays and other similar types with optimum moisture content.
To the left of this category is the gradation of forest types of decreasing fertility; third category: stands, on moist, silicious-clayey and shallow clayey soils, etc.; then the second category: stands on moist sands; and lastly, the first category: stands on dry sands of varying physical structure. In the forest zone, in general, only pine grows on dry sands, while in the wooded steppe zone, clayey soils are covered with oak.
Likewise, to the right of the middle column, where the best forest types on the most fertile lands are shown (fourth column), there is a gradation of forest by decreasing productivity; fifth category: forests on river banks, near streams and torrents and consequently galled humid by their situation; then the sixth category: forests on waterlogged soils (forest zone) or nearly always wet soils (wooded steppe zone); lastly, the seventh category: on marshy land (forest zone) and wet soils (wooded steppe zone).
In the forest type categories above, trees play the part of both site builders and indicators in the system defined.
For general use, the article suggests designating forest types by both over-all vegetation and Bite, using abbreviations made up of groups of letters such as Pd. Pms, Pssc, Omdc, etc.. in which the capital letter refers to the first letter of the name of the species: P. pine, O. oak, etc.; while the small accompanying letters indicate local growth conditions: d, dry land of varying physical structures; ms, moist sands; ssc, moist silicious, and shallow clayey soils; mdo, moist deep clayey soils, silica on clays, and clayey, silicious-clayey soils; 1, humid soils (because of the running water) alongside rivers, on river banks and in thalwegs; wl, waterlogged soils; w, wet; m, marshy soils; and vw, very wet.
· According to the periodical Lesnoe Hozjaistvo, the Plenary Meeting of the Central Committee of the Communist Party held in 1954 examined in some detail the activities of the Soviet forest authorities. Note was taken of the good results achieved by some forest farms (lieskhozes) and collective farms (kolkhozes), but there appeared to be also ground for criticism, especially regarding the insufficiency of the progress made by the kolkhozes in establishing windbreaks and shelter belts. The Central Committee had advocated a great effort to brine under cultivation the unproductive lands of Kazakstan, Siberia and the Urals, and of certain regions of the Volga where shelterbelts were to play a primary role against parching winds The afforestation work for the sprint of 1954 was, however, only fulfilled to the extent of 55 percent of the planned area. Too often planting was carried out on badly prepared soil with poor quality seed and plants. Likewise proper planting techniques and especially after-care of the seedlings were neglected. The reasons for these failures were discussed and constructive suggestions made for future work.
A great responsibility for timber production will rest, during the next few years, on the lieskhozes and on their sawills and subsidiary forest products industries. Output in 19541955 is supposed to attain 125 percent of the previous year's production, and 200 percent within the next three years. The timber requirements of the kolkhozes and State farms (sovkhozes) are bound to increase greatly, particularly as a result of the expansion of livestock breeding and the need to have sufficient barns for overwintering stock.
There appears to be no difficulty in finding the necessary timber, in part from the kolkhoz forests themselves, which are, however, sometimes well but more often not well managed. The Government has earmarked appropriations to cover the expense of managing these forests properly. Another source is the so-galled "group one" forest (Bee Unasylva Vol. 9, No. 1). This group includes forests in which, in view of their protective role, all fellings were prohibited at the time of the classification of the U.S.S.R. forests, save in exceptional oases. This has in many instances led to an accumulation of overmature timber which constitutes a potential danger for the propagation of harmful insects and diseases. Since 1952, the policy in regard to these forests has been changed. New management plans are being worked out and the shortening of rotations will make possible the extraction of relatively large volumes of timber.
A further contribution which the lieskhozes could make to the rural economy would be the opening up and systematic assignment to the collective farms of the land forming part of the State forest domain but which can be used for grazing by livestock. The estimated extent of such land is ten million hectares.