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News of the World

The news items appearing here are condensed selections of what was thought to be of interest to the readers of UNASYLVA. Should readers desire particulars on any given item, the Division of Forestry and Forest Products will welcome correspondence and will endeavor to furnish further details.

BELGIUM. - The variety of Douglas fir known as Pseudotsuga taxifolia var. viridis is giving very good results in Belgium. At the arboretum of Gedinne a 40-year old plantation on a pattern of 2 in. × 1.50 in. now has a total volume of 667 m³ per hectare after having furnished 260 m³ per hectare of thinnings. This corresponds to an average annual production of 23.2 m³ per hectare. For the period 1935 to 1943 the annual increment was 5.9 percent. Other exotic species giving good results in this arboretum are Larix leptolepis, Abies grandis, Picea sitchensis, Picea excelsa, with yields of 10 to 15 m³ per hectare.

CANADA. - A large, new industrial timber development is being started in British Columbia by the acquisition of some 4 to 9 million m³ (1,000 million to 2,000 million board feet) of timber on Vancouver Island by a Danish company with world wide Interests comprising teak-milling operations in Siam, rubber plantations and tin mines in Malaya, and other global interests.

Tree seeding by aircraft is being tried out. The seeds of white and red pine and red spruce have been dropped from an airplane on a tract of 240 hectares (600 acres) of burnt timberland. The seed is specially coated to increase chances of survival. Approximately 12,500 seeds are dropped over each hectare (5,000 seeds per acre).

Helicopters have now been introduced in fighting forest fires. Two methods of attack are planned-one, hovering over the start of the fire and dropping fire extinguishing chemicals and nipping the fire in the bud, and the other, of laying down a barrage of chemicals against the wall of fire. Fleets of trucks will carry containers of fire- extinguishing chemicals as close as possible to the fire, the helicopter will load up and fly to the wall of fire and bombard it with the containers which are set with a fuse to explode on contact with the ground.

CHILE. - A recently published report furnishes interesting data on the country's forest resources. The total area covered by forests, plantations, and woodlands is 16 million hectares or 22 percent of the total area, representing a ratio of 3.2 hectares of wooded surface per inhabitant. Commercial forests amount to 1.1 hectares per inhabitant. Brushwood, which can be used only as fuel, covers 55 percent of the wooded surface; natural forests, 44 percent; and plantations, 1 percent (principally of Pinus insignis and Eucalyptus. Seventy-six percent of the area of natural forests can supply marketable woods, 80 percent, of the commercial forests are still in a primeval state, 9 percent represent secondary growth, and 11 percent have been laid bare by fire or clear-cutting. The total volume of sound wood is estimated at 1,843 million m³, found mostly in the southern provinces. Of this, 1,090 million m³ could be utilized as sawn timber. Fifty-four percent of the wooded surface is privately owned, 43 percent publicly owned, and on 3 percent the title is contested. The main commercial woods are Nothofagus obliqua, Nothofagus procera, Laurelia serrata, Laurelia sempervirens, and Persea lingue. Conifers account for only 7 percent of the wooded surface but comprise beautiful stands of Araucaria araucana syn. imbricata, and Fitzroya cupressoides syn. patagonica. The annual cut is around 5 to 6 million m³ of which ¾ are used as firewood. Forest fires, however, have destroyed some 8.7 million m³ of wood annually during the last few years.

CHINA.-The provincial government of Fukien has drawn up a transitional program of economic recovery in which the production of wood and paper have been allotted a very important place. The first step will be to make an inventory of timber production possibilities in the province and of the amounts the markets of Hong Kong, Shanghai, Hankow, Canton, Tientsin, Tsingtao, Formosa, and Chinkiang can absorb. Four paper mills have been established and research work is being undertaken in order to improve the quality of the paper and to give workers and management of the mills the necessary technical guidance. Eighty-two percent of the total area of the province has an elevation of 200-500 meters above sea level and is therefore unsuitable for rice growing. The provincial research station has shown that in this type of hilly country, soil planted in tea, bamboo, or timber shows a yield 750-5,000 times higher per area than rice growing.

CZECHOSLOVAKIA. - It is intended to reforest an area of 150,000 hectares over a period of 7 years. This area comprises 90,000 hectares of forest clear-cut during the war and 60,000 hectares of waste lands. It is further intended to reduce fellings for 1948 to 12.3 million m³ as part of a 20-year program of reduced fellings to offset the damage of about 23 million Ins overcutting during the war.

FINLAND. - An Institute for Forest Tree Breeding has been founded for the purpose of encouraging scientific tree breeding. The work of the Institute will draw on the experience gained in North America, Denmark, and Sweden. An inventory for the purpose of ascertaining the beat trees and the best stands for breeding purposes will be undertaken. Adequate personnel, buildings, and nurseries have been made available. The Institute will be supervised by a committee, including, amongst others, the Director of Government Forests and representatives of the farmers and of the sawmill, plywood, and paper mill industries.

FRANCE.- According to official statistics, the toll that fire has taken in the forests of the Landes in the departments of Gironde, Landes, and the Lot Let-Garonne for the years 1942 to 1946 is as follows:



Surface (hectares)



















These figures include, of course, tracts which were burned over before 1942 but on the whole it can be assumed that the statistics remain below the actual damage done. It has been authoritatively stated that the whole wood surface of the Landes is now reduced to something like 600,000 hectares as against 950,000 hectares in 1937 when artificial reforestation was interrupted. Of the fires in the 5 years dealt with in the above listed statistics, 51.4 percent were due to carelessness (smoking, camping, burning of waste, tractors, etc.), 16 percent to causes related to the war (the occupation, gunfire, bombardments, etc.), 12 percent to accidental causes (railways, high tension wires), 11 percent to willful damage, 6.4 percent to lightning and 3.2 percent to poorly organized fire fighting (badly put-out fires).

A study is being made of the possible use of plant hormones in the forests of the Landes of Gascony. Three methods appear feasible: 1) By using the properties of some of the hormones to increase the growth of rhizomes to ensure regeneration by cuttings. This would permit vegetative reproduction of selected pine strains with high resin yield. The development of the roots of young plants would be helped by the use of these hormones; 2) By the use of hormones in large doses to cause the death of certain plants. It might be possible to combat in this way an excessive grass cover and the formation of an understory representing the principal fire hazard in forests of maritime pine; 3) By the application of certain hormones on the working face and their injection into the trunk of the maritime pine, a method likely to activate the flow of resin.

A general. survey of the forest industry shows a very marked increase in production from 1945 to 1946. Total production of timber in 1946 was 10,169,-344 m³ of roundwood, 66 percent above the 6,066,343 m³ Of 1945. Total output of wood for industrial uses has been 2,515,027 steres for 1946, a figure 9 percent higher than the 20,489,466 steres of 1945. Every item has shown notable progress with the exception of wood and charcoal for charcoal gas, where a decline of consumption is the normal corollary of the return to use of gasoline for motor vehicles.

FRENCH EQUATORIAL AFRICA. - Here also output has increased. It is nearly 100 percent higher in 1946 with 100,000 metric tons of wood, as against 56,000 in 1945. Okoumé logs account for 90 percent of these totals. Further progress, however, will have to surmount serious difficulties.

GREECE. - War damage to the forests has been severe, the timber on 25 percent of the wooded area having been destroyed. Only 3/5 of these damaged forests are capable of natural regeneration. Foresters must, therefore, limit themselves to the artificial reforestation of the remaining 2/5 without being able to continue their ambitious reforestation program started before the war. Of the total area of Greece, 15 percent or 1.918 million hectares is really covered with forests. The main species are Abies cephalonica (229,000 hectares), Pinus halepensis and Pinus brutia (420,000 hectares), various oaks (671,000 hectares), and beech (193,000 hectares). Forty-three percent are coppice, 26.5 percent are coppice with standards, and 30 percent are high forests. Approximately 3 million m³ of sawn timber would be necessary for reconstruction purposes. Domestic sources, however, can account for only 200,000 m³ of round timber per annum, a supply which would have been insufficient even before the war.

INDONESIA. - Elaborate plans for sustained timber production are being worked out, Production would center around Palembang (Sumatra), Bandjermasin and Sampit (South Borneo), and Sorong (Dutch New Guinea). Most of the output was consumed locally before the war, but exports to Singapore and the east coast are now contemplated. The big coniferous forests of South Borneo, the potentialities of which were only discovered a few years ago, are expected to supply Europe and Australia, as well as parts of Indonesia. Shipping is the principal difficulty because of poor harbors.

MOROCCO. - The country's reforestation plan covers a period of 25 years and extends to 2 million hectares of and soil and poor or cut-over forest lands. The 500 km. of forest roads existing in 1925 have now been brought up to 3,000 km. A forestry school at Ifrane will give forest rangers their initial schooling.

POLAND. - Poland is making great efforts to reverse past trends by halting the decrease of the forest area and by means of intensive reforestation. There have been 80,000 hectares earmarked for replanting. Plans call for adding 2 million hectares to the existing forest area in the course of the next 20 years. These plans are to be aided by a campaign for the reconstruction of sawmills destroyed during the war and for the fuelwood allotments and the best possible utilization of waste production.

SWEDEN. - The Swedish forest research institutes are now using some 12,000 trees of selected superior pines and spruces for seed production. Refrigeration is being used for the study of frost resistance of seeds of individual species. One of the species it is hoped to acclimatize in this fashion is the Pseudotsuga taxifolia. On the other hand, experiments are being carried out with hybrids to combine the characteristics of certain varieties of Norrland's pines with the more rapid growth of the southern Swedish varieties.

Another field of research is the use of X-rays in order to achieve the polyploid varieties which might produce giant trees of very rapid growth. Until now it has been possible to grow a tetraploidal aspen with 76 chromosomes, while the usual giant aspens only have 57 and the common aspen a mere 38 chromosomes. The tetraploid aspen will reach maturity at the age of 30 years.

UNION OF SOUTH AFRICA. - Jonkershoek Forestry Research Station in the Transvaal since its establishment in 1935 has been studying the effect of afforestation on water supplies and the conservation of water and soil. These experiments will take nearly half a century to complete. Recently, a reconnaissance trip was made to areas reputed to have lost water through afforestation. The forestry department is considering the idea of laying out a special experimental area in the eastern Transvaal mountains to find out whether gum tree plantations dry up the streams that have their sources there.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. - A tree planting machine which gives promise of radically modifying reforestation has been developed and is now being demonstrated. The unit is designed for use on open field and cut-over land. It can be pulled by any light farm tractor and requires two men to operate it-one for the tractor and one, for the planter. It is capable of planting approximately 10,000 seedlings per eight hour day, whereas two men could plant only 1,000 to 1,500 trees for the same period by hand. The machine opens a 23-cm alit in the ground and the plow lifts the soil on each side of the slit but does not compress it. A seedling is deposited in We opening and then the soil is put back in the same position and packed mechanically. So thorough is the job that it is difficult to tell where the ground has been disturbed. Trees are spaced about 2.5 m. apart.

YUGOSLAVIA. - Plans for 1947 to 1951 throw interesting lights on the methods this country intends to employ both to improve forest production and to develop its timber industries. It shows notably that fellings in 1951 will amount to 18.5 million m³, only 84 percent of the corresponding figure for 1939. Of this amount, 8,500,000 m³ will serve to meet industrial needs, as against 9,500,000 m³ in 1939. Nevertheless, rational utilization of good quality wood on the one hand and of wood waste and shavings on the other, as well as the development of furniture-making pulp mills and allied industries, is expected to increase production in certain branches, as shown by the following summary:

I. Timber Industry


Production in

Increase (percentage)



Sawn timber (1,000m³)




Plywood (m³)




Furniture (finished goods)




Hydrolized wood (m³)




Impregnated ties (m³)




Wood fiber products (tons)




11946 figure.

II. Pulp Industry


Production in

Increase (percentage)



Paper (tons)




The Five-Year Plan provides for the reforestation of 100,000 hectares of cut-over, burned-over, arid, or rocky areas and for regular management plans for at least 3 million hectares of forests. Research work is to be greatly encouraged both in wood technology and in silviculture. Finally, forest roads, skid trails, and means of transport are to be provided (250 km. of roads for tractors, 700 km. for lorries; 200 km. of narrow-gauge railways and 50 km. of cable railways). Felling and loading are to be mechanized insofar as possible.

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