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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/16

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

ground occupied by them would not diminish but rather increase the cultivable area, and the forest growth would be a positive addition to its productiveness.

But whatever the particular plan adopted, a prominent question will be with every one, what trees to plant. The multitude offering themselves for consideration is embarrassing. Our country is one of such extent and such varied climate and soil that we have a tree vegetation embracing all the variety of the entire Eastern hemisphere. Our Atlantic coast corresponds, in this respect, with that of China and Japan, while our Pacific-coast region is like that of Western Europe. At the International Exhibition at Philadelphia, in 1876, the wood of nearly four hundred indigenous species of trees was shown, whereas Great Britain has only twenty-nine; France, thirty-four; and all Europe, leaving out Russia, only about fifty. The little State of Connecticut, on the authority of Professor Brewer, has sixty species of native trees. At the Philadelphia Exhibition there were specimens of thirty-seven species of the oak, thirty-four of the pine family, seventeen of spruce and fir, eleven of maples, besides many others.

With such a variety of trees and so many conditions of climate and soil, and the different objects which the planter may have in view, no one can give an answer to the question what to plant, except in a general way. Trees have their homes as well as men, where they develop to the best. And, though they may often be transferred to other regions and be made to form to themselves new homes, the success of such a transfer can not be predicted with certainty. Experiment alone can decide. But, for the general purposes of tree-planting, and for those who are looking for definite and sure results, the safe rule, and the only trustworthy one, is to follow Nature to plant the trees which she has already planted near us or in situations like our own. From these we may wisely make a selection, according to the objects we have mainly in view. If we want the speediest growth of fuel or shelter, we shall choose the quick-growing trees. If we purpose to grow valuable timber we shall make a different selection, or we may select for both results at the same time. Even in those parts of the country most destitute of any considerable masses of trees, the Western Plains, the treeless regions as they are called, there are a goodly number of species showing themselves, if but sparsely, and giving us hints as to what may be accomplished there in tree-planting, if fires and the depredations of destructive animals can be prevented. We have it, for example, on good authority, that the following trees, among others, are natives of Nebraska, one of the so-called treeless States: the buckeye, the red and the sugar maple, the box-elder, the honey locust, the white and green ash, two species of elm, the hackberry, sycamore, black walnut, three species of the hickory, seven species of oak, the ironwood, two species of