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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/24

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

not be as profitable as the Scotch plantations. We have already sufficient demonstration of this from actual experiment. We have some plantations of trees, both in the East and in the West, which are of sufficient age to furnish reliable data upon this subject. Mr. Budd, a tree-grower of Iowa, and a careful observer, says: "A grove of ten acres, thinned to six feet apart, containing twelve thousand trees, at, twelve years were eight inches in diameter and thirty-four feet high, the previous thinning paying all expenses of planting and cultivation. Ten feet of the bodies of these trees were worth, for making bent-stuff, etc., forty cents each, and the remaining top ten cents, making a total of $6,000 as the profit of ten acres in twelve years, or a yearly profit of $50 per acre." Similar reports come from other places in the West.

But, turning from the rich lands of the West to the poor soils and rough exposures of the East, we have sufficient examples of the profitableness of tree-planting. One of the oldest in date, perhaps the oldest example of forest-planting in this country, is that of Mr. Zachariah Allen, at Smithfield, Rhode Island. In 1820 a tract of land forty acres in extent was bequeathed to him. Professor Sargent, from whom we take the account, says: "It had been constantly used as a pasture for nearly a hundred years previous to its coming into Mr. Allen's hands, and was at that time entirely worn out. The situation was an elevated one, and completely exposed to the wind, the forty acres occupying the summit of a high hill of granite formation. The surface was marked with ledges, cropping out in projecting cliffs, with intervals of loamy soil, covered with a scanty herbage, and supplying nourishment to a few straggling white birches and the other hardy plants which still too clearly mark our barren pastures. It was found impossible to lease the land for pasturage, so exhausted had it become. The owner consequently determined to try the experiment of planting the whole, or that portion where the rock did not come to the surface, with the seeds of forest-trees. The planting was done in 1820, and cost $45. Since then, for fifty-seven years, Mr. Allen has kept a minute account of his expenditures and receipts in connection with that field. He sets down the price of the land at fifteen dollars an acre, that being what it was appraised at in the division of the estate of the previous owner, though the taxes were for years less than two dollars and a half yearly for the whole forty acres. Charging himself with the land and with interest on its valuation, and also on the taxes paid" for fifty-seven years, his debit account stood, at the close of 1877, $3,804.83. His credit account at the same time, for wood, posts, timber, etc., and 320 cords still uncut, stood $6,348.06, leaving a profit of $2,543.23, or 692100 per cent on the investment for the whole term, and the land greatly improved besides."

The experiments of Messrs. Fay and others at Lynn, and on the barren sands of Cape Cod, where thousands of acres, valued at only