Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/796

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lumber produced by our forests as $210,159,327, and that there were 63,928 establishments engaged in the manufacture of articles made entirely of wood, besides 109,512 establishments in which wood is an important part of the material used—as in the manufacture of carriages, agricultural implements, etc. It has been estimated that the value of the products annually drawn from our forests exceeds $1,000,000,000, and of the vast imports of Great Britain two thirds are said to be of vegetable character. Such facts show at once the very prominent place which the forests of the world hold among national interests. But, in addition to the bearing of the forests upon the mechanical industries of life, they have an important relation to climate and to the meteorologic conditions on which agriculture and commerce and the health and life of the people depend. When all these things are taken into account, as until recently they have not been, it becomes at once apparent that no subject, perhaps, deserves more consideration among the resources of a country, and that the special attention given it in the compilation of the present census is abundantly warranted.

Accordingly, the endeavor has been made to ascertain, with more completeness and precision than ever before, the situation of the country in respect to its woody covering; to learn to what extent the several States and Territories abound in trees in masses; of what species of trees the forests are composed, their location, and their commercial and industrial value. The work of ascertaining these facts, and presenting them in proper form as a part of the census returns, was committed by the Department of the Interior to Professor C. S. Sargent, of Harvard University, who is also manager of the Arnold Arboretum at Brookline. In carrying out the work assigned to him, Professor Sargent divided the whole country into several districts, each of which was given in charge to one or two competent persons, with the needful assistants, for the purpose of making a personal examination of the districts, and also ascertaining facts by correspondence with residents of different parts of the districts, so that a sufficiently exact report might be made in regard to the timber-growth of the country. Professor Sargent personally undertook the exploration of the Pacific division, including California, Oregon, and Washington Territory.

The result of this forest survey will be to give us a knowledge of the species and varieties of trees indigenous to our country, with the districts where they most abound, and where they attain their best development. It will show us what our forest resources are, whether for the production of lumber, or fuel, or for ornamental planting. It will show how far and how fast our forest supplies are diminishing, and from what cause or causes; whether from the axe of the lumberman, estimating the forests according to the number of feet of boards or timber which they will yield, or from the axe of the woodman or the miner; whether from the fire kindled by the pioneer, eager in the