Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/801

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THE CENSUS AND THE FORESTS.

the place of pine. We see every day that the hard-woods are coming into use more and more for the interior finish of buildings, as well as for many other applications.

There is in the Lower Peninsula an estimated amount of 575,500,000 cords of hard-wood distributed over nearly 20,000,000 acres. About twenty per cent of this is suitable for lumber and cooperage stock. There were cut for the census year ending May 31, 1880, exclusive of 163,821,000 staves and 18,567,000 sets of headings, and including 6,038,000 feet of spool stock, 440,944,000 feet.

In the southern half of the Lower Peninsula the forest has been largely removed for agricultural purposes or used in manufacturing although considerable wooded areas generally distributed still remain. In the upper part of this Peninsula the hard-wood is now being rapidly consumed in the manufacture of charcoal, to be used for the purpose of smelting the iron-ores with which that region abounds.

Passing now to the Upper Peninsula, it is estimated that the amount of merchantable pine-lumber still standing is 6,000,000,000 feet. There were cut for the census year ending May 31, 1881, 328,438,000 feet. The supply here, at the present rate of consumption, would last about eighteen years.

Of hard-wood there is an estimated amount of 124,500,000 cords, distributed over 10,000,000 acres. There were cut for the census year, exclusive of fuel and railroad-ties, 1,145,000 cords. The southern counties contain large areas of swamp covered with tamarack, white and yellow cedar, estimated in the aggregate at 62,500,000 cords.

We have not undertaken to give the full results of the census, even in respect to our forests and forest products. We could not do so, in the present incomplete state of the returns. We have only endeavored to indicate in advance some of the interesting and valuable results which may be anticipated from the publication of the census returns in regard to our forests and woodlands whenever that publication shall be made. We have sought to exhibit the method adopted in compiling the census, as showing the confidence which may be given to the results presented. Without doubt, under the careful management of Professor Sargent, with his able corps of assistants, we shall have set before us in the two volumes of his special report, with the accompanying maps, a great body of most interesting and important facts in regard to the present and prospective condition of our forests. We shall know, as it was not possible to know before, their value as sources of lumber and fuel, and for various uses in the arts. We shall know, as we have not known before, the various agencies by which the forests are destroyed, and the rapidity with which their destruction is effected. We shall learn, as we have not learned before, that, wasteful as is the process of converting our forests into lumber, more of our precious woodlands are destroyed by fire than by the axe. It has been ascertained, for instance, that in the compara-