Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/185

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181
OUR FOREST WEALTH

Three foes menace the forests. First is the exploiter of forest lands. Chief among these is the small mountain farmer. In a region never designed for agriculture he endeavors, with primitive appliances and obsolete methods, to grub out for himself a scant subsistence. To do this, he must sacrifice the trees.

Making a mountain farm, however, is quite a different thing from maintaining it as a farm. Under the crude culture practised, a period of from five to twenty years suffices to exhaust the land and send the farmer farther up the slope. Here he repeats the process; and thus, as he ascends, he leaves in his wake a tract of desolation, for the swift descending rains soon convert these cleared areas into irreclaimable gullies.

Second come the exploiters of the woods themselves. Among these may be mentioned the turpentine man, who, by a crude method of extracting the resin, though a far less hurtful might be employed with greater profit to him, is rapidly despoiling large areas of forest. The tan-bark man, next, strips from the trees their bark, and leaves their unused hulks to cumber the ground. The pulp man clears the ground of all trees—old, young, large and small—and so prevents the forest from renewing itself. Finally, as the bonanza farmer attacks the Dakota wheat-field, the lumberman, with methods long tested and equipment perfected, invades the forests, and the monarchs fall before him like grain before the sickle of the harvester.

Next and most terrible, sometimes from accident, sometimes from design, comes the fire. In the slash and wreckage left by wood-cutters

PSM V73 D185 Hand dipping rosin from vat into barrels in ocilla georgia.png

Still Hand-dipping Rosin from Vat into Barrels. Ocilla, Ga.