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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 83.djvu/594

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

THE FORESTS AND FORESTRY OF GERMANY
By Professor WILLIAM R. LAZENBY

OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY

DURING the past year I have had the rare opportunity to observe the forests and to learn something of the general forest policy of 'various European countries. My interest in this subject prompts me to present a few notes. I am glad to do this because in this country the subject of forestry is now claiming, and is bound to receive, greater attention than has heretofore been given to it.

The increasing scarcity of timber within the first half of the second century of our nation's history, in spite of the variety and richness of its sylva and extent of its primitive woodland, is a condition that calls for earnest consideration and should invoke the interest of every public spirited citizen. From the standpoint of administration and thorough system the German forest service is not paralleled elsewhere, and its intensive development is nowhere surpassed. Such being the fact, I shall confine myself mainly to what I have seen in Germany.

Why has Germany developed a more systematic, a more advanced forest policy than any other nation? Let us briefly consider. In the first place, it should be clearly understood that the German empire in its federal capacity has nothing whatever to do with its forests. The control of the forests is exclusively in the hands of the various states, which in their confederated form make the nation called Germany. Each state government directs the forest policy of its own state and the national government has never interfered in any way or manner with this procedure.

Speaking of Germany as a whole, the great impetus to a general forestry movement was received about 1750. At that time the population was rapidly increasing and nearly all of the strictly agricultural land had been cleared. Coal had not then been discovered, or was not available for use. There was no fuel, oil or gas, comparatively little peat, and no means of transporting fuel wood from the mountain forests. A succession of winters of unusual severity caused much suffering and the imminence of a general fuel famine stared the people in the face. From this time the art of forestry developed with great rapidity. Everybody was interested because everybody needed fuel. Within a comparatively short time most of the state governments had formulated some forest policy, the principal feature being an effort to secure a continuously sustained yield of fuel wood and timber from all forest lands. One fundamental principle was that no more wood