REVIEW of REVIEWS

Timber Supply Grows Greater

A Swedish Forest Has Supplied Logs for 700 Years and Has Greater Supply Than Ever

FOREST,OUTDOORS July 1 1933
REVIEW of REVIEWS

Timber Supply Grows Greater

A Swedish Forest Has Supplied Logs for 700 Years and Has Greater Supply Than Ever

FOREST,OUTDOORS July 1 1933

Timber Supply Grows Greater

A Swedish Forest Has Supplied Logs for 700 Years and Has Greater Supply Than Ever

FOREST AND OUTDOORS

IMAGINE a corporation in business for 700 years, cutting logs from the same forest during the whole of that time and, instead of depleting the timber supply, steadily making it richer! Canadian Forest and Outdoors tells about this incredible company.

“It is Bergslaget (Stora Kopparbergs Bergslags Akliebolag), oldest industrial company in Sweden, probably in the world, founded in 1225. It started as a mining company, used its timber first for charcoal and mine timbers, later developed lumber and pulp industries. Owns nearly a million acres of forest land, and all the productive land is under systematic management, for timber crops mainly and farm crops where possible. It is in charge of a permanent forest staff-director, district foresters and rangers; they select and mark the timber to be cut and have charge of all operations, including logging.

“Reforestation is secured by natural seeding or by artificial sowing or planting. After logging for 700 years there is more timber than ever, because it has been treated as a crop, not a mine. This practice is typical of Sweden in general. Reforestation on a large scale is carried on there by both private and public enterprise, because the forest owners regard it as a commercial paying proposition; and because it is required by law, to ensure a permanent industry.

"The lumber industry in Sweden is suffering from the world depression and from Russian competition, but Swedish forests will never lx* cut out. nor their communities be left stranded in a dead sea of stumps.

“Now take a look at North America. Try and find a forest property logged for even seventy years and better than ever. It would be very hard to find. Of the several hundreds of millions of acres of forest which have been cut over in Canada and the United States and not used for settlement, a small fraction has been reforested under management by intent; the major portion has achieved a more or less valuable second growth, due chiefly to the kindliness of Nature; but a very substantial balance, many millions of acres, perhaps 1(X) to 150 millions, is so devastated by logging and repeated fire that it is practically barren. For comparison note that the whole productive fort's area of Sweden, one of the world’s chief exporters of lumber pulp and paper, is about sixty million acres. In British Columbia the productive forest area is estimated to be about forty per cent of the wholt land area, or less than ninety million acres; and the accessible forest area is much below that.

"The timber industry in all North America, including our own province, has been conducted on a mining basis instead of a crop basis, migrating as supplies were exhausted, instead of growing new supplies. The consequent instability and impermanence of the industry are its greatest weakness and defect, socially and economically. It has left behind it a trail of derelict and decaying communities. This is most evident in regions where agricultural land is limited and scattered, as it is in so much of British Columbia. Our five per cent or six per cent of agricultural land is widely distributed, mostly in small parcels. In such case forestry and agriculture must be practised together to allow permanent and prosperous settlement of the country. Each helps the other in many ways . . .

“The depression of the forest industries and the financial straits of the government make it seem difficult to spend money on

reforestation, and yet that is obviously the first essential in providing for stability and permanence. The time to do that is when the old crop is logged, and the money should come from the old crop. Not necessarily an extra tax, but a diversion of part of the money now obtained and used for other purposes. No other purpose is so important, no other use lias an equal claim on that money. How absurd to put second things first, to draw millions of dollars yearly from the forests and spend it on developing community facilities, such as roads and schools, without first ensuring the perpetuation of the forests and thus of the communities dependent upon them.

"In Sweden and other progressive countries of Flurope. also in Japan, forest land is required to be kept productive; a new crop must replace the old. This is a legitimate expense of pnxlucing timber which bears equally on all producers, and is passed on to the consuming public. Unless timber can pay for its own reproduction and perpetuation it should not lx? cut. Protection against exploited timber of other countries which is not subject to such exjxmse is given by tariffs, and if tariffs are justified for any

purpose whatever, surely this is a proper one.

"British Columbia has the largest remaining stand of saw timber in Canada, but has already used a substantial part of its capital. Most of the timber and most of the cutting are in the southern coast region. Here are left, according to estimates of the Provincial Forest Service, only about 50 years’ s-pply of virgin timber and only about 30 years’ supply of Douglas fir, the principal species cut at present. I .ess than half the area

logged since high lead logging became general is restocking satisfactorily, chiefly because of repeated fires and of lack of seed trees and of shelter for seedlings. To grow new crops of saw' timber requires fifty to 100 years or more.

“An adequate forest policy should be adopted and put into force at once while there is yet time. The details of the policy, particularly in regard to necessary economic and financial arrangements in industry and government, will be difficult and complicated. and will require careful study and planning. This need not w'orry the general public, nor delay decision regarding the most important and essential thing, which is to require that old crops be replaced by new.”