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2. TAXATION.–Of thirty land-owning members, eleven were of the opinion that, although the present basis of forest taxation is not equitable, the tax burden is not onerous or the need for change in system urgent; it would be better not to agitate the matter at this time. They believed, however, that the subject should be carefully studied and the legislation proposed should be simple and explicit. Four members believed a change to be desirable. The remaining fifteen expressed no particular opinion. Typical of the first group was the owner who tried for tax relief on plantation, but found it so bound up with red tape and restricting the freedom of management, that he gave it up.
At the Lake Placid meeting of the New York State Forestry Association which your President and Forester attended, the former was appointed as Chairman of a special committee to study the question of forest taxation; this committee will make its report at the January meeting of the Forestry Association. Its deliberations have undoubtedly been aided by the presentation of the subject by Professor Hosmer.
This subject ties up closely with reforestation, since the postponement of taxes is often necessary to make planting economically attractive.
3. REFORESTATION. This includes both phases of silvicultural practice: artificial reproduction and natural reproduction. Regarding the former: of 30 members, two were favorable to planting without State aid; nine considered it impractical on account of heavy investment, unless the State aided by furnishing stock free (seven members) or did the planting itself (two members) in accordance with some such scheme as that proposed by Dr. Fernow in “A Plan Adequate to meet our need for. Wood and Timber." Ten members were of the opinion that planting is not needed, one of them stating bluntly that the reforestation business will die out in a few years. Nine members expressed no special opinion on the subject.
In view of these marked differences of opinion, Director Toumev's paper this afternoon will be of particular interest.
As for natural reproduction, many members practice cutting to a diameter limit. Here again there is great variation. In spruce the limits range from 8 to 12 inches on stump and the same at breast height. In hardwoods from 10 inches on stumo to 16 inches breast high. Experience has shown the faults of a rigid diameter limit.
Forestry Quarterly, Vol. XI, No. 3; pp. 307-322.
The Axton Conference, August 31, 1917, organized by Canadian forestry officials and which I was privileged to attend, agreed upon an outline of Silvicultural Management in the Adirondacks which indicates the proper treatment for the various forest types. The account of this conference appears in the November, 1917, number of the “Journal of Forestry” (Vol. XV, No. 7, pp. 891 to 895) and, through the courtesy of Dr. B. E. Fernow, reprints will be sent to each interested member of the Association.
The problem of reforestation is complicated by the rapid spread of the white pine blister rust. At a meeting of New York foresters in Elizabethtown on October 10, 1917, the situation was gone into thoroughly. The disease has admittedly spread all over New York State. It attacks white pines large and small, sound and unsound without apparent discrimination. It results in the death of the tree, slowly but surely. The only adequate means of combating it so far devised, is the eradication of all currants and gooseberries within 1,000 feet of the pines. This eradication is an expensive proposition costing at least $2.00 an acre. This is a serious item when added to the $12.00 an acre for planting or to the maintenance charge of an established forest. As a pathologist puts it: “We are confronted by a difficult situation, greatly aggravated by the war.” The Conservation Commission in this State aided by the U. S. Department of Agriculture, is making valiant efforts to control the disease.
4. OPENING OF State PRESERVE.—All members agree on the desirability of cutting the ripe timber before it is wasted and that it would improve the condition of the forest if the over-mature and defective trees were cut. Many question whether politics can be kept out and the timber sales handled efficiently under State supervision with constantly changing personnel. People are unwilling to trust the lumbermen. If lumbermen will demonstrate their own good faith by conservatively managing their own holdings, then people may be willing to entrust them with State timber. A question of educating the public. Time is ripe now to push the matter. State is losing a source of timber supply and of revenue and incurring additional tax burdens, which seems doubly uneconomical at time of war. People are awake now to economic questions. Need timber to maintain industries. Require mutual confidence, co-operation and co-ordination of the various interests concerned and a sinking of selfish interests in the general good. These are opinions of the members.
The first step in such a plan of education was taken by the
publication in the October, 1917, number of "State Service", the new magazine devoted to the Government of the State of New York and its affairs, of an article entitled "Make State Forests Productive” (pp. 33-40). This was answered by former Forest, Fish and Game Commissioner Austin in the same number by an article entitled, “No Lumbering in State Forests" (pp. 40-45). Speaker Sweet also had an article in the September number of this magazine favoring the opening of the State Preserve, much along the lines of his address at our last annual banquet. Reprints of the article in the October issue are being prepared and will be sent to each member and others interested in this matter.
I have also prepared an article on a possible “Saranac Recreation Reserve”. for presentation at the January meeting of the New York State Forestry Association. The establishment of such a Reserve within which no cutting would be permitted on State land offers a compromise for those aesthetically opposed to cutting and would allow for the proper utilization of State timber outside of the Reserve.
5. APPRAISAL OF RESOURCES.—Of 32 members, seven have 10 exact estimates of their timber holdings, fourteen have but only three of these are willing to furnish the figures to the Association, the remaining eleven expressed no special opinion. Only one member is managing his forest under a regular working plan. In the opinion of one of the members, it would be mutually helpful to the members of the Association if they had a stock taking and forest survey of their holdings-must know own holdings first.
I heartily concur in this opinion. A forest survey—that is, the gathering and tabulation of all data in regard to forest lands including plane and topographic surveying, mapping, timber estimates, forest description, type and site determination, involving all the work of every kind (including the construction of volume, growth and yield tables) necessary for the making of a working plan--leads to the following results:
A. A reliable and regularly revised inventory of the standing timber.
B. A more effective general plan of operation.
C. The best possible location of roads, camps and other improvements.
D. A reduction in loss from windfall, insect damage, and decay. The felling areas can readily be adjusted with reference to the need of promptly cutting..damaged or overmature timber.
E. The preservation of all knowledge relating to the property. Without a forest survey much of this knowledge disappears with those who happen to possess it.
F. A great reduction in the heavy losses incident to a change of management. An adequate forest survey provides a manager with a mass of essential knowledge thoroughly digested, which he would otherwise be years in accumulating.
G. An increase in the efficiency of whatever system of fire protection may be employed—which ties up again with the question of timberland insurance.
H. The accumulation of data sufficient to serve as a basis for a forest working plan—that is the plan under which a given forest property is to be continuously managed.
1. Comparative immunity from governmental interference. The forest working plan can serve effectively as a basis for compromise in the inevitable clashes between the interests of the government and those of the timber owner. This will be of especial importance in case of State regulation of private logging.
6. PUBLICITY.—Public must be educated to a realization of the true economic issues inv ved. Other interests have secure] an audience: We must do likewise. The press must be won over. Real achievement the basis: not “hot air”.
Accordingly, I have seized every opportunity to present the producer's side on the basis of co-operation and co-ordination of all the interests involved in the forest. An address which I delivered on “The Timberland Owner and the War" before the Cornell Summer School at Ithaca on July 28, 1917, was widely copied in the press of the State, including the Metropolitan papers: the “New York Times,” the “New York Evening Post," the “Wall Street Journal" and an editorial in the "New York Sun" of August 28, 1917. Altogether some thirty-four papers in the State printed this as a news item with a total circulation of 612,097 copies, not counting the circulation of the “New York Sun.” The Secretary of the New York State Forestry Association, commenting on the address, said that "it comes nearer voicing the sentiments of the forestry association than anything yet expressed.” At the request of Mr. Herbert Carpenter, the President of that Association, the address was repeated at its meeting in Lake Placid on September 7, 1917. The full text appears in the October, 1917, number of “New York Forestry," the organ of the Association. The address was also well received by our members, one suggesting that it be
expanded into a pamphlet which could be mailed throughout the State.
In this way I have endeavored to justify one member's corviction that "at last, by appointment of a forester to the Association, the lumber interests have become articulate."
Of course, this work is only begun-its continuance will be my special care; however, it must be realized that the basis is achievement, not “hot air," so that the members of the Association must themselves assist by the wide practice of the principles advocated in our Constitution.
7. LEGISLATION.—But little comment was elicited from members. Some felt that reform in taxation and reforestation laws is especially needed; others that legislation also resolves itself into a matter of educating the public.
The matter of tax and reforestation laws reform is in the competent hands of our president. By the time the legislature convenes in January, the Albany office will be established so that I can keep close track of legislative developments.
8. EMPLOYMENT OF FORESTERS.—This, the last special phase to be discussed, presents hopeful signs: Of 33 members, six employ nine foresters altogether, three others are favorable, sixteen feel no present need for employing foresters and eight have no special opinion on the matter. One favoring member believed the employment of a forester to be desirable for all large operators. "Will be of material assistance to Association's forester in bringing about a uniform practice by different members. Can also furnish desired data to Association office.”
This attitude I heartily endorse. There are twenty-three members who have over 10,000 acres of timberland, so that there would seem to be room for more foresters. One benefit to be derived from their employment is the development of a corps of young men, superior in training and ability, who will gradually qualify to take a most effective part in the future management of the property.
I also urge all members to avail themselves freely of the technical assistance which my office can furnish. Nor shall I hesitate to call to the attention of members the possibilities of improved methods in the handling of their lands, in order to fulfill the purpose of the Association. In return I hope that members will freely offer suggestions and advice so that I may shape my work most helpfully