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often lack a proper presentation. Our league has therefore resolved to concern itself with this matter, and it is our hope to eventually make a showing that will prove what we believe is a fact, namely, that the common interests of the great consuming population of this country, and also those of national welfare, call for the repeal of the tariffs on forest products.
Throughout a large part of the country the people feel that it is unwise to tax importation of those raw products of which there is, so to speak, but one crop, such as coal, ores, and, practically, timber. It seems to them a good national economy to conserve the domestic supply of such products. The case of timber seems the most pressing, because we are now at least within a measurable time of its exhaustion. So we find that the President of the United States, in his last annual message, recommended free forest products; that the legislature of the State of Wisconsin has memorialized Congress to repeal the duty on lumber, and that until recently Wisconsin was one of the greatest lumber-producing States and is still near the top; that the 1908 Republican platforms of Minnesota and North Dakota call for the repeal of the duties on forest products, so also the Democratic national platform, and the Republican national platform makes a general declaration that many people have interpreted to mean repeal or reduction of the lumber duties. At any rate, those who are opposed to the repeal or revision of the lumber tariff characterize the Republican declaration as “ dangerous to the lumber industry.” Only yesterday the national organization of the Grange, representing a million farmers, adopted resolutions calling for the repeal of the duties on forest products. The Republican party is pledged to tariff revision, and the people will look to the lumber schedule as much as any other for a realization of that pledge.
In this paper we propose to show that the repeal of the tariff schedule under discussion is not contrary to any theory of the tariff, but is, in fact, free trade that protects. As we understand it, the main justification of the protective tariff has always been the desirability of protecting the high-priced labor of this country against the inferior-priced labor of other countries. We will show that so far as the subject under discussion is concerned such protection is no longer required. We maintain that our American forests are now so near their ultimate destruction that they require protection; that is, conservation, and that one potent way to conserve them is to broaden the source of supply for the immense American lumber market. The only way in which that supply can be immediately and effectively broadened is by drawing on the forests of other countries, which can only be accomplished by repeal of duties which restrict trade in forest products. Reforestization is a matter of one or two or, perhaps, three generations, and only by drawing on the supplies of other countries can we widen our source of supply and reduce the drain on our own forests.
If there was no timber in the United States no one would contend for the maintenance of a tariff on timber. If we are now on the verge of a timber famine, as many authorities, both practical and theoretical, concede, should we not take time by the forelock and by protecting our forests through legislation that will tend to reduce the drain upon them, put off the evil day?
First, then, we desire to present some facts showing the decline of our forests and the approach of a timber famine. Mr. R. S. Kellogg, chief of the Office of Wood Utilization in the United States Department of Agriculture, says, in Circular No. 129, 1907, that all the statistics and conservative estimates indicate that our present consumption of wood in all forms is equivalent to at least 100,000,000,000 board feet annually, and says that one leading authority has estimated the total consumption of wood in the United States at 150,000,000,000 board feet, and this takes no account of the destruction of timber by fire and natural causes. The total consumption of timber for lumber alone, in 1907, was 40,256,154,000 feet, according to a bulletin issued by the Department of Commerce and Labor.
Quoting Mr. Kellogg again:
The estimates of the forest area of the United States run from 500,000,000 acres to 700,000,000 acres, and it is safe to say that under present conditions the annual growth does not exceed 60 board feet per acre. This gives in one case a yearly increase of 30,000,000,000 feet and in the other case one of 42,000,000,000 feet. In other words, it appears that the annual growth of our forests does not exceed the amount of wood used for lumber alone. Considering all the drainage upon the forests, the annual consumption of wood is probably three times the annual growth.
The estimates of standing timber in the United States are by no means satisfactory. The most detailed ones range roughly from 1,400 to 2,000 billion feet. Assuming a stumpage of 1,400 billion feet, an annual use of 100,000,000,000 feet, and neglecting growth in the calculation, the exhaustion of our timber supply is indicated in fourteen years. Assuming the same use and stand, with an annual growth of 40,000,000,000 feet, we have a supply for twenty-three years. Assuming an annual use of 150,000,000,000 feet, the first supposition becomes nine years and the second thirteen years. Assuming a stand of 2,000 billion feet, the use of 100,000,000,000 feet and neglecting growth, we have twenty years' supply. Assuming the same conditions, with an annual growth of 40,000,000,000 feet, we have thirty-three years' supply. With an annual use of 150,000,000,000 feet, these estimates become, respectively, thirteen and eighteen years.
There is another way of looking at the question. The two leading kinds of lumber on the market now are southern yellow pine and Douglas fir. The cut of yellow pine is nearly one-third of the total lumber cut, and is nearly, if not quite, at its maximum. Our minimum and maximum estimates of yellow pine stumpage are 130,000,000,000 and 300,000,000,000 feet. The present rate of cutting will exhaust the supply in about ten years in the first case, and in twenty-five years in the second case, neglecting annual growth, which is rapid with old-field pine and slow with long-leaf pine. The largest estimate of the stand of Douglas fir is 350,000,000,000 feet. This means a seventy years' supply at the present rate of cutting, neglecting annual growth. As it is probable, however, that the cut will more than double within a few years, the outlook is that there will be comparatively little Douglas fir left in from twenty-five to thirty years. The case of Dougles fir now is closely parallel to that of white pine in the Lake States thirty years ago, and there is much reason for believing that the supply of fir outside of the national forests thirty years hence will be as limited as that of white pine now.
Mr. R. A. Long, a lumberman, in an address in January, 1903, before the Southern Lumbermen's Manufacturing Association, said that after a very careful inquiry as to the white and Norway pine of the Lake States, the yellow pine of the South, and the Pacific coast timber, predicted that within ten years the Lake States would probably play no larger part in the lumber supply of this country than did poplar at that time. As to the life of the southern yellow pine, he predicted that eighteen years would find it cutting no great figure in the lumber supply. Taking white pine, yellow pine, and Pacific coast timber all together, he estimated that the life of all was fortyone years. That is a practical lumberman's estimate.
In a paper on forest conservation presented at the conference on the conservation of natural resources in Washington last May, Mr. Long reviewed his prediction and said that so far as the supply of timber in the Lake States and that of southern yellow pine was concerned he was more confident of the correctness of his prediction after the lapse of five years than he was when he made it. He was not so sure as to the supply of the timber on the Pacific coast, but said that he did not believe that the total life of the forest supplies of the forests referred to would vary five years from the figure originally given. As for the idea that other woods would take the place of leading species named, Mr. Long said that he calculated that long before any of the woods in question had been exhausted practically all other woods in our nation—that is, all the other woods that may be used as substitutes—would have largely passed out of use. Mr. Long has little faith that substitutes for wood will curtail the demand for lumber. He points out that even in England, where nearly all of the lumber used is imported, the consumption per capita is increasing at the rate of 5 per cent per annum. In France it increases at the rate of 10 per cent per capita, which is also the rate of increase in this country.
Circular No. 97, prepared by Mr. R. S. Kellogg, of the Department of Agriculture, says that the original stand of white pine, including Norway, in the Lake States was estimated at 350,000,000,000 feet, and that since lumbering began there, some seventy years ago, the total cut has probably not been less than 250,000,000,000 feet. Continuing
It is well known that the days of white pine are rapidly passing, and even accepting the most sanguine estimates of the present stumpage it will, in a few years, cease to be a large factor in the timber supply of the United States. The present annual cut is about 3,000,000,000 feet in the Lake States and 1,000,000,000 in the other States. The total is less than half the cut in the Lake States alone in the latter eighties.
At the annual meeting of the Northern Pine Manufacturers' Association in Minneapolis, Minn., January 22, 1907, Secretary J. E. Rhodes made this striking statement :
Since 1895, 248 firms, representing an aggregate annual output of pine lumber of four and one-half billion feet, have retired from business, due to the exhaustion of their timber supply. Plants representing approximately 500,000,000 feet capacity which sawed in 1906 will not be operated in 1907.
The white-pine industry reached its maximum eighteen years ago, and its output now is less than 50 per cent of what it was at that time.
The amount of hard-wood stumpage is very indefinitely known, and is determinable only with difficulty, owing to the scattered and uneven stands. It was estimated at some 435,000,000,000 feet by the census of 1880, at possibly 300,000,000,000 by the census of 1900, and at 400,000,000,000 by the American Lumberman in 1905. Whatever the total stumpage may be, that which is fit for the saw is rapidly decreasing. The hard wood cut in 1900 was 8,634,000,000 feet. Four years later, in 1904, it had fallen to 6,781,000,000 feet. The present annual cut of hard woods is about 5,000,000,000 feet, consisting of approximately 43 per cent oak, 12 per cent poplar, 9 per cent maple, and lesser amounts of numerous other species. Here we have evidently a declining industry.
In Circular No. 116, by Mr. William L. Hall, of the Department of Agriculture, special attention is paid to the waning hard-wood supply. He points out that owing to the decline of the hard-wood forests, Ohio and Indiana have already lost the main part of their hard-wood manufactures, and that other States are threatened with the loss of industries dependent on hard woods, such as hard-wood lumber manufactures, cooperage, furniture making, musical instruments, vehicle manufactures, agricultural implements, car building, railroad ties, telephone and other poles, and house finishing.
How intensely the whole country would feel the loss of its hard-wood timber, to an ample supply of which it has long been accustomed, can scarcely be realized.
Continues Mr. Hall:
Without hard wood for building purposes, for railroad ties, for the manufacture of furniture, cooperage, and vehicles, and for the varied other uses to which it is put, we should be in sad straits indeed. A general failure in crops may affect industrial conditions for a few years-a failure in the hard-wood supply would be a blight upon our industries through more than a generation. The situation in brief in this: We have apparently about a fifteen years' supply of hard wood now ready to cut. Of the four great hard-wood regions, the Ohio Valley States have been almost completely turned into agricultural States, and the lake States and the lower Mississippi valley are rapidly following their example.
In the Appalachian Mountains we have extensive hard-wood lands which have been culled and greatly damaged by fire. These are practically all in private hands, and while they contain a large amount of inferior young timber, they are receiving little or no protection, and even such young timber as exists is making but slight growth. Even if these cut-over lands be rightly managed they can not greatly increase their yield of merchantable timber inside of from thirty to forty years.
The inevitable conclusion is that there are lean years close ahead in the use of hard-wood timber. There is sure to be a gap between the supply which exists and the supply which will have to be provided. How large that gap will be depends upon how soon and how effectively we begin to make provision for the future supply. The present indications are that in spite of the best we can do there will be a shortage of hard woods running through at least fifteen years. How acute that shortage may become and how serious a check it will put on the industries concerned can not now be foretold. That it will strike at the very foundation of some of the country's most important industries is unquestionable. This much is true beyond doubt, that we are dangerously near a hard-wood famine and have made no provision against it.
Minnesota is the leading white-pine producing State, but even there the destruction of the forests has proceeded so rapidly that scores of towns and cities that were formerly great manufacturing centers have ceased to produce a stick, thus repeating the history of the rise and fall of lumber manufacturing centers in Michigan and Wisconsin. Eight years ago the city of Minneapolis was the largest lumber manufacturing center in the world. Now, it will scarcely produce 300,000,000 feet of lumber within a year, and it is predicted by lumbermen that the last sawmill will be abandoned in Minneapolis within five years. A friend calls attention to the fact that he recently took a journey of 200 miles north from Minneapolis, 170 miles of which was through a region once covered by one of the finest white-pine forests the world has ever known, and that in all that distance he saw only 10 acres of merchantable pine timber, and that was being preserved as a curiosity by its owners, the United States Steel Corporation. To cite another personal experience as graphically illustrates the decline of the forests even in the far West, I will say that on a journey between Portland, Oreg., and Vancouver, British Columbia, a distance of about 270 miles, through the heart of the area covered by the original forest, not a single logging operation could be seen from the train.
Former Governor Van Zant, of Minnesota, who has been associated with the lumber industry for more than forty years, says that once there were 100 sawmills below Minneapolis on the Mississippi River and north of St. Louis, and that to-day there are only 2 mills left, and their wheels will cease to turn within another year.
Ten years ago southern or Georgia pine, on account of its hardness and coarseness, was scarcely considered an article of commerce, its uses being limited to flooring and finishing purposes. In 1906, on account of the disappearance of white pine and other finer woods, there was eleven and one-half billion feet of yellow pine manufactured into lumber, or 30 per cent of the total lumber product of that year. The same is largely true of western fir; the increased production in the State of Washington alone up to 1906 being thirteenfold greater than that of 1880. The total production of lumber in the United States in 1880 was 18,000,000,000 feet, and in 1907 40,000,000,000 feet.
I devote a good deal of time to showing the effect of the destruction of the forests on agriculture and a great many industries also, and its effect upon the climate, but those are conceded facts and there is no use taking up your time with that now.
The CHAIRMAN. You can print that portion. (The statement referred to follows:) The effect which the denudation of the forest area has had upon the flow of water in our rivers and their tributaries is apparent to every one. Its effect upon the rainfall is, however, not so apparent, and can be determined only by the most careful scientific observations. It, however, seems reasonable to suppose that moisture held back in the forests by moss, grasses, leaves, etc., increases the amount of evaporation over that of the same area after being bared by the removal of the timber. The difference in the amount of soil washed, also between that of a forest area and the same area with the forest removed, is so apparent as to need no scientific demonstration. As an argument in support of these two propositions, I quote liberally from writers of known authority.
In the Canadian Magazine of recent date a well-known Canadian authority makes the following assertion:
The results from excessive denudation of mountain sides are too well known to require much comment. Thoreau probably had more than the sentimental in his mind when he deplored the ruthless work of the ax on his New England hills and exclaimed “ Thank God, they can't cut down the clouds."
In southern Europe, in northern Africa, and in Asia Minor large sections of country, once the most fruitful in the world, rich with the products of fertile soil and genial climate, are now dreary wastes and incapable of yielding sufficient to sustain even a scattered population. This deplorable state of affairs has resulted from the clearing away and destruction of the timber on the mountain and hill sides. But it is scarcely necessary to go so far afield for examples of the injurious effects of overdenudation, for in many parts of older Ontario and Quebec a water famine is fast approaching from this cause. The former, as has been said, is rapidly becoming a prairie province. Streams that in early years were comparatively equitable in their flow and perennial in character are now raging torrents in the early spring and dry in the later summer months. And why is this? Simply because the natural reservoir has been destroyed. I can not refrain in this connection from quoting the very pertinent remark of Captain Eads when he was engaged in building dikes on the lower Mississippi, that he was working at the wrong end of the stream. Public attention on this subject within recent years has been to a limited extent awakened in both the United States and Canada, and the necessity of taking some steps to prevent future disaster has been seen.