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use, and who is now troubled that he cannot make some use of the winds that are going to waste on his farm.
The obligation of the Conservation movement
What I have meant to emphasize is the fact that the farmer is the ultimate conservator of the resources of the earth. He is near the cradle of supplies, near the sources of the streams, next the margin of the forests, and on the hills and in the valleys and on the plains just where the resources lie. He is in contact with the original and raw materials, and with the fundamental necessities. Any plan of Conservation that overlooks this fact cannot meet the situation. The Conservation movement must help the farmer to keep and save the race.
The Conservation and Country Life movements will pass through propagandic, economic, and political phases; but they will eventuate into a new alignment of human forces and a redirection of the processes of social development. These results are to be brought about by efforts proceeding along definite lines of action. The Conservation movement is rapidly becoming crystallized into definite proposals. The Country Life movement should be solidified through a definite National organization or commission, that is continuously active. This body should work through all existing rural organizations, placing before them for consideration the specific questions of the day and serving as a clearing-house of discussions that arise in the societies and with the people; and it should make real investigation into the actual economic and social conditions of the open country, with a view to pointing out the specific practical steps to be taken by National, State, local, and individual enterprise.
The Commission on Country Life made sufficient specific recommendations and suggestions to start a fundamental redirection of effort as applied to rural development. The Report of the Commission will naturally be the diverging-point of future discussions of country-life problems. (Applause)
Chairman CLAPP-Ladies and Gentlemen: The hour grows late, and the Congress will stand adjourned for the day.
The Congress was called to order by President Baker in the Auditorium, Saint Paul, at 8.30 a.m. on Thursday, September 8, few Delegates being present, and none responding to an invitation to speak for their States. After waiting some time—
President BAKER—Ladies and Gentlemen: We will now go on with the regular program, leaving the Call of the States for a later time when the Delegations may be more fully represented. In the
absence of the Reverend Dr J. A. Krantz, President of the Minnesota Conference of the Swedish Lutheran Church, we will dispense with the public invocation. Professor Henry S. Graves, Chief Forester of the United States, will now address you on “The Forest and the Nation.”
Professor GRAVES-Mr President, Ladies and Gentlemen: The movement for the conservation of our natural resources has reached the second and most critical stage in its progress. The country has expressed in unmistakable terms its approval of the principles of Conservation; there is now before it the problem of the practical application of those principles. In forestry there is a very general agreement that our woodlands must be protected from fire, that waste must be reduced, and that a future timber supply must in some way be provided. In carrying out these purposes, differences of opinion arise, and it soon develops that with many persons the interest in forestry is confined to the abstract idea and does not extend to its practice. When the requirements of forestry are considered, forest owners usually find that they must make some modification in their methods of cutting, that they must use more care in protection from fire and in saving young growth, and that if they are to secure a new growth of trees after cutting, some investment is necessary. The general public learns that in order to secure for the Nation the permanent benefits of the forest, National and State expenditures are required. It is at this point that indifference and even opposition to Conservation arise. Indifference is shown by the public when it fails to make adequate appropriations for public forestry. Direct opposition appears from those who fear that their interests in one way or another may be adversely affected. There is a great deal of misunderstanding in regard to the methods of Conservation, and many have charged that those methods heretofore advocated are impractical. In order to be successfully applied, Conservation must be practical; but at the same time the methods must be such as will actually accomplish its real purposes. To my mind the real significance and value of this Congress is that an opportunity is afforded to make clear the methods of Conservation, and the country will then decide whether it will really be put into practice or become a mere name. It is not my intention now to dwell at length on the fundamental importance to the country of forest Conservation. To those who know the needs of the people for forest products, the available resources, and the manner in which they are now being used up or . destroyed, it must be clear that we are facing a problem which must be met by prompt and vigorous action. A survey of the forest resources of the world shows clearly that in the long run this Nation must be dependent chiefly on its own
supplies. Those who believe that we may destroy our own forests and then draw upon foreign resources of timber are misinformed as to the facts, for those supplies will not be long available. Foreign countries will need for their own use what they can produce, and many of the exporting countries are exhausting their forests just as rapidly as America. The timber supply in this country is being rapidly depleted. We are extravagant in our use of forest products; there is waste in logging and manufacturing, and the loss by fire is a shame to the country. To offset this reduction of merchantable resources the annual production of timber by growth amounts to much less than one-third the average quantity used and destroyed. In other words, we are actually exhausting our forest supplies by use and waste. There is a sufficient amount of land in the country better suited to forest growth than other purposes to produce all the wood and timber needed by the Nation, provided the forest is properly handled. This land includes mountain areas where the protection of the vegetation is necessary to conserve water and protect the slopes. The protective benefits of the forest can thus in most cases be secured at the same time as the production of wood and timber. There are, however, certain mountain regions of the West where large trees will not grow, and where the cover of brush and grass must be conserved to protect the slopes and to regulate the run-off of water. In these mountains special reservations must be maintained primarily for protective purposes. There is but little disagreement in regard to these simple propositions. The difficulty lies in the fact that the people do not appreciate the need of immediate action to put the principles of forestry into practice. The reason why prompt action is not appreciated is that, except locally, the effects of forest destruction have not yet been keenly felt. It is true that the prices of certain grades of lumber have tended to increase. This increase is in part due to the reduction of supplies, but it is due also to the same causes of increased cost of production as have raised the price of other manufactured commodities (applause). The development of railroad transportation and of methods of logging have constantly opened new forest resources and furnished a supply to the public. There are today over 30,000 saw-mills throughout the country cutting timber and competing for the market. Although the prices of lumber may seem high to the consumer it is still true that in some sections the competition among the manufacturers is keeping the prices down to a point where it is hard to market low grades and to utilize in full any but the best trees in the forest. As long as the value of timber is below what it would cost to produce it by growth, the general public will not realize that our supplies are being depleted. It is after the virgin supplies are exhausted—and that will come in a comparatively short time—that the great increase in values will come and the public will suffer. We are urging action now in order that there may be new supplies produced to meet the needs of the Nation at that time. (Applause) The general public fails also to appreciate the effect of forest destruction on stream-flow and on soil erosion. Some even go so far as to deny the connection between forests and stream-flow. There are many factors which determine the stability of water flow. Climate, character of soil, topography, and vegetative cover, all have an influence on the run-off of water. There may be a change of conditions of one or more of these influencing factors sufficient to upset the equilibrium established by nature, and alter the manner of run-off of the water in a given watershed (applause ). In humid regions, where the old timber is cut off or burned, a cover of young trees or brush often springs up quickly and protects the slopes before the character of the stream channels is changed. A single clearing of the forest may thus have only a small or temporary effect on water flow. The repeated destruction of the cover may, however, result in a permanent change, and finally produce torrent conditions. Thus in the Southern Appalachian province it is not so much the present and past conditions—although those are serious—which demand forest conservation, as what will inevitably be the result of continued destruction of the cover. (Applause) Where the conditions for forest growth are critical, and the soil and topography are such that the balance of nature is easily disturbed, the effects of forest destruction are much more quickly felt. In certain parts of the West we find already examples of flood and torrent conditions equal to those in France and Asia. For example, in Utah there are watersheds where, on account of the burning of the forests and the over-grazing of slopes, torrent conditions are already definitely established. One of the most extreme and striking instances in the West is found on the watershed of Kanab creek flowing through southern Utah and northern Arizona. As the result of over-grazing, the tributary streams have already become deep washes, and many new and deep gulchés have been formed running into the main channel and into the side channels. The water which falls on the surface is quickly carried to some stream or wash which becomes a miniature torrent. The gathering of these together in the main channel makes a flood which is irresistible. The loss from the destruction of dams and bridges, the washing away of arable lands, and the deposit of rocks and gravel on cultivated fields, has been enormous. The restoration of vegetation alone will not cure the evil. It is now an engineering problem to check the torrential flow of water in the various streams and washes. In spite of the increasing evidences of the effects of forest destruction, the public still fails to appreciate the need of prompt action to prevent the scarcity of timber and to protect the flow of our streams. The time for action is before a disaster and not afterward (applause). The small public investments necessary for forest protection are insignificant when contrasted with the losses and hardships to communities resulting from forest destruction. The forest problem is peculiarly difficult on account of the length of time required to produce timber of useful dimensions. We are using today trees which for the most part are from 150 to 200 years of age. The time required to produce trees suitable for lumber varies from about 40 years with our most rapid-growing species to over 100 years in many mountain regions. The production of timber requires a long investment. It requires the permanent use of land for forest growth, and a stable policy in handling the forest. At the present time in this country there is great risk from fire, which discourages investment by private capital in the growing of timber. By its very nature, therefore, the problem of forestry presents great difficulties to the average private owner of forest land who has bought the property to market the merchantable timber and not to grow treeS. Forestry nearly always involves an actual investment. Private owners will not as a rule make this investment unless there is clearly in sight an adequate return. On account of the long investment, risk from fire, a burdensome system of taxation of growing timber, and the present uncertainties of market, most private owners today are not practicing a system of forestry which takes into consideration the production of new timber supplies. Many say that if fires are kept out the question of forest production will take care of itself, no matter how the forest is handled, and that all there is to forestry is protection from fire. Let me say, and with all the emphasis I am capable of using, that forest production will not take care of itself. There are cases, and remarkable ones, of natural reproduction of forests even under the worst of abuse. But where there is no systematic provision for reproduction, ordinary lumbering results in the long run in a steady reduction of growth of valuable material; and there are only too many cases of destructive lumbering which leave the land in an unproductive state even when fires do not occur. (Applause) Forestry is necessary to guarantee to the people the continuous benefits of the forest. The responsibility of working out the problem of National forestry cannot be left with private owners. It is primarily a public question, and the burden of its solution must be largely borne by the public. In the first place those forests owned by the public must be protected and administered under the methods of practical forestry. These public forests comprise about one-third of the forest area of the country. The remaining two-thirds of our forests are in private ownership, and this includes about four-fifths of the remaining standing merchantable timber. Without doubt the area of the public forests will be considerably increased through the