Imágenes de páginas

Aside from legislation pertaining to weeds, plant diseases, and insect pests, there is little that can be done directly to enforce Conservation measures. The friction encountered in enforcing even this body of laws indicates the difficulties that arise when public restrictions come into conflict with private enterprises. True, it is a crime to waste the fertility of the soil on which the very existence of the race depends; but until all our traditions change, the only punishment that will be visited upon the offender is not from the legally constituted State but from nature herself. He whose will is to rob and skin the land may not be reached by legal process, but he must be taught that the penalties which an outraged nature exacts are as inexorable as the Blind Goddess ever pronounced. While there always will be fools that can learn only in the school of experience, yet the great majority are glad to find an easier and cheaper way. Back of the Conservation of the farm must lie the education of the rarmer; and greater than all the other problems of Conservation is this one. We are barely entering upon this field, for the reason that the fund of knowledge upon which this education is to be based has been but recently acquired. Our knowledge of the soil in its relation to plant growth, the control of plant diseases, and the laws of plant improvement, have all come to us in recent years. Still, much as there is yet to determine, there is already a vast fund of knowledge of untold worth; but means are not yet provided for making it useful and effective. Speaking for North Dakota, such natural resources as she possesses, aside from her soils, are being well protected and conserved through public measures already in force. Her vast fields of lignite coal underlain with valuable clays have been withdrawn from homestead entry, and hereafter only surface rights in these lands will be granted. Such forests as the State originally had have long since passed into private hands, and the land has mostly been cleared for farming. In North Dakota, forestry, like agriculture, will be operated by the individual land owners for their direct if not immediate benefit. It may be found advisable to plant public forests in parts of the Bad Lands and other rough areas, but by far the greater part of tree planting will be done upon small areas on the individual farms. The State already encourages such planting by a bounty paid in the remission of taxes. This is not enough. The land owner in most cases does not know what trees will prove the most profitable, nor how they may best be grown. Here again the one necessity is education. Object lessons in tree-planting should be established in each community, and all pupils in the public schools should be shown how to grow a grove of trees. . Such a system would produce immeasurably greater results in the way of timber production than would come from the public forests, important as these doubtless are. But agricultural education will conserve something more than the fertility of the soil and the vitality and purity of our crops. It means also the conservation of a prosperous, virile, self-dependent, and intelligent people. It means a prosperous people, for no cost of education of the right kind was ever known to impoverish a people, and no expenditure rightly made could ever equal the gain. Conservation can never be expected of the ignorant. Conservation is but the larger and more altruistic expression of the term known as thrift; and ignorance and poverty know it not. The means for extending and improving agricultural education will develop and expand in the same measure that we apply ourselves to the problem. Agricultural colleges have not rendered, the assistance that they should in extending agricultural education, because their field has been too restricted. Excellent as their instruction may be, it reaches only a very small percentage of our people directly. Their scope and activities must be enlarged till their influence is felt in every community. They should not be shut out from participating in the work of general education as they now are in many instances. In a measure we repudiate the findings of science, and discount the progress we have made, in not providing a wider application for our researches. There is at present no adequate means for the dissemination of the vast body of knowledge that alone will save to us our own great underlying industry of agriculture. The world has oftentimes tried the experiment of building a State upon other foundations than that of a conservative agriculture and an intelligent and prosperous agricultural class, and always with the same fatal outcome. The grandeur of cities, the glory and might of great armies, the highest culture in the arts, and the noblest of religions and philosophies, will not suffice to save the nation that knows not nature and defies her laws. That State but hastens the day of its own destruction that fails to train its citizens in the right use and management of their land holdings. No jealous interest of whatever worth in itself should be given consideration at the expense of that which maintains all of our interests. North Dakota has been favored by nature with a soil so productive that, properly tilled and conserved, it will feed one-tenth of the present population of the entire Nation. It is an asset such as few nations ever possessed, and it should be so safeguarded that its great contribution to the Nation's existence may steadily increase. The one way to do this is to teach the land owners that Conservation in agriculture means not only patriotism and good citizenship but prosperity as well, that useful education at any price is always cheap and ignorance costly, and that no values can be more stable and certain than those lying in productive farm lands. The patriotic sentiment that leads men to sacrifice time and money that our natural resources may be conserved is most commendable. Of still more service is he who aids in developing a system of education that shall teach men to conserve the natural resources entrusted to their own hands. The task is a great one, but not beyond the range of possibility; and upon its successful accomplishment rests the welfare of the whole Nation.

Ohio State University
Chairman Erecutive Committee of the Society for Horticultural Science

The welfare of our country, as well as that of the States composing it, depends on a wise Conservation of its rich and varied natural resources. Many of these resources have been so bountiful, and apparently so inexhaustible, that we have drawn upon them without a thought of their limitations of the dire effects of their exhaustion.

Speaking especially for Ohio, I trust it will be understood that by “Conserva; tion” I mean an honest effort to make that State a good one to live in for all of us now there, and for all who may come after us.

In addition to the three problems named below, other Conservation questions will doubtless require attention; but for these, every instinct of justice and humanity insists that we accord them instant and earnest consideration.

1—The Forestry Problem

I place this first, because the influence of the forests is so far-reaching, and we have no clear-cut, well-defined policy in Ohio designed to preserve, improve, and extend our forests.

Ohio has an area of 41,000 square miles, and has been tremendously rich in hardwood timber. We have cut down this timber most improvidently, with no effort to restore the supply, and so far as the State is concerned are now on the verge of a timber famine. In 1900, according to the Twelfth United States Census, Ohio ranked seventh as a lumber-producing State, being exceeded by Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New York, Minnesota, and Maine. Since then she has dropped to the nineteenth rank, and bids fair, in the near future, unless prompt and vigorous action is taken, to have so little timber left as not to be rated at all. The effects of this wholesale removal of our forests may be briefly summarized as follows:

(1) We are compelling those who come after us to pay an almost prohibitive price for lumber, and are likely to see an end of some of the most important wood. consuming industries of the State. As a source of wood supply our forests touch the interests of all. We are a universally wood-consuming as well as food-consuming people.

(2) The recent floods in the river-valleys of Ohio, which have caused losses of life and of property valued at millions, have followed and will continue to follow the denudation of our hills by excessive tree-cutting, followed by fire.

(3) In many places the erosion or wash caused by the rapid run-off of the rain and melting snow is reducing the deforested hills to barren wastes, and is covering much of the fertile soil of the valleys with sterile sand and gravel.

The forest problem is the great Conservation problem in Ohio. It affects the State, because it concerns every citizen of the State, and it can only be solved by action of the State and the Nation.

2—The Waterway Problem

In my opinion this question comes next in importance. By waterways I mean not only navigable streams and canals, but power sites on non-navigable as well

as navigable streams. If the forests are properly managed, water will be an unfailing source of power. No few men, nor any special interest, should control these sources of power, for this means a control of all industry that depends on power. Our waterways may not be so enormously valuable as those of some other States, and this is all the more reason why they should be conserved for the public good. We shall be needlessly mortgaging the future by allowing any special class or interest to use our waterways and water-power sites without making some direct payment for these valuable privileges. This is important not only for State revenue, but as a recognition of the principle that what belongs to the people should not be absolutely surrendered to private interests. There is great value in our undeveloped water-power. An engineer's inventory of all the waters of the State, with their possibilities of power, would cause Ohio to sit up and take notice. If forests and waterways were properly conserved, we would hear less from railroads and power companies of the enormous bill of expense from floods at one time, and loss from low water at another.

3—The Min cral Problem

Ohio is rich in coal, oil, gas, stone, clay, sand, and other mineral resources. These should be carefully catalogued, so that the people could know more about the material assets of the State.

Mineral lands should be sold only to those who are prepared to develop them, and under conditions that will prevent the improvident waste of reckless exploitation. For the present it is probable that the actual development or working of the mineral properties of the State can best be done by private interests acting under some public control, but the State has no moral right to permit such valuable privileges to pass from its control for nothing in return. It is only by some form of National and State Conservation that we can secure an abundant and continuous supply of such primal necessities as wood, water-power, and coal.

The control of animal diseases and of insect and fungus pests that are spread by interstate transportation, and the preservation of migratory birds, which are our best allies in fighting injurious insects, are vital subjects for the consideration of a National Conservation Congress. The control and destruction of enemies and the protection and multiplication of friends by the concentrated and cooperative action of the States are subjects that clearly come within the scope and interest of National Conservation. Conservation can only be effective bv good laws faithfully executed. By proper legislation we can encourage the reforestation of our denuded hillsides and stimulate the planting and care of valuable timber trees through relieving such land from undue taxation. Timber should be taxed like other property, when cut; but to tax land and its timber crop every year is manifestly unjust. In order to rightly conserve our forests we should furnish good opportunities for young men to become well trained in forestry. For this our schools of forestry must be well equipped. I am pleased to state that Ohio has made a splendid beginning in this direction; and there is no reason, if properly supported, why this centrally located State should not have one of the best forestry schools in the country. What is needed to properly investigate the conditions and formulate a Conservation policy for the State is a good Conservation Commission. In addition to this, we need more thought, more study, more science, on the part of the public, concerning the natural resources of the State, with less blind devotion to the old ways and means of doing things, which if ever judicious, have long ceased to be so.


I have the honor to represent as a Delegate to this Congress the Muskogee Commercial Club of Muskogee, one of the leading organizations of Oklahoma, under the influence of which the city of Muskogee grew from a town of 4,000 inhabitants in 1900 to its present population of 30,000.

A distinguished citizen of a neighboring State, on a recent visit to our city, constituted himself a Grand Jury and indicted each citizen of larceny. He charges that Oklahoma for years had been stealing from the other States of the Union some of their best brain and brawn, until now we have approximately two mil

lions of the choicest sons and daughters of the American Republic. To this indict`... --- ~~... offer or reelves for arraignment before this Congress. and n!ead guilty, and we are ready to receive our sentence without a plea that justice be tempered with mercy. As to other charges of wrongdoing on the part of some of Oklahoma's distinguished sons, which have been much heralded in the press, I most emphatically enter a plea of “Not guilty,” either in law or morals; and time will completely vindicate them.

The resources of Oklahoma are vast, far beyond the conception or knowledge of those who have resided within her borders for many years. Conservation is of particular importance to us, for yet our resources are practically in their virgin state. We heartily join hands with you of our sister States in this great movement, in my opinion due to the work and wisdom of Gifford Pinchot more than any other American citizen. However, his ideas and earnestness were very fully and heartily appreciated by that foremost American, Theodore Roosevelt, to whom for his great work in inaugurating and fostering Federal Conservation we give honor.

Chief among our resources are the vast variety of agricultural products which grow in great abundance. In the same field may be seen growing enormous yields of corn, cotton, oats, wheat, and alfalfa. No other State can excel Oklahoma in the production of these products. We join the great corn-belt of Illinois and Iowa in singing the song of Whittier—

Heap high the farmer's wintry hoard,
Heap high the golden corn;

No richer gift has autumn poured
From out her lavish horn.

Let other lands exulting glean
The apple from the pine,

The orange from its glossy green,
The cluster from the vine.

We better love the hardy gift
Our rugged vales bestow,

To cheer us when the storm shall drift
Our harvest fields with snow.

The following extract is from the First Biennial Report of the Oklahoma State Board of Agriculture:

“Oklahoma is the greatest country on earth, not only because we can grow everything here that can be grown anywhere else in the United States, but because many crops we can grow here are decidedly more profitable than are crops of like character in many other sections of the country.”

We join our sister States of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, and others in the endeavor to conserve their vast deposits of coal, not solely from patriotic motives, but also because of our extensive coal, oil, and gas fields, only a small part of which have vet been developed. The supply of timber in the eastern and southeastern portions of our State is worthy of the consideration and protection of the Conservation movement. Particularly rich is our. State, in its streams of water and its water-power. The principal rivers are the Arkansas, the Grand, the Verdegris, the Canadian, the Cimarron, the Washita, and the Red, the latter forming the boundary between Oklahoma and Texas. These streams within themselves contain great resources, yet in the virgin state, awaiting but to be developed and utilized by American genius.

I know of no more appropriate way of closing my statement than in the words of Colonel John A. Joyce—

The rolling hills and mountains,
Without their forest dress
Will soon bring to the Nation
Great hunger and distress;
And if we do not listen
To the scientific strain,
The soil of grand Columbia
Will be washed away by rain.

Brave nature in her glory
Works for animated things,
And tells the old, old story
Of feeding serfs and kings;
But man, obtuse and greedy,
Will not listen in his pain
To the poor, and weak, and needy,
Who must live by sun and rain.

We must save the soil and water,
Or a desert there will be
For wife, and son, and daughter,
In this land of Liberty.
And the Congress of the Nation,
Must now listen to the brain
Of our scientific sages
Who would husband soil and rain.

Assistant Secretary Oregon Conservation Commission

Oregon's chief Conservation advances of late have been the passage of progressive water laws, by the effort of the State Conservation Commission, and the progress of private timber owners in the prevention of forest fires. The most urgent task now on hand is to secure more liberal State aid in forest protection. Immediately following the Conference of Governors at the White House in 1908, Governor Chamberlain appointed for Oregon a Conservation Commission of 15 members. This semi-official Commission was reduced to 7 members, and given statutory standing and a small appropriation, by Act of Legislature filed February 23, 1909. Its work is “To ascertain and make known the natural resources of the State of Oregon, and to cooperate with the National Conservation Commission to the end that the natural resources of the State may be conserved and put to the highest use.” No legislative session has been held since the statutory Commission was appointed. In its earlier form, however, it recommended and secured the passage, by the same Legislature which gave it official standing, of a workable law for the development of Carey act projects, and one for complete State control of waters within the State. Both have proved excellent, no defects of importance having developed. The Oregon water law, in particular, is generally regarded as an example of good State action. It is based on the police power of the State to preserve the public peace and safety of its water users. Under this law, rights to the use of water for power development are limited to a period of 40 years. A simple and expeditious method is provided for determining early water rights, protecting existing rights, and acquiring new rights. Prior rights are determined by a Board of Control consisting of the State Engineer and the division superintendents of the two water divisions into which the State is divided. Established rights are protected by a water master in each district of a division, acting under the direction of the division superintendent. He may make arrests and compel the installment of suitable devices for controlling the use of water. New rights are granted by certificate of the Board of Control, after proof, under a system based on priority of application and beneficial use. Water for irrigation is made appurtenant to the land irrigated. Oregon also has a law providing for a State tax, on a horsepower basis, upon water-power projects. Oregon has a non-partisan State Board of Forestry, consisting of representatives of the industries and agencies chiefly concerned in forest management and protection; also an excellent forest code, so far as punitive and regulative provisions are concerned. It lacks appropriation or machinery to make this code effective. To secure such provision by the next Legislature is the chief present work of the Commission. The Commission works under the plan of attacking one point at a time, instead of dissipating efforts among all the improvements needed. Water and water-power were felt to be the most urgent, forestry is considered next, and when the forest laws are made satisfactory, other branches of Conservation will receive concentrated effort. There is also an Oregon Conservation Association which, under the same plan, is now chiefly devoted to carrying out the work of the State Board of Forestr for which no appropriation exists. Its secretary is secretary of the State Board. and the funds of the Association help to pay postage and clerical help derived by the State. Under an alliance called the Oregon Forest Fire Association, affiliated in turn with the Western Forestry and Conservation Association embracing five States from Montana to California, a large number of the private forest owners of Oregon cooperate to secure better protection from forest fires. These owners spend from $50,000 a year upward for patrol and fire-fighting, their employees having authority from the State as fire wardens.

« AnteriorContinuar »