Page images
PDF
EPUB

been husbanded with a prudence nowhere else exceeded and which challenges the closest scrutiny. The new States of the West, however, are not the only States that have received liberal grants of land. The act of July 2, 1862, for the endowment of agricultural colleges, granted to each State 30,000 acres of land in proportion to each of its Senators and Representatives in Congress. Under that act New York took 990,000 acres, Pennsylvania 780,000, Ohio 6:30,000, Massachusetts, 360,000, while Minnesota received only 120,000 acres. Whether Congress would now

DONATE LAND TO ENDOW

a school of forestry in this State might depend partly npon the beneficial effects such an institution could be expected to have in the future upon the timber lands of the United States situated in the limits of this State. What is the magnitude of these timber interests which have not yet passed into private hands, and how are they being economized ?

Admitting that the government has disposed of its best pine lands in Minnesota, yet, according to the best information your committee have been able to gather, there are from eight million to ten million acres of timber lands, including what is on Indian reservations, including, also, waste lands which are only fit for bearing timber, in the limits of Northern Minnesota, the title to which has not yet passed ta private individuals. The last report of the United States surveyor-general estimates the unsurveyed area in Northern Minnesota at 13,000,000 acres. The government has received only one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre for the greater part of its pine timber lands, even when they have been disposed of at sale. What is worse, however, it has, we are informed by the Commissioner of the General Land Office, been robbed of millions of acres of timber land by fraudulent use of the homestead laws, soldiers' additional homestead, and half-breed script. Under the system hitherto practiced, instances are not rare in this State where whole townships once covered with magnificent pine forest have been perfectly cleared of timber and are now desert wastes without å sign of timber regrowth, and so worthless that the owners have long since ceased to pay any taxes thereon.

Whether it is commonly known or not, it is nevertheless the fact, that the pine never can be propagated from the root or stump, as is the case with deciduous trees, and that regrowth can only be produced from the seed; also, that the young pine plant requires for a few years protection from the sun afforded by larger trees. When, therefore, a pine forest is at once wholly cut, nature is forever deprived of the means of the reproduction of pine on the same spot.

The present Commissioner of the General Land Office, in his report of 1876, said :

A NATIONAL CALAMITY

is being rapidly and surely brought upon the country by the useless destruction of the forests;” that the government, under the provisions of the pre enption and homestead laws, is granting a license to destroy millions of acres of pine forests of almost incalculable value, which should be preserved as a nation's heritage.” He characterizes this destruction of timber as

WICKED AND WANTON.”

It is worthy of notice that the then Secretary of the Interior, Zachariah Chandler, a man of experience in business as well as in government, “especially commended” the Commissioner's views. So the present Secretary of the Interior, in his annual report for 1878, says: “The disastrous consequences which always follow the destruction of the forests of a country are known to every well-informed man. These consequences. will inevitably come upon us in a comparatively short time, considering the rapidity with which tlie timber growth of this country is being swept away, unless legislation be adopted systematically to arrest this indiscriminate spoliation.”

This rapid consumption of timber without the government receiving any adequate return therefor is all the more to be deplored when one considers the real value of an acre of pine timber. It requires about one hundred and sixty years for an average pine tree, such as is cut for the market in our Minnesota pineries, to grow to maturity. Now, a dollar invested at 5 per cent. interest will double in twenty years. In forty years it will amount to $4; in one hundred and sixty years to $256. Suppose an acre of land on which young pines have started has cost $1; its value, allowing 5 per cent. increase, should be $256 at the expiration of one hundred and sixty years, and when the trees have scarcely matured, even without including any charges for taxes. This but feebly illustrates the enormity of the timber waste that has been going on for many years.

(No reliable data is at hand from which to calculate accurately the time required for the pine to grow to maturity in the forests of the Northwest. Emerson reports

pines in the Botanic Garden in Cambridge, Mass., the largest of which, at sixty-four years of age, measured 6 feet 8 inches around 3 feet from the ground. Levi Bartlett reports pines which have been cultivated in New Hampshire having a diameter of 10 to 20 inches at fifty years of age. According to reliable authority the pine in the northern part of Sweden requires two hundred, and on poorer ground three hundred, years to grow to good timber, while in the southern part of that country, which is quite fertile, one hundred years are sufficient.)

The evils of an improvident consumption of timber, having no regard to its reproduction, are many. There is danger of a scarcity of pine timber at no very distant day. Already the question of fuel is one which excites attention; so also the supply of railroad ties. Among other uses, wood is already being required for charcoal in the production of iron in this State. Besides, the effects of devastating the forests are serious in lessening the supply of water in the Mississippi. The observations during several successive years of Dr. Ebermayer, professor at the Forest Academy at Aschafenberg, Bavaria, showed that the rainfall is greater on wood lands than on open lands; also that the evaporation of water from wood lands is 64 per cent. less than from open lands. In Europe several of the

GREAT RIVERS HAVE DECREASED IN DEPTH

in consequence of extensive forest clearings. The Elbe, rising in Bohemia, where formerly the forests were cut in a reckless manner, diminished in depth ten feet in half a century. It is considered that a decrease in the Mississippi during the past thirty years can be attributed in part to the extensive timber cutting on its tributaries. Among other injurious phenomena resulting from forest devastations is a greater fatality of floods.

CONGRESS HAS STRONGLY COMMITTED ITSELF

to the policy of encouraging the growth of timber on the Western prairies by enacting laws on three different occasions to promote that object. Under these laws there were granted to private individuals in the year ending June 30, 1878, 1,870,434 acres of land. Seeing that the government is annually parting with a couple of million acres of its domain to encourage the growing of the more ordinary sorts of timber, it surely should not seem unreasonable to suppose it would be willing to make a moderate donation for a perpetual endowment of an institution calculated to promote the science and practice of forestry.

If schools of forestry were of recent origin and had received but limited trial, their introduction in this country might be of more doubtful expediency; but they have existed in Europe for nearly a century. They are no longer an experiment. They have been well tested. Their endowment and organization have, as a rule, been on a scale corresponding to what we understand in this country by a college, and it cannot be denied that they have given a great impulse to the growing of timber on waste lands and to the economical management of forests. It is owing much to the intuence of such institutions that one now finds, in various places—as for example on a considerable part of the coasts of France and of Denmark-luxuriant and magnificent forests where a century or two ago were nothing but naked and sterile hills of sand.

As Germany is the country, however, which has done more than any other to originate and advance the science of forestry, your committee have thought proper to quote the following brief sketch of one of the forest schools of that country, as given by the United States consul at Sonneberg, in a report published by the American Government in 1873:

THE ACADEMY AT EISENACII, being within the bounds of this consular district, shall be taken as an illustration in describing the course of instruction that is deemed necessary to make a good forester. This school was established as long ago as 1808, and was first carried on by a private gentleman, but in 1830 it was raised by the Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar to the rank of a government institution, and since that date it has been conducted under direction of the state. It is now under the superintendence of Dr. Grebe, and considered to be one of the best schools of forestry extant. The methods of study practiced at Eisenach, the qualifications required in students at matriculation, and the rules of management of the establishment, are not dissimilar from those of kindred institutions. Candidates for admission, whether of native or foreign birth, must show testimonials as to character, and undergo examination as to their ability, by previous preparation, to enter upon the course. The cost of instruction is placed at so low a figure that scarcely an impediment on this score is placed in the way of any youth who wishes to devote himseit, with the consent of his parents or guardians, to the pursuit of forestry. Mathematics, pure and mixed, are taught within the limits to which the applications of this science are necessary in the culture and management of the woods. For in.

66

stance, arithmetic, geometry, trigonometry, and stereometry must all be understood in order that a forester may reckon interest on capital invested, determine the value of a given piece of forest land, measure distances, compute the cubic contents of a group of trees, and ascertain the annual average increase of the same by growth. Natural philosophy, in its various divisions, is also taught, at least to the very great extent that a knowledge thereof is found to be requisite. The forester must be instructed in physics, chemistry, mineralogy, geology, meteorology, physiology, anatomy, botany, and zoology (particularly in ornithology and entomolgy). To these branches are added the study of civil and criminal law in its relations to forestry, and also the principles of national economy in the same sphere. Instruction is given in forest history, wood planting (with practical illustrations), caring for tlie young growth, modes of protecting the forests, and of using the timber, with excursions to the places where it is to be felled. For the purpose of practical study, the Forest Academy at Eisenach has under its control woodlands in its immediate neighborhood, and also at Wilhelmsthal and Ruhla, to which places excursions are made from time to time, and all the operations of forestry as an art are illustrated.”

The cousul goes on to state that the

SCIENTIFIC MANAGEMENT OF THE WOODS

This agrees

consists in securing an average annual income continuously, and he shows that the net income from the public forests in his district averages $2 a year per acre. substantially with results in Sweden, where, according to good authority, the annual growth of well-regulated forests is twenty cords per acre.

Now, right here, lest the superficial should imagine that the science of forestry and schools of forestry are not suited to our form of government, let it be answered that they are found practicable and useful in republican Switzerland and France, as well as in Germany and Russia, in Italy and in Sweden. Happily, science is independent of forms of government. Nor is there any principle more firmly settled in the United States than that the government should foster education.

Some, perhaps, will be inclined to smile when they hear the high-sounding subjects which are taught at a school of forestry. “Entomology!” exclaims one, “what have we got to do with that?" Yet that is a subject on which the people of Minnesota have expended thousands of dollars. It is the science of insects, including the grasshopper. Though science employs a vocabulary somewhat unfamiliar, her objects are none the less praiseworthy. It is a striking fact that the principal scientific institution in the United States, the Smithsonian Institution at Washington, was founded by the munificence of an enlightened foreigner, James Smithson. A government, however, like that of the United States cannot afford to wait for private benefaction to render that aid to science which it ought itself to grant. It will not do so. It has a high and enlightened appreciation of what is due to science, as shown by its coast surveys and its numerous explorations on land and water. Congress appropriated $175,000 in money, and employed two public vessels besides, to convey parties for observations of the transit of Venus in 1874. The London Times said, referring to this : “The United States lead all other nations in respect both of the amount of money which her government has contributed and of the discomfort, not to say dangers, of the stations she has chosen in the southern seas.

Posts of importance, which were given up as too hopelessly miserable even for enthusiastic English astronomers, will be occupied by Americans.” Thus we see that our country is disposed to be liberal in her patronage of science, and that mankind are quick to notice and acknowledge all she does in that behalf. Nothing wins so much honor for a country as its endowments for science.

Mr. James Brown, a leading British authority on forestry, says: “It has become a matter of very considerable importance to railway. companies, miners, and others who use wood to a large extent, to adopt some process of preparing their timber before they use it.” And he states that “this is a subject on which there is yet a great want of correct information.” When we think of the innumerable uses to which timber is put in the varied industries of civilization, of the taxation incurred for bridges, not to speak of the calamities which occur from ignorance of the quality and strength of timber, it must be admitted by every ne that a scientific school designed to impart instruction in these and kindred matters would be ar important acquisition to our everyday industrial interests.

But the decisive reason for or against the endowment of such an institution is the effect it can be expected to have on the pine timber and the waste lands that are only fit for bearing timber. These lands, as has been stated, comprise a vast area. Administered according to the practice heretofore in vogue and justly characterized by the Commissioner of the General Land Office as “ wicked and wanton,” they are likely to become and remain a mere howling and barren waste; but, administered properly, and with due regard to the reproduction of timber, they would become one of the most valuable resources of the State. Judging from the ample experience of other countries,

*

the committee are of the opinion that a school of forestry would help very much, directly and indirectly, in bringing into practice au improved management of the timber lands, and they therefore recommend the adoption of a memorial by this chamber for the endowment of such a school.

The committee assume that if an endowment should be provided for a school of forestry, all necessary precautions would be taken to secure an institution of the very highest order of excellence; that it would be furnished with everything needful for its usefulness, and with instructors of tried and acknowledged fitness for their positions, so that the school would soon take rank with the best schools of forestry in the world. Your committee would hope to see at its head some one equal to an Agassiz.

The average number of pupils attending the forest school of Newstadt-Eberswalde, near Berlin, is 57 in the summer and 54 in the winter; attending the school at Tharanadt, near Dresden, 75; number attending the forest school at Zurich, Switzerland, 24. (See Hough's Report on Forestry, 617, 626.)

PIYE TIMBER-LAND OWNERS

in this State now employ examiners at $5 a day, besides expenses, to explore, examine, estimate, and report upon the timber thereon, such persons having no special training or education in forestry science. Work of this sort requires persons of trustworthy character, and none should be admitted as pupils to a school of forestry who are lacking in that respect. As the value of pine-timber land increases, which it is sure to do, there can hardly be a doubt that graduates of a school of forestry would obtain reasonably remunerative employment from the proprietors of timber lands. Nicollet made his tour to the headwaters of the Mississippi forty-two years ago. Owen passed over the portions of Minnesota thirty-one years ago. Their explorations were limited, and yet what a high value is set upon their reports. Such is the value always placed on the observations of true men of science. Suppose the men employed as examiners and managers of forests possessed a thorough scientific forestry education, might we not expect that their observations would prove of much value?

In regard to the location of the school, your committee have considered whether it would or not be advisable to connect it with the agricultural college and make it a part of the university. An objection to doing so is that the agricultural interests of the State will be of such magnitude in the future as to require the exclusive benefit of the resources and accommodations of the agricultural college, its endowment being comparatively small for so large a State as Minnesota. Some benefit ought to be expected, too, from a spirit of rivalry in distinguished achievements between two scientific institutions, the one relating to agriculture, the other to forestry, which could not have effect were they united. The most, and it is believed the best, of forest schools in Europe are separate from any other institution. Some of the best institutions of learning the world over are now found at the principal centers of population, and the tendency is more and more to found such institutions at capitals of population and of business. It is of immense importance to them to come in contact with the business world and with leading men of affairs. They can also be more cheaply conducted at such centers than at remote and thinly populated localities. The Prussian Forest School at Neustadt-Eberswalde is within less than an hour's distance by rail from Berlin. The Saxon Forest School of Tharanadt is within half an hour of Dresden by rail. The Forest Institute, of Stockholm, adjoins the city, yet having ample experimental grounds. Influenced by precedents and considerations like the above, and because this city is the capital of the State and convenient of access, your committee recommend the location of the school at Saint Paul.

THE COMMITTEE ARE ADVISED

by persons best informed in such matters, that not more than $1.25 per acre could be
realized on the average for any lands in this State that might hereafter be granted by
Congress. Three hundred sections of land at $1.25 per acre would make an endow-
ment fund which, with interest at 4 per cent., would ultimately yield an annual in-
come of $9,600. This would be none too much, and perhaps hardly enough, for a first-
class institution of the sort, the tuition being free, as should be the case. In drawing
a bill for the proposed grant the committee have followed as closely as practicable the
wording of the agricultural college act of July 2, 1862. A clause in that act, adopted
in the accompanying bill, provides that no part of the endowment or interest thereon
shall ever be used for constructing or repairing any building. This leaves it to the
State or private bounty to provide the buildings and keep them in repair.
Respectfully submitted.

C. C. ANDREWS.
L. B. HODGES.
W. R. MARSHALL.

The Memorial.

To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States in Congress assembled :

Your memorialists, the Chamber of Commerce of the city of Saint Paul, respectfully represent that it appears from the annual reports of the Secretary of the Interior and the Commissioner of the General Land Office for several successive years last past that the valuable timber lands of the United States have been rapidly disposed of without the government receiving adequate compensation therefor; that these lands, especially on the headwaters of the Mississippi River, have been so lavishly denuded of their timber as to make a scarcity of pine timber imminent, and to injure the capacity of said river for navigation.

Your memorialists are informed and believe that the United States still possess several million acres of timber land in the northern part of Minnesota, including waste lands that are only fit for bearing timber, and they deem it important to the public interest that improved methods be speedily adopted for the administration of these lands with a view to the production, preservation, and prudent consumption of timber thereon.

Your memorialists have ascertained that in several European states, whose governments have for centuries cared for the regrowth and preservation of forests, there have been established and maintained at public expense schools for theoretical and practical instruction in forestry which have proved eminently useful. There are in Europe thirty seven schools of forestry, of which twenty-two are separate and fifteen are connected with agricultural or polytechnic institutions.

Althongh the United States are by nature more richly endowed with forests than almost auy other country, there has never been established in this country, so far as your menioralists are informed, any institution specially designed to promote the science and practice of forestry. It has, however, come to be the opinion of the most enlightened people of this country that some measures should be promptly adopted looking to a more economical management of timber lands, and your memoralists believe that one measure towards this important object might well be the endowment by Congress of a school of forestry. They therefore recommend that provision be made for such an institution, to be located where it can be the most generally useful. On account, however, of the extensive timber-land property in the United States in the limits of the State of Minnesota, and of the great area of land on the sources of the Mississippi which is only adapted to timber-growing, it would seem that Minnesota would be the most suitable State in which to locate a school of forestry. Your memorialists are of the opinion that such a school should furnish instruction in the theory and practice of forestry substantially after the plan of the best administered schools of the kind in Europe, so far as our climate and soil admit; that the theoretical instructions should take place mainly at the principal seat of the school, where also should be grounds for experimental forestry; and that branch stations, under charge of the school, should be maintained in the pine-timber regions for practical forestry; also stations on prairie lands for experimental tree-culture suited to prairie regions.

Believing such an institution, liberally endowed and properly conducted, would at present as well as in the future prove of great practical benetit to the important timber interests of the Northwest and the various mechanical and industrial pursuits depending thereon; also that it would help to create and diffuse correct sentiments in respect to the enforcement of law in regard to timber lands of the government, your memoralists respectfully ask that Congress will donate 300 sections of land to the State of Minnesota as an endowment of a school of forestry, and that said school be located at the city of Saint Paul, the capital of said State. Your memoralists would refer to an accompanying form of a bill as containing some of the conditions they would like to see adopted for the inviolability of the proposed endowment.

The Proposed Bill. AN ACT to aid in the endowment of a school of forestry at Saint Paul, Minnesota. Be it enacted, Sc., That there are hereby granted to the State of Minnesota, for the purpose hereinafter mentioned, three hundred sections of public lands, to be selected by an agent to be appointed by the governor of said State, subject to the approval of the Secretary of the Interior: Provided, That said lands shall be selected from the public lands lying within the limits of the said State of Minnesota, and that not more than two sections thereof shall be selected in any one township: Provided further, That said selections shall not be made from mineral lands.

SEC. 2. That the said lands so granted shall be disposed of by said State on the most advantageous terms. That all moneys derived from the sale thereof shall be invested

« PreviousContinue »