Page images
PDF
EPUB

tem has been worked out to fit in with this governing principle, or has followed as a natural result. It is this principle, rather than any detail of cupping or chipping or climate or manufacture that marks the fundamental difference between our practice and the French system.

It is perhaps true that the French, keen thinkers as they are, were driven to the adoption of this principle by the limitations of the situation as they found the Landes a hundred years or more ago. It may be contended that, facing no such limitations, but on the contrary finding themselves possessed of an apparently inexhaustible supply of turpentine timber, already mature and often in demand for lumber, the pioneers of our industry were fully justified in following a different principle. We won't quarrel over that; what has passed is history but we are now facing a set of conditions that differs radically from what our forebears found. The inexhaustible timber is about gone and the gum naval stores of the South must in the not far distant future be derived from second growth timber. We are today where the French were when they started, and the fundamental principle they have followed so successfully is now as sound for us as it has proved to be for them.

Not only is it sound, but, in the opinion of men much more closely in touch with the conditions in the southern pine region than I am, it is now possible of application over a considerable portion of the naval stores belt.

To apply the principle of continuous production profitably, either here or in France, it must, of course, be brought down to the individual unit of operation, and the methods of extracting gum and utilizing timber must be adapted to take full advantage of the conditions in the particular operation without seriously affecting the welfare and growth of the timber. This is about how it is done in the Landes. A well established turpentine plant owns its timber in the form of fifteen or more tracts or lots, each of which has a stand of a different agefor instance, tract number one will be covered with a stand of five year old seedlings; tract number two with young saplings ten years old; tract three, fifteen years old, and so on. Tract fifteen will be a stand seventy years old. The stands below twenty years of age, which are nearly always the result of natural seeding and very dense, are gone over periodically and

thinned out by cutting to speed up the growth. In the tracts that contain stands twenty to thirty years old the thinning continues but the trees to be removed are first turpentined heavily, then cut and sold. The object of each of these thinnings is to remove the poorer trees and leave the best trees to grow at an accelerated rate. As a consequence the tract that contains the thirty year old timber shows a fine, evenly spaced stand of fast growing, big crowned trees, each as sound as a dollar and ready for the long time working now to commence. There are as a rule from seventy to one hundred and twenty of these trees to the acre, depending on the quality of the soil.

Each of the tracts that contain thirty year and older timber is worked as follows. One face three and one-half inches wide is placed on each tree and is worked for four years. The tract is then abandoned for from two to three years in order to rest, the operation being shifted in the meantime to some other lot that has had its rest. After the period of rest, another face is made on the back of the tree and working continued four years. The tract is again rested, then a new face is started; and so on during a period of forty years until the tree reaches seventy years of age when it is generally ready for the sawmill and is felled and manufactured. There is always sufficient seed in the duff after the felling to bring on a heavy growth of seedlings within a year after felling. Planting is only resorted to in case fire sweeps over a young stand before it has reached seed bearing size.

The chipping is done every five days, oftener in July and August, with a tool that looks something like a twisted foot adze. The chipping is about one-half inch deep and the face resembles somewhat a shallow gutter extending up the tree. The gum is caught in a earthenware cup like ours, but smaller. The narrowness of the faces and the rapid growth of the trees allow a rapid healing of the face so that continued working is possible without seriously retarding the growth of the tree or rapidly reducing its productive capacity.

By this process of management and chipping the still receives a steady income of gum, the sawmill a steady income of sawlogs, and the wood yard a steady income of mine timbers, poles, posts, ties, fuel wood and charcoal, and at the same time

the worked out lots are being reforested; and a new crop is being grown with which to continue the circle of production.

I have given you this account of French chipping methods simply to round out the description of their manner of oper: ating. I am certainly not going to advocate any, wholesale acceptance of French methods for use in this country for Fim: satisfied that once the principle of continuous forest production by units of operation is accepted, American ingenuity will invent methods of chipping, cupping and utilization that will give the desired results and at the same time be adapted to the circumstances of labor, markets and finances peculiar to our country. The Forest Service has been conducting a comparative test of the French method of chipping on the Florida National Forest for the past several years, and a bulletin concerning it is now being prepared for the press. The author of that bulletin, Mr. E. K. McKee, is at this meeting and I will not steal his thunder. I am sure you will find his conclusions interesting. Seeing is believing. Proposal for trip to France.

To start one of their sustained yield units of operation, the French had to go through the laborious process of draining the land and then planting it. Men of vision have the opportunity now and right here in Georgia, as well as in other parts of the naval stores belt, to build up such units by the purchase of land already satisfactorily stocked with young growth at the price of the land alone. The greater part of the vast acreage of cutover pine land in the South will not be needed for agriculture for many years; a very large part of it will never have a higher use than that of growing timber crops. With soil, climate, species and location near the great markets all in its favor, the opportunity for profitable timber growing on these lands is unquestionably great. When we add to these favorable factors the possibility of making the trees pay their way, and a profit besides, through producing naval stores while they are growing to maturity. It can be said with truth that the South stands first in the United States as a field for forestry.

Nor is the production of naval stores the only medium through which pines may be made to pay early returns and yield revenue while growing to maturity. The paper industry is confronted by the necessity of finding new woods from which to manufacture pulp and it is spreading south. Already seven

teen pulp and paper mills are in operation in the longleaf belt with a capital investment of over $15,000,000, and more are coming. Pulp mills make a ready market for the small trees worked out and cut in the process of thinning the growing stands as well as for the older material that sawmills cannot vtilize. : Then, too, there is the wood turpentine industry with its demand for stump wood and light wood as a market for one of the products of timber growing. Properly managed grazing of cattle and sheep is another source of profit from forest lands. A large proportion of the income of the Government's National Forests is derived from this source.

There is every reason to look with optimism for steady advances in the value of standing timber in the country at large, and especially of longleaf pine with its dual use. Average stumpage prices for this species have doubled since 1910 and the value of the second growth has increased even more in the same period. As an indication of the rise in the values of turpentine leases, I may cite our experience on the Florida National Forest. In 1909 we granted three year leases on virgin timber at the rate of $50 per thousand cups. In 1924 our leases were made on the basis of $275 per M for virgin timber. When our foreign customers have covered their purchasing power, it is reasonable to look forward to a greatly increased demand for the products of our pineries and I believe that we may expect that the trend in values will continue to be upward for a number of years to come.

If I have made myself clear, it must be apparent that the production of naval stores should be an essential part of the practice of forestry in the southern pineries. It has been, I know, the fashion for many years to damn turpentine orcharding as a destructive agency in our pine woods, but as I said before, let's forget the past and prepare for a new era. continue to exist at all, this industry must radically change its viewpoint and its methods. By so doing it will at once cease to be an agency of destruction, a plague of locusts as it were, and become a direct and powerful factor in forest conservation, the key industry that will make the rejuvenation of southern pine lands a practicable and profitable thing. When this comes to pass—and not before—we will see the chief emphasis placed upon the continuous production of resin-making trees rather than where it is now, upon the marketing of their products. Then we will see turpentine farming acquire the standing it has in France as a permanent, progressive and lucrative calling in which men engage generation after generation with profit to themselves and with the satisfaction and self-respect that comes of knowing that they are building and not destroying.

"PROLONGING THE LIFE OF THE NAVAL STORES INDUSTRY—THE PRODUCER'S PART"

MR. L. V. PRINGLE

VICE-PRESIDENT GILLICAN-CHIPLEY CO., INC. This is a very important problem which confronts one of the great industries of the South in which there is engaged about 1,200 producers and many thousand employees all of whom are face to face with the problem of prolonging the Naval Stores Industry producing gum turpentine and rosin from living pine trees, if not they must find other means of livelihood.

The naval stores industry is an essential industry. Essential in the economic life of the South as it represents actual creation of wealth to the extent of forty-five to sixty millions of dollars annually. Essential to the consumer as it furnishes him with a raw material much cheaper than other raw materials which he would be compelled to use. It replaces fats and tallows so that oils are available for edible purposes. Replaces imported fossil gums and makes possible the use of china-wood oil, making a cheap, efficient, waterproof varnish. Many industries are built on the expectation of having available a continual supply of these materials.

It is necessary, therefore, that our raw material—the tree, be made available for future production. This means the efficient utilization of the trees now standing and this in turn means to work a tree in such a way that it will produce the amount of turpentine and rosin which it is capable of producing before being cut. This cannot be done by tapping the small, immature tree. This practice means the using of the tree ahead of time and, therefore, depriving the country of a source of supply in later years.

There is another phase to the question and that is, the working of the small timber creates an erratic ratio of supply and

« PreviousContinue »