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86   COMMISSION OF CONSERVATION

which the timber is generally poor and scattering. Assuming this vast inaccessible area to contain 200 million feet of spruce saw-timber, we have, roughly, for the whole of Saskatchewan a total of only 3,500 million feet of spruce of saw-timber size, of which not quite two-thirds is accessible at present.

Estimate for   \Vhile no detailed study has been made in Manitoba Manitoba and and Alberta, a very rough indication may perhaps be

Alberta. secured by applying the averages found in Saskatchewan. If this be done, we would have for Manitoba about 2,500 million feet of spruce, and for Alberta, some 6,000 million feet, making a rough total for the Prairie provinces of 12,000 million feet of spruce saw-timber.

While these figures are for the most part only rough approximations, they indicate clearly the depleted condition of these forests, and, before the advent of the white man, which has so generally been followed by large and destructive fires, they, undoubtedly, contained many times their present stand of timber. With adequate protection from future fires, these great areas would gradually re-establish their former productivity of timber wealth.

REPRODUCTION STUDY IN BRITISH COLUMBIA

During the past summer, an investigation was made by the Commission, to determine the conditions tinder which the reproduction of commercial tree species is occurring most advantageously in the coastal region of British Columbia. Particular attention was paid to the effect of fire upon the reproduction of Douglas fir, which is the most valuable and most widely distributed species in the province. The study was conducted by Dr. C. D. Howe, of the Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto. In this work the British Columbia Forest Branch co-operated by assigning a forest assistant to work with Dr. Howe, and by furnishing a considerable amount of information avail-able from the head office in Victoria. The report is now being put in shape for publication.

The report emphasizes the fact that the popular assumption that nature alone will provide satisfactorily for the replacement of valuable commercial forests on cut-over and burned-over lands is only partially true. Nature is oftentimes wasteful in her methods, and needs to be aided by man in order to secure the best results. This is particularly true with regard to forest resources. The detailed investigations made by Dr. Howe, in British Columbia, show, in the first place, that the burning of logging slash, at selected times and under


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