material varies, of course, with the character of the forest and the market, but even under the most favourable conditions it is consider-able, and, in the dense forests of the Rocky mountains and Pacific coast, the quantity is enormous. In other words, the standard of merchantability is so high, as compared with the wood material produced under natural conditions, that the greater part of the crop must be left on the ground. Further, it prevents putting into effect the very measures (thinning and removal of weakened or undesirable trees) required to increase the quality of the crop, and at the same time to reduce the amount of waste or unusable material produced. It also materially lengthens the time necessary to produce high quality timbers, thus increasing the cost of production.
This condition can only be improved by the discovery of new uses for such material, the invention of new and cheaper methods of logging, and the opening up of new markets. Such changes can come about only very slowly, and, timber being largely controlled by private capital anxious for increased profits, no doubt advantage will be taken of every chance to utilize a larger proportion of the forest product.
In the meantime, however, timber owners, both private and govern-mental, are confronted with the many problems resulting from this condition. The most important of these problems are, first, the great increase in the fire hazard occasioned by large amounts of combustible material left on the ground and exposed to the sun; and, second, the unfavourable conditions for regeneration of the forest, the result of the soil being covered by the piles of slash, brush, tops and logs. The effect of the slash on the fire hazard and on regeneration varies with the character of the forest and with the nature of the logging operations; to understand the condition in British Columbia surrounding the problem of slash disposal, a brief description of the forest regions and methods of logging must be given.
Forest Regions The climatic conditions of British Columbia include
of British a heavy rainfall and an extended growing season
Columbia along the coast, and, in the interior, long winters, with consequent conservation of the snowfall, and moderate rainfall in the summer, in conjunction with a short but vigorous growing season. These conditions insure, throughout almost the whole of the province, a dense forest growth with rank undergrowth. Only at low altitudes, in the dry belt—which is the term applied to the section lying between the Cascade range and the foothills of the Gold and Cariboo mountain ranges—and in the lower portions of the Kettle, Columbia and Kootenay valleys, do long, hot summers and light rainfall restrict the forest growth to arid types or prevent it altogether.