From a merchantable standpoint, the forests covering the rugged islands which dot the coast and the western slopes of the coastal mountains are not of great present value, the merchantable stands being limited to isolated tracts where soil conditions are favourable. On the northern end of Vancouver Island, on the mainland opposite, and on Queen Charlotte islands, the necessary soil conditions are present and, here, there are extensive areas of hemlock, cedar and spruce fit for lumber. Speaking generally, however, a large portion of the stand in this section is not suitable for manufacture into lumber, although probably large areas will be used for pulp. This is also true of the dense spruce and hemlock forests of the Nass and Skeena watersheds. The spruce here, however, is suitable for lumber and will be used for this purpose to an extent sufficient to supply the small local market.
It is evident that under the conditions,—a dense stand of low-grade timber and an excessive accumulation of undecomposed vegetable material,—little can be done to assist regeneration and promote the rate of growth, where only saw-timber is removed. Fortunately, the fire hazard, though present for short periods in July and August, is not high, consequently the fire danger may, for the present at least, be neglected. The only places where the removal of debris might be justified are those where logging has totally destroyed the stand and where the soil is of sufficient depth to insure an immediate new growth. Where rock underlies the layer of dead vegetable material, efforts at disposal of logging debris will not be advisable.
In the spruce and hemlock forests on the Nass, Skeena and other rivers, where there is a deposit of soil, destructive logging methods will be indulged in, and an excessive amount of debris produced. The trees remaining after logging will consist of undesirable species, and regeneration will be impossible without the removal of the slash and layer of dead material. Undoubtedly, however, there will be large areas on the upper slopes on which the conditions will be similar to those on the coast, and consequently it will be inadvisable to attempt to dispose of the debris.
Summarizing, it may be said that, in the northern coast region, there will be extensive areas of forest in which, on account of absence of real soil, removal of the slash and dead vegetable material should not be attempted. The forest on these areas, however, is of small merchantable value at present, and logging operations in it will be very restricted. The merchantable forests of the region. which are situated in the north end of Vancouver Island, on the mainland opposite. on the upper reaches of the rivers which cut through the coastal mountains, and on Queen Charlotte islands, are everywhere very dense. with