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108   COMMISSION OF CONSERVATION

cover of grass and weeds. There is a general absence of brush and thickets of second growth.

The greater portion of this forest region is, at present, of little commercial value, owing to the scrubby nature of the trees. The only considerable tracts of merchantable timber occur in the Kettle and east and west Kootenay valleys. Here the forest is fairly dense and is composed of a mixture of yellow pine, Douglas fir and larch, and logging operations are being carried on at a number of points. Although more of the timber in these stands is being utilized than is the case in any other type, and although there is an almost entire absence of down timber or other dead material, the slash resulting from logging is still considerable and the fire hazard great, owing to the dryness and hot weather. However, the mature and young growth trees remaining after logging are all needed for seeding purposes and protection of the moisture supply, so that, in many places, the slash would prove of benefit if it could be left without increasing the fire risk.

Altogether, the situation as regards the disposal of the slash in this type of forest is complicated by a number of opposing factors. It may be said, however, that, if the fire hazard can be overcome in some other way—as, for instance, by the construction of effective fire breaks—the slash should be allowed to remain on the ground.

Rocky Mountain As previously stated, semi-arid conditions prevail on

and Plateau   the uneven plateau which lies between the Coast

Region range and the Gold and Cariboo ranges. The general altitude of this plateau is between 3,000 and 4,000 feet, but, towards its northern limits, at the foot of the Babine mountains, and, of course, where streams have cut into it, elevations of 2,500 feet, and even lower, are to be found.

The climate is typical of the eastern slope of the Coast range throughout its length, and also of the Rocky Mountainf region in the states of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Colorado. A precipitation ranging from 10 inches to 20 inches, long, cold winters and warm, dry summers, with cool nights, do not constitute conditions favourable to tree growth, and forest growth would not be possible, were it not for the accumulation of the snowfall in winter, the melting of which leaves the ground saturated at the beginning of the growing season. On good soil, and on protected slopes. however, the available moisture is con-served, and permits the formation of dense though slow-growing forests.

The same climatic conditions are found on the western slope of the Rocky mountains, from the International boundary to Yellowhead pass, and, since the forest is of identical character, the whole region is included. The distinguishing species throughout the immense


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