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FOREST FIRES AND BRUSH DISPOSAL,   111

Probably 75 per cent of the area has been burned over since the advent of the white man, about 1860, the timber destroyed amounting to approximately 50,000,000,000 board feet. Except in a very limited way, logging has not yet commenced in the region, but it is evident that, owing to the density of the forest and high percentage of merchantable timber in the stand, the great amount of slash produced will constitute a highly dangerous fire hazard and a serious obstacle to regeneration. In this forest, the removal of the slash and of the deposit of old material is therefore plainly necessary.

Northern   The portion of the province north of the Fraser drain-

Interior   age basin is essentially mountainous, with narrow,

Region separating valleys. This is true of at least that portion included within the Peace, Skeena and Nass watersheds. The only considerable areas of level land in this great region are found on the Peace river within the " Peace River Block " and in the valleys of the Finlay, Parsnip and Bulkley rivers.

The climatic conditions include a precipitation of over 20 inches, mostly in the form of snow, long cold winters, and a short growing season with frequent summer frosts. These conditions permit the growth of only sub-alpine species, and the forest of the region contains only spruce, lodgepole pine and balsam.

The mature forest is everywhere dense, its composition ranging from nearly pure stands of either of the three species to varying admixtures of the three. In the valley lands, good merchantable stands of spruce occur, which will be utilized for both lumber and pulp on the completion of projected railways.

The forest floor is covered with the same heavy deposit of undecomposed vegetable material which marks nearly all the forests of the province, and the removal of this material and of the large amount of slash which will result from logging operations, will be necessary to prevent devastating fires and to prepare favourable conditions for regeneration.

The area of the different forest regions described Summary of   within the portion of the province under administra-

Timber Areas

tion, estimated at 160,000,000 acres, is, after allowing for barren areas, approximately 120,000,000 acres, divided as follows:

Acres

Douglas Fir Coast region    18,000,000

Northern Coast region    20,000,000

Interior Wet Belt region    22,000.000

Yellow Pine region    5,000,000

Plateau and Rocky Mountain region    26,000,000

Fraser Basin region    14,000,000

Northern Interior region    15,000,000

Total    120,000,000


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