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140   COMMISSION OF CONSERVATION

to do something in the way of brush disposal on our township reserves, but the lack of men and of funds has, thus far, prevented any further action. It is hoped that these obstacles may be overcome in the near future."

COST OF TOP-LOPPING

Investigation on the Lands of the Laurentide Co., Ltd., by Ellwood
Wilson and D. W. Lusk

Through the courtesy of Mr. M. C. Small, manager of the logging division of the Laurentide Company, Ltd., the authors were given every facility to make the following study on the lands of the company in the St. Maurice watershed, Quebec. They were given a free hand with the jobbers, and Mr. Lusk was appointed an assistant scaler and inspector so that he could control the work.

The object of the investigation was to ascertain, as nearly as possible, the actual cost of top-lopping and to determine its practicability and the resulting advantages.

The disposal of lumbering waste and debris, either by top-lopping or otherwise, is one of the most important questions now under consideration by foresters and lumbermen. There are three possible methods, fire, decay and utilization. In some countries of Europe, where the forests are near the markets and firewood commands a high price, all the debris can be utilized as firewood, the smaller branches being tied tip into bundles of faggots, and even the leaves and needles are used as bedding for animals. This method is impossible with us. Owing to the condition of our forest floor, it is inadvisable to burn the slash, as the soil is so shallow that fire burns off all the humus and is very difficult to keep tinder control. Burning would have to be done before the snow was entirely off the ground and would entail the piling of the brush, making the work so costly as to be out of the question. The only other method is that of decay, and it is to facilitate and hasten this that top-lopping is undertaken.

The larger the top of a tree left by the loggers, the longer it takes to decay, chiefly because it has more large limbs, and these, holding it up higher off the ground, allow it to dry out, and once dry it may last for many years. If the limbs are cut off, the trunk lies flat on the ground and the branches, being in constant contact with the moist soil, decay much more quickly; also being always wet they do not catch fire so readily or burn so quickly. Large tops left in the woods catch fire very easily, and they burn so rapidly and with so much heat that a fire once started in a slashing is almost impossible to extinguish until the whole cut-over area has been burnt, with the conse-


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