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150   COMMISSION OF CONSERVATION

sort, it must necessarily be piled, in order to prevent the total destruction of the seed trees. The cost of piling and burning brush on a mixed stand in the white pine type is estimated at 60 cents per thous-and feet. In a stand averaging 25,000 feet to the acre this involves the enormous expenditure of $15.00 per acre, several times the cost of planting.

The obvious alternative, then, is to cut clean, burn the slash broad-cast, and plant the burned area with nursery stock. No very accurate figures are at hand for the cost of broadcast burning, with the area controlled by cleared fire lines, but an estimate of 20 cents per thous-and feet is certainly conservative.

Let us then take a specific instance and compare the cost of the two methods. A timber sale has recently been made to the Mann Lumber Company, on Big creek, in the Lolo National forest, covering an area of 3,600 acres, estimated at 80,000,000 feet, a mixture of white pine, spruce, Douglas fir, larch, cedar, hemlock, and white fir. The contract provides that, except on clean-cut areas, the brush shall be piled and burned. The clean-cut areas will be practically nil, so that they need not be considered. In this particular case a part of the area is fire-killed timber where there will be no brush disposal; but to make the case typical of average conditions, it will be assumed that it is entirely a green timber stand.

By clearing a system of fire lines one chain wide along the principal ridge tops, thus dividing the area into blocks, broadcast firing could be done safely and cheaply, and the ground would be left in good shape for planting.

The following figures give the relative cost of the two systems:

Area of tract, 3,600 acres.

Total stand, 80,000,000 feet.

Cost of brush piling and burning, at 60 cents per thousand

(per acre, $13.33). Total    $48,000 Cost of broadcast burning at 20 cents per thousand (per acre,

$4.44). Total    16,000

Saving by broadcast burning, per acre, $8.89. Total   $32.000 Cost of planting white pine 8 x 8 ft., per acre, $5.22. Total... $18,792

Net saving after burning and planting, per acre, $3.67. Total $13,208

These figures, if correct—and it is believed that they can be demonstrated—indicate that, if the contract could be amended to permit the company to burn broadcast instead of piling the brush, the stumpage price could be increased sufficiently to amount to $32,000. The sum


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