FOREST FIRES AND BRUSH DISPOSAL, 151
of $18,792 could then be devoted to planting the area, leaving a net saving of $13,208. We would then have a well-spaced, completely stocked plantation of white pine, or whatever species was deemed desirable, instead of a more or less incomplete, natural reproduction of perhaps 25 to 50 per cent white pine. The weed trees, the hem-locks, white fir and cedars, would all be eliminated, and there would be prospects for a succeeding crop of timber which would have double the value of the mixed, natural stand. A further advantage, which has not been included in the calculation, is the saving of stumpage in the seed trees. In an over-mature stand much of this will be lost by death of the trees before the end of the next rotation, and the amount of timber left would probably not justify a logging operation before that time. This item would amount to from $2 to $4 per acre. The operator would also get the advantage of an increased cut with the same improvement investment, as well as the cheaper cost of logging a clean-cut area.
The planting cost is figured as follows :
Cost of three-year-old white pine transplants, per thousand.. $3.00
Transportation, per thousand 50
Planting, per thousand 4.00
Spacing 8 x 8, or 670 per acre, gives a cost of $5.22 per acre.
About a million and a half of eastern and western white pine transplants will be shipped from the Saranac nursery this fiscal year, at a cost not to exceed three dollars per thousand ready for shipment. The planting crew on the Lolo forest this fall is planting white pine at the rate of 1,000 per man per day.- The final cost has not yet been obtained; but it is certain that it will not exceed $4 per thousand plants.
The obvious difficulty in carrying out a policy of clear cutting and planting on Forest Service sales is, of course, lack of funds to handle the planting. The increased stumpage receipts go into the United States treasury and the extra expense must be carried by the regular funds of the Forest Service. It would seem, however, that arrangements must be made to cover this expense, if the Forest Service is to make any pretence to a businesslike administration.
The Forest Service policy is, perhaps, not to be criticized. In-creased appropriations are hard to get and the present funds barely cover current work; but the fact remains that an attempt to regenerate over-mature white pine stands by natural methods is an economic waste, which will cost the United States government tens of thous-ands of dollars within the next decade if the policy is continued.