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EFFECT OF REPEATED FOREST FIRES   187

intervals of 12.5 years. These are only the recorded fires. There is much evidence that ground fires have been still more frequent. In fact, hardly a season passes that some portion of this area is not run over by ground fires.

There are three classes of persons principally responsible for these fires: Cattle rangers, marsh hay makers, and berry pickers; and the most careless of these are the berry pickers. The area is commonly called the huckleberry barrens. The term "barren," however, can be applied only to its present, not to its original condition, for it was once well covered with pine trees. The pine stumps were counted on sample plots aggregating 28 acres, and those eight inches and over in diameter averaged 17 per acre. This refers only to those that still show they had been cut for lumber. Those so far decayed or so severely burned as to leave this point in doubt were not included. Considering the length of time since lumbering began on the area, and the number of times it has been burned, it is fair to conclude that many of the stumps of former merchantable trees do not now exist; hence it is reasonable to assume that this area was originally well stocked with pine. At the present time, however, judging from sample plots aggregating 62 acres, there are only 0.7 white pine and 2.4 red pine an acre, on the average. Regarding the trees eight inches and more in diameter as capable of producing seed, one may find at present one such white pine seed tree to each seven acres and one red pine seed tree to each four acres. In fact, the average number per acre of all kinds of trees is only 22, without doubt considerably less than the original number of commercial pine trees per acre; and of these nearly one-half (48 per cent) are not over two inches in diameter.

Approximately five per cent of the area, exclusive of swamps, has escaped serious injury by fire. The average number per acre of trees of all kinds in these situations is 278, or over twelve times as many as on the adjacent areas burned many times. The pine on the patches that have not been badly burned averages 158 trees per acre, 53 white pine and 105 red pine, over 50 times as much as on the surrounding areas burned many times. This is an indication of what might have been, had the fires been prevented. The poplar also shows a similar increase, averaging 87 trees per acre on the unburned patches, compared with ten on the adjoining areas burned many times. The poplar large enough for pulpwood on the unburned areas at the present time averages 1.3 cords per acre; on the nearby areas burned many times, only one-forty-fifth of a cord per acre.


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