REPRODUCTION OF COMMERCIAL SPECIES 229
There is little doubt of the necessity of burning the slash and under-vegetation in order to get an adequate and uniformly distributed reproduction of fir on the logged lands. The ways and means of carrying out such operations, however, present serious difficulty. Under the depressed market conditions which have prevailed in British Columbia for several years past it seems inadvisable, even if it were possible, to add the cost of brush burning to the operating expenses of the limit-holder. Until the present over-production is relieved by enlarged markets, and until the margin of profit for the lumberman is increased, some temporary co-operative arrangement between the limit-holder and the Provincial Forest Branch might be advantageously made, the officers of the branch to conduct the slash burning and the limit-holders to furnish men. Since the object of the burning is as much to remove the luxuriant under-vegetation as to destroy the slash, broad-cast burning is the proper method. Practically the only expense in this is the labour necessary to prevent the fire spreading beyond bounds. The numerous hauling lanes made by the steam logging operations almost universally employed on the coast, the spurs of the logging railways, moist flats and creeks furnish many natural fire breaks, conditions which lend themselves to comparatively safe broad-cast burning. In addition, because of the heavy stands of timber, the area cut over in any operation in a year is comparatively small. Under proper conditions of dryness one year's logging operation could be burned over in a day or two, and a few men could control it. There-fore, the cost of slash burning would be comparatively small. In British Columbia small areas of Engelmann spruce and lodgepole pine have been burned experimentally at a cost of two and one-half cents per thousand feet. In the mixed coniferous forests of California, the burning of slash after it has been piled, costs three cents per thousand feet. According to Leavitt, broadcast burning has been done for twenty-five cents an acre, but, in most cases, it would probably cost from five to ten cents per thousand feet of lumber cut.
The second recommendation, namely, the better protection of the reproduction of fir already established, is based on the fact that second and subsequent fires have already destroyed about one-half of the fir reproduction originally established. The largest number of fires on such areas have occurred in the past twenty years. It is clearly evident that this cannot be allowed to continue, if a future supply is to be obtained from the present young growth.
While the forest protection service of the Provincial Forest Branch is very well organized and very efficiently administered, it has not, at present, the men or the money to give the young growth the protection which it deserves. In fact, from the standpoint of conservation, it