FORESTRY ON DOMINION LANDS 263
be met by the lumberman. In British Columbia the fire tax is $9.60 per mile, and in Ontario and Quebec the licensee bears the whole cost.
The annual ground rent is five dollars per square mile—less than one cent an acre—except for lands situated to the west of Yale in British Columbia, in which case it is $32. In contrast with these rates provincial timber land in British Columbia carries a yearly rental of $115 east of, and $140 west of the Coast range. On the other side, ground rent in Ontario and Quebec is five dollars, and in New Bruns-wick eight dollars per mile. It must be clearly understood that ground rent has, theoretically, no relation to the timber,—it is a charge for land rights.
The result of the low rentals charged by the Federal government. coupled with the fact that operation is unnecessary until notification by the Department, has been the entrance into the lumber business, more or less, of speculation in berths. This is evident by a comparison, through the years, of the area under license with the total lumber cut. For some years the practice was followed of increasing the rental, usually doubling it, in the case of berths held five years with-out operation. No serious dropping of licenses appears to have occurred, but the policy was given up. While the non-operation of timber berths is satisfactory from the standpoint of conservation of forest wealth, yet the nation is entitled to its share of the increasing value of the country's timber resource. Especially is this the case when it is taken into consideration that the great bulk of the accessible merchantable timber on Dominion lands is already under license. On the other hand, a too high rental forces operation, regardless of market conditions, in this era of overproduction of lumber.
A just mean may be found, in a sliding scale of timber royalties, which does not injure the interests of either party, giving the public its share and rewarding foresight in the lumber industry. This principle of participation in increment has been virtually recognized of late years, and the timbered provinces have periodically revised their license charges, these to remain fixed for a certain period of years to ensure stability to investment.
Cutting Regulations.—Of much more importance than the question of equitable rental and dues is that of the control of logging operations, for on the condition of the forest after lumbering depends the amount and quality of the future forest. Dependence for the next crop is to be placed upon natural regeneration, since planting is at present considered to involve too high an immediate outlay. Provision must, therefore, be made, through the regulation of logging, for the natural reseeding of the area by the desired tree species.