Ames Forester: Volume 10, Issue 1
The yearly supply of crossties for our railroads constitutes a heavy demand upon the forest resources of the country. There is a total mileage of steam and electric railways in the United States of approximately 450,000. Over a considerable period of years the annual replacement of ties on both steam and electric lines has been in the neighborhood of 300 ties per mile. On this basis the normal average consumption of crossties would amount to about 135,000,000. In 1920, the Forest Service estimated the normal annual consumption of ties at between 100 million and 125 million, but this estimate apparently did not include the electric railways. Taking a conservative figure of 120,000,000 ties and 36 board feet as the average contents per tie, it is found that the drain upon our forests amounts to approximately 4¼ billion board feet yearly. In terms of cubic feet of standing timber required yearly crossties stand next after fuel, lumber, and posts.
The Northwestern Bell Telephone Company operates in the states of Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, and North and South Dakota. In this territory it has been found most economical and satisfactory to use eastern white cedar poles. Some western red cedar poles, mainly in the larger sizes, have been placed in the plant when prices and certain construction demands made their use desirable. Practically all of the eastern white cedar poles are procured in Minnesota Wisconsin and Michigan. The western red cedar poles are 6btained from a number of the western states.
It was my pleasure last summer to pay a visit to several of the groves of the Big trees (Sequoia Washingtoniana [Wins1] End) in California, an interesting tree from many different angles. The name of the a-_emus to which it belongs, namely Sequoia, was given to these North American plants by Stephanius Endlicher, famous Austrian botanist who not only was a great botanist and the author of Genera Plantarum, but an accomplished linguist.
The fact that Iowa has such a preponderance of agricu1tural land sometimes is responsible for disregard of forest values in the state. In most land transactions in Iowa, the farms sell at a specified price per acre with no thought of classifying the forest and agricultural land. The poorer soils and rough forest areas are '''1umped in" with the balance of the land at agricultural land prices. This practice has led the farmers to hold the wrong idea concerning actual forest land values as compared with agricultural values. In many sales it is quite difficult to make the land owner realize the relatively low value of forest soil as compared with agricultural land. This lack of balance between forest and agricultural land values has been prominently in evidence during the past several years in the purchase of state park lands in Iowa. In many cases areas of forest value only were held at agricultural prices which not only slowed up the purchase program of the State Conservation Board, but made condemnation proceedings necessary in certain cases.
A request to write a review of forestry of today for the Ames Forester, brings vividly to mind the conditions of twenty years ago, when the writer was just beginning forestry work as a student assistant in the government service Since that time the changes have been many. Forestry is now one of the great recognized professions, and is being applied commercially in great industries.