The Rural Economy of New England: A Regional Study

By John Donald Black | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 28
The Woodlands and
Their Management

The 1945 census reports that the New England states have 24,161,000 acres of timberland not in farms and 6,931,000 acres of woodland in farms. Of the latter, 4,467,000 are not pastured, and 2,464,000 acres are pastured. Very little indeed of the 24,161,000 should be cleared and made into farm land, and only a very small fraction of the 6,931,000. The aggregate for which timber use should be considered the major use is around 31 million acres, which is three-fourths of the land surface of New England. Hence so far as area is concerned, this chapter deals with a larger subject than any of the last eleven, and than all of them combined.

For value of immediate and tangible product as the forests are now used, however, about the most liberal estimate that can be made for 1945 is the $6,950,000 reported for woodland products sold from farms in 1944, plus sales of at least $50,000,000 of commercial products, counting in the output of pulp mills, sawmills, veneer mills, and the like from non-farm forest lands, plus use of fuel wood by farm and summer-time families, and other uses of timber in farm production, all of these together to be compared with $250,000,000 for agricultural products. The recreation values derived directly or indirectly from our forests will be discussed in the following chapter. There remain the important values of woodland in protecting the land from erosion, and valleys and their cities from floods, and maintaining a fairly even flow of water in streams for water power or other uses.

The main concern of this chapter is the management of this woodland area in such a way as to optimize the foregoing values. This means to manage them in such a way and with that degree of intensity that will enable them to contribute most over the years to the well-being of New England and the

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