A World Geography of Forest Resources

A World Geography of Forest Resources

A World Geography of Forest Resources

A World Geography of Forest Resources

Excerpt

The forest early assumed an equivocal role in human culture. It was prized for the material it yielded and for some of the functions it performed, but it was also regarded as a rival for the space needed for crops and flocks. This two-mindedness about the forest has continued to confuse humanity down to the present day.

This book is designed to help clear up some of the confusion. The quotation, from Dr. Paul B. Sears' introductory chapter, sets the tone for the entire work.

The book deals in large part with the world's forests as yielding materials that man cannot do without -- materials that give him shelter and heat, comfort and enlightenment, and a goodly amount of food. It tells what most of these materials are and whence they come, and touches upon the immense and varied unsolved problems of how yields may be sustained in the face of ever mounting, ever changing demands. The book also considers forests as parts of the land and as features of the landscape. It points out relationships of forests to rainfall and temperature, relief and soils, and it discusses the effects upon the forests of human populations, institutions, needs, and desires. It gives an insight into the conflict between those who want the forest lands for "crops and flocks" (or other things) and those who would maintain and enlarge the forests to conserve water and protect life and property against flood and erosion.

Six chapters are devoted to forests and wood products in their worldwide aspects and 25 to the forest situation and problems of particular regions. The book is largely a product of international collaboration. Only 15 of its authors are Americans. The regional chapters, with two or three exceptions, are the work of men who hold or have held positions of responsible leadership in forest administration or forestry teaching or research in the countries with which they deal. This lends an immediacy, vividness, and authenticity to the text that more than compensates for any disadvantages arising from the diversity of treatment inevitable in a symposium of this kind.

Most of the maps and graphs were prepared especially for this volume by the American Geographical Society's cartographic staff. The photographs, carefully selected from prints submitted by certain of the authors, as well as from other sources, illustrate diverse types of forests, tree species, forest enterprises, and wood products. They are grouped together by topics for convenient reference and comparison. The authors and editors have tried to bring statistical and other data as nearly up to date as . . .

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