MEN AND TREES
When Captain John Smith was making the acquaintance of Pocahontas, he traveled in boats on rivers and streams lined with virgin forests through which led an occasional trail. Approximately half the area now included in the United States, some 822,000,000 acres, was covered with timber. In 1925 the United States Department of Agriculture reported 468,500,000 acres in woodland within the same area. Much of this is second growth timber and much of it is to be found, not in great forest stretches, hut in farm wood lots.
Of themselves these figures do not sound alarming. What is alarming is the fact that in 1933 there was an appalling total of 83,000,000 acres of devastated land to which nearly a million acres are being added annually. Nor is this the end of the story. Robert Marshall, whose figures we quoted, reports "grave deterioration" on at least 200,000,000 additional acres. The picture is still incomplete. Forestry experts estimate that there are 670,000,000 acres of potential wood-land in the United States. That means land useful for timber and for virtually nothing else—land on which forests are necessary not only for the wealth that they contain and for their recreational values in a modern society, but also because of their immensely important function in controlling floods and preventing erosion.
Even the casual traveler, if his eyes are open, can see some of the marks of forest devastation. Millions of acres on the gullied hills of the Old South will never again be a source of beauty or blessing to men until once