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woods were to be kept intact, but open to common-grazing, which of course absolutely prevents the natural regeneration which would take place if they were protected. Thus we have determined that, while the present generation shall enjoy its fill of the beauty of our finest tract of forest land, the forest itself shall be allowed to vanish. I must get forward, if this notice of Dr Nisbet's treatise is to be kept within reasonable limits; but in truth his subject is of such commanding interest, both to the nation and the individual landowner, that one is tempted to linger unduly over the earlier chapters. Let one more consideration of national importance be mentioned, before passing on to appraise these volumes as a text-book of woodcraft. Statesmen and sociologists view with just concern the absorption by great cities and industrial centres of the youth and manhood of our country districts. It is admitted by all that it is of vital importance to the nation that its physical vigour should be maintained, and that this can only be secured by finding remunerative occupation in the open air for a large section of the population. Agriculture is the best of all nurseries for the race, but British agriculture has been crippled under the ruthless application of the principle of free imports. To some extent sylviculture may take its place, but if it is to do so the State must lend a hand, for the State pays no death duties. In no branch of agriculture, not even wheat-growing,
has the slump been so severe as in sheep-farming. As mentioned above, there is plenty of sheep-pasture in Scotland returning at present a rent of from 6d. to 2s. an acre. Such land is constantly being offered for sale: Mr Cameron Corbett's munificent gift to the city of Glasgow is a recent case in point. Assume that the rent is 2s. an acre, which implies the best land for planting, at twenty-five years' purchase 1000 acres could be had for £2500, £6000 would plant it, £500 more would drain what was required-£9000 in all. Add £1000 for plant and alteration of buildings = £10,000. posing that for the next fifty years the State were to invest £10,000 a-year in the purchase and planting of land, at the end of fifty years it would have made a progressive investment of half a million sterling-the cost of four days' campaign against the Boers. Ground that had been purchased on a 2s. per acre per annum basis would, according to the results. at Novar and in Germany, be yielding at the rate of 11s. per acre, and, most important of all, instead of one shepherd to every 1000 acres, there would be a working population of one woodman to every hundred acres-500 woodmen and their families on the State forest of 50,000 acres, instead of 50 shepherds and their families.
But that does not represent nearly all the local employment that a forest creates.
and regenerating forests in Germany, and in felling, preparing, and handling the produce before it was delivered to the buyer, the timber and other produce of the woodlands directly afforded employment to 583,000 persons (or 9 per cent of all the industrial classes throughout the empire), who were engaged in industries furniture - making, carpentry, carriage - building, waggonmaking, cooperage, sawmills, impregnation works, and osier- weavingdependent on the forests for their raw material. These 583,000 breadwinners represented about 3,000,000 souls, or nearly one-sixteenth of the total population" (vol. i. p. 84).
To which may be added pulping-mills and cellulose factories, which had barely established a footing in 1875, and the employment provided in the transport of timber from the forest.
In no part of the United Kingdom would the creation of forest industries be of such direct benefit as in Ireland, where there is an almost total absence of that mineral wealth which abounds in the rest of the kingdom. And, by a happy dispensation, in no part of the realm does forest growth flourish more freely when it gets a chance. When Richard II. (1377-95) wanted fine oak for the new roof, still existing, of Westminster Hall, it was from the forests of Kilkenny that he drew his supply. There is the greater inducement to devote land in Ireland to the growth of timber, because, taking the country as a whole, the shooting value is far below that of similar land in England and Scotland indeed, in many parts of Ireland it amounts to nil.
Detailed notice of the tech
nical part of Dr Nisbet's work would be out of place in these pages. Suffice it to say that the processes of woodcraftchoice of species, propagation, planting, protection, disposal of products, and regeneration
natural and artificial-are all dealt with in the light of past experience and recent knowledge.
It is greatly to be wished that all the extant copies of Brown's 'Forester' could be collected and destroyed. Unluckily, it is just the type of book which is almost ineradicable from a country gentleman's library, and it will take a lot of trouble to persuade the possessors of that work that Nisbet, and not Brown, is the true guide in these matters.
Here is one example of the mischief wrought by erroneous teaching. There are, as every woodman ought to know but doesn't, two distinct species of British oak - the pedunculate oak (Quercus pedunculata), and the sessile or durmast oak (Quercus sessiliflora). It is in accordance with the latest determination of science that Dr Nisbet classes them as distinct species-not merely varieties of a single species. In Hooker's edition of Bentham's 'British Flora' (1887) they are down as varieties of Quercus robur, and it has frequently been stated that intermediate varieties occur. It is true that individuals of the two species may be found approximating to each other in one of the features usually relied on to distinguish them from each other-viz., the regularly-lobed
stalked leaves of the durmast the north it does not ripen its oak, and the irregularly-lobed wood nearly so regularly as the stalkless leaves of the pedunc- durmast, and it is far more ulate oak. This, and the more subject to the attacks of gallobvious distinction that the fly. A singular instance of durmast oak bears stalkless this came under my notice flowers and acorns, while the lately. A gap of two or three pedunculate oak bears flowers acres in extent, caused in an and acorns on stalks two old wood by the great gale of or three inches long, are the December 1894, was planted characteristics distinguishing up in the spring of 1896 with the two species, according to durmast oak (acorns collected Dr Nisbet. But it is also to be for myself in the English lake noticed that the back of the district) and Corsican pine. leaf in the true durmast oak is In going through the young always more or less downy or trees in the autumn of 1904, I hairy along the midrib, that found that these oaks had of the pedunculate oak being made splendid growth, averagquite smooth. Moreover, the ing about 10 feet in height. two species flower at different I was struck by the almost times, rendering the occur- complete absence of oak-apples rence of hybrids or intermedi- (the galls of Cynips quercusate forms exceedingly improb- folii) on the beautiful foliage. able. All this would be matter Suddenly, I saw a young tree only for a botanical magazine densely studded with them. but for the great superiority Upon closer inspection, this of the durmast as a forest- turned out to be a vigorous tree, both in beauty and in growth from the stump of a clean timber. Yet, strange pedunculate oak, which had to say, Brown and Michie remained in the ground when recommended the pedunculate the old wood was removed. oak the English oak as This comparative immunity they called it as prefer able to the other for British planters. The consequence is that no nurseryman in the United Kingdom-at least, none that I have been able to discover-offer the durmast oak except, occasionally, as an ornamental tree. Irreparable damage―irreparable, that is, by the present generation-has been done to our woodlands by the exclusive distribution of the inferior species. It is inferior in more respects than its tendency to gnarling and twisting. In the humid atmosphere of
VOL. CLXXVIII.-NO. MLXXXI.
from insect attack indicates the superior vigour of the durmast oak in the northern parts of Great Britain.
Hitherto, to most planters, an oak has been an oak, and in ordering oaks by the thousand no question is asked about species. At present, nurserymen's stock consists entirely of pedunculate oaks: it is for their customers, in the best interest of their woods, to refuse to take any but guaranteed durmast, and the trade will conform to the demand, for acorns of one kind are as easily pro
cured as of the other. The native oaks of Wales, of Ireland, of the south-west of Scotland and most of the Highlands, and of the English lake district, are all durmast. Nay, I was surprised to find that in Merivale Park, the home of the famous antiquary Sir William Dugdale, of the Monasticon, the giant oaks are durmast, though recent gaps among them have been filled up with pedunculate saplings. Now the Merivale oaks stand in part of the old Forest of Arden.
In any proposal for the reform of wood management and in any scheme for its extension in Britain, full regard must be had to the interests of game. Not only are sporting rights one of the landowner's chief privileges, but they are a very valuable form of property. The letting value of of most country-houses depends mainly upon the quality and extent of shooting attached to them. It would be vain, therefore, to advocate any measures that would interfere seriously with the sporting capabilities of an estate. Much of the land classed as waste in Scotland and the north of England returns a heavy tribute in grouse, or their equivalent in rent. It will be time enough to cast an envious eye upon these when derelict sheep-farms in Scotland and wind-swept hillsides in Galway are clothed with young forest. But in advocating more economic management of existing and prospective plantations, one must take into account the
effect upon cover - shooting. Now a great change has come over that form of sport within the last quarter of a century. When I was entered to pheasant-shooting as a lad, it was
the tail of a team of spaniels, whose office it was to dislodge the game from the dense undergrowth. My task was to floor the birds as soon as they were on the wing. We knew no better, in those old muzzle loading days, and mighty fun we thought it. Hollow woods were no use to
one of the chief reasons for ruining all prospect of clean timber by excessive thinning was to encourage the growth of brambles and other ground cover. Now, all is changed: the only places where undercover is desirable are at the "ends," where the birds are driven over the guns.
The consummate art of modern cover-shooting may be witnessed in that famous sporting demesne, Holkham, where the entire contents of each day's beat is "navigated" over great distances to a single wood Scarborough and there dealt out in suitable driblets at a sporting height over the marksmen. As in deerstalking, so now in cover-shooting, the brainwork is all done for you; your part is only to hold straight.
These things being so, there is nothing in scientific forestry which need interfere with pheasant - shooting in the approved style. If the birds are fed in the woods, they will resort to them for shelter, and an open floor renders it all the
easier to drive them to the point chosen for the rise. But pheasants are not the only denizens of game-preserves. So long as landowners permit the presence of rabbits, except in an enclosed warren, so long is profitable forestry out of the question. Natural regeneration from the seed shed by the old crop, which is part of the recognised course in Continental forests, is impossible, of course, even with a very moderate stock of ground game, and recourse must be had exclusively to planting. Every piece of ground so planted must be enclosed in wire-netting, which cannot be done at less than 6d. a-yard. If the woodland is being worked in rotation, say ten acres felled every year and ten acres replanted, the cost is at a minimum, for a square of ten acres may be fenced against rabbits for between £20 and £30-say an additional cost of 50s. an acre; but this has to be multiplied indefinitely in dealing with blocks of less than ten acres, as is sometimes desirable in filling up blanks caused by storm or otherwise. Nor is this nearly all that must be set against the account of the execrable rabbit. You must charge him also with £6 an acre for planting, which would be unnecessary if his presence were compatible with natural regeneration; all which means an initial tax upon the woodland of £8, 10s. an acre before the young trees are set going upon it. Well may Dr Nisbet utter the warning "Unless where rabbits are kept down, as they used to
be, no landowner will, I think, be well advised to plant extensively with a view to profit."
It is idle to say that rabbits cannot be kept down. In 1869 my father retained in his own hands the shooting over part of his estate-about 8000 acres. The ground swarmed with rabbits, which it was determined to destroy. A new keeper was engaged on the understanding that if the rabbits did not disappear from the estate he should do so. At the same time leave was given to the tenants to kill what they could on their own farms, joint right to the ground game not yet having been created by Parliament. Result, the keepers accounted for 27,800 in eight months, besides what the farmers destroyed. Last August, returning from an evening walk through through the woods, I told my wife that I had seen what vexed me wit, three rabbits!
Rabbit - shooting is pretty enough sport; let it be confined to the warren: for, if British forestry is ever to regain the place to which our soil, our climate, and our requirements entitle it, it must be relieved from the intolerable scourge of rabbits.
Here I am at the end of my tether without having touched Dr Nisbet's second volume, which contains three Parts, devoted respectively to the protection of woodlands, their management and valuation, and the utilisation of their produce. These are technical matters, for the right understanding of which a worthy text-book is indispens