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The Forest Situation in Western Washington WIIXIR' ?. MKRRIAM University ?if WnsliinKton, Seattle, Washington The Puget Sound region and the coastal lowlands of Washington have depended, from their beginning history, more upon lumber and ofrest products than upon any other resource. After nearly three-quarters of a ecntury of intensive exploitation, lumbering is still the greatest industry of this area, leading by nearly double the value of the output of agriculture, the next industry in rank. In spite of the tremendous importance of forest products in the economic well-being of Western Washington, there is still no adequate program for safeguarding the basis of the industry. County after county is continuing to reduce its timber holdings with but feeble efforts at reforestation, until the management of timber lands for continuous production is one of the most important economic projects needing attention in the Northwest today . Numerous factors combine to make the Pacific Northwest one of the finest prospective sustained yield timber areas on the continent . Half of the remaining stand of virgin saw timber in the United States is still to be found here. Furthermore, a mild and humid climate, soils that are for the most part of a leached glacial gravel, and adverse topography, combine to render 90 percent of the cut-over land inhospitable toward agriculture while offering no deterrent to forest ,o;rowth. Although continuation of the present destructive policy may mean a serious depletion of timber resources within the next ucore of years, under sustained yield management , several schemes for which have been worked out on a practical basis, there need never be a curtailment in lumber operations. At the present time the annual drain on the forests of Washington is two-thirds more than the normal increase. Under conditions of crude forestry the growth may nearly equal the cut, and under intensive management, this region could actually be storing up a timber capital for the future. Nevertheless it may be concluded that present timber resources in Western Washington are adequate for some time to come, and that the immediate need is not so much to create new timber assets, as to safeguard watersheds, control floods, and return to productivity otherwise wasted lands. Viewed from a long time angle, however, it seems evident that management of existing stands and reforestation of cut-over land classified as timber growing land, is essential if lumbering is to continue as a permanent industry. Finally, one additional understanding seems essential—a realization that there is nothing sacred in virgin stands or even in the original dominant species. No finer lumber producing trees grow in in North America than native stands of Douglas fir. Second growth Douglas fir is an inferior lumber tree, however, and several other native trees including western hemlock and spruce, grow faster , produce higher yields per acre and better lumber in second growth than Douglas fir. It seems entirely (38) probable that Western Washington may shift over rather largely, as the Southern Pine Belt has done, from its original native forest to a faster growing species once considered inferior, but now recognized as of greater value than the original stands. Regarding Washington's timber future, it seems safe to predict ihat unless sustained yield management becomes general almost immediately and unless restocking of rapid growing, high-yielding trees is made on cut-over lands within the next few years, another decade or two will see the national state leadership in lumber production shift from Washington, back to Louisiana, Georgia, or some other state in the Southern Pine Belt, where climatic conditions for rapid growth are the equal of those in the Northwest, but where topographic conditions for sustained yield reforestation are in many instances more favorable, where labor is cheaper, where markets are nearer, and where at least a ten year advantage of start in (sustained yield policy will be eminent. The Cut-Over Land Situation in Western Washington ;r, AtXK? Towisit !!¡rininfihaai-Smitlioni College, AUihania The first stage in American utilization of a forest region has been one of boom exploitation accompanied by the development of local towns and agricultural settlement. Once most of the virgin timber has been cut, there are three potential trends: permanent· logging...


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