Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- January 09, 1879"Thou Lovely Forest!" (Editorial)
English newspapers give us the following estimates: We use annually 100,000 cords of wood--just for the wooden pegs in shoes; for matches, 300,000 cubic feet (2344 cords) of the best pinewood; for lasts and boot trees, 500,000 cords of birch, beech, and maple; and just as much for tool handles. To bake bricks, 2,000,000 cords of wood are needed every year, in other words, a forest of 50,000 acres. Our present telegraph poles represent 800,000 trees and the yearly maintenance exacts another 300,000. For railroad ties we require yearly the stripping of a thirty-year-old forest, an area of 75,000 acres, and to fence all railroads would involve a cost of $45,000,000 and an additional $15,000,000 for replacements.
These few items show how we strip our forests; there are others: crates, boxes, baskets, etc., which represented, in 1874, an outlay of around $12,000,000; and the wood sold for agricultural implements, wagons, etc., amounted to $100,000,000.2
These figures may be greatly exaggerated--in fact unbelievably so--but they furnish food for thought. "Who destroyed thee, lovely forest?" Our future generations will ask that question after being confronted by the wanton destruction practiced by the present inhabitants. We have followed a sacrilegious, ruthless process of devastation, even though we have eyes and ears to perceive how bitterly Europe and Asia fared, after felling their trees. The most fertile districts of the Old World were converted into deserts--consider Syria and "The Promised Land". In Southern France the cutting of forests on hill-sides invoked a constant, losing fight with the elements; water, formerly absorbed by vegetation, now rushes unchecked into valleys, bringing destruction in its wake and covering rich fields with sand and silt.
All those examples are nonexistent, as far as Americans are concerned. What do they care about the future? Apres Lui Le Deluge (sic). Let the sons and grandchildren replant what has been so deliberately destroyed; and, in the interim, the present generation continues to regard the forests as an enemy which cannot be exterminated quickly enough. Even the most impressive warnings are insufficient to induce them to desist and consider the approaching calamity.
Your search criteria returned no results.