This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V18", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The American Forestry Association.: - This society, preliminarily organized last year at Chicago, met, pursuant to resolution, at Judges' Hall, Centennial grounds, during the great Pomo-logical week. The numerous attractions diverted attention from the meeting, and although some seventy persons attended the session, the meeting seemed small in so large a room.
Dr. Jno. A. Warder, President, with Wt. Mac-Afee, Secretary, called the meeting to order. Dr. Warder delivered the opening address, showing the great importance of the timber question to the nation, and to individuals, and how well calculated such a society was to help the cause along.
Dr. Hough, of Albany, New York, gave an address, showing that the constitution of the United States, and of most of the States, gave the right to interfere for the preservation of forests; that other countries had taken the matter in charge, and that forestry was progressing well under such national care. He made various suggestions calculated to aid the cause of timber culture, and thought that a journal of forestry, out of the range of trade influences, should be established, if possible. Dr. Hough's address exhibited considerable research into meteorlogi-cal and other classes of literature, and was delivered in a pleasing and intelligent manner.
Professor MacAfee reported on the condition of forest culture in the West, showing how the planting of trees had been going on to an immense extent, and that it was found the old notions about the slowness of timber growth had been derived from the hard struggle with nature, that wild timber had to make. Cultivated trees had grown so much faster than was expected, that people had been surprised at the growth, and it was now becoming generally known that wood came into profit much sooner than was thought possible years ago, and forest culture was much more popular in consequence. In his State at least S0,000 acres of timber had been planted during the few past years, and the work was still going on. He gave figures as to the growth of individual species, chiefly from facts within his own observation. The report was one of the most practically useful it has ever been our good fortune to listen to, on the subject of forest culture.
A proposition was made to unite the association with another body, called the Forest Council. Mr. Meehan inquired whether the objects of the two societies were the same. Mr-. Geo. May Powell, Secretary of the Forest Council, said it would take too long to read the constitution of that society, but would say briefly that the objects were the same. Mr. Meehan said the object of his inquiry was an account of the notice of a meeting he had seen of the Forest Council in the newspapers. That report seemed to show that little business was transacted, except to endeavor to induce government to take hold in an especial manner of the forest interests of the country. The American Forestry Association, he thought, was working in a different field. It wished to make forestry popular by showing the profit there was in it - in short, by diffusing forest knowledge through the land. Mr. Powell then read two clauses of the Forest Council constitution, to show that they considered these matters also. A committee was appointed to consider the question of union.
Several members made remarks giving val-able information in regard to various trees they had experimented with in various parts of the country.
Mr. Meehan remarked on the pleasure it had given him to listen to the remarks of the different members, and especially to the papers of Dr. Hough and Prof. MacAfee, which two papers, taken together, he thought particularly instructive. He confessed to a fear on the organization of the society, that it might be drifted away from its legitimate purpose, and become little more than a mass meeting to urge on the government to do the work which itself was organized to do. It was all very well to know what the paternal governments of other countries were doing with timber culture, but he thought we needed no paternal government to supervise us here. He thought it a blessing that our government did not stand in the light of a parent to us, but was rather our servant, and he trusted he should never live to see the day when he might be ordered by a paternal government to plant a tree, or having planted one, be forbidden to cut it down. The two papers together, however, showed that we were doing very well. Dr. Hough had shown very clearly what the paternal governments did for their child-like people. Prof. MacAfee had shown what the people were doing without this fatherly interference, and surely the picture was everyway satisfactory.
Those who clamored for government interference evidently had no practical knowledge of what was going on. 80,000 acres in one State made up for a great deal cut away in others. But this was nothing to what was going on elsewhere. A gentleman then present in the meeting had planted thousands of trees in Virginia, and in five years would have five thousand acres under timber culture. These people had faith that timber would pay, and as old timber grew scarcer, their faith would increase, and originate new faith in others. This was the proper plan, and he congratulated the society that it was taking this path. Individual effort, encouraged by State laws and agricultural and horticultural societies, would soon replace the decaying forests of our land.
Dr. Warder was re-elected President, Mr. MacAfee, Secretary, and Dr. Hough, Treasurer.