(From advance sheets of the Annual Report of Penna. State Board of Agriculture.)

The matters brought to the attention of your Botanist this season have been chiefly in relation to the important subject of forestry. There is a growing feeling of anxiety in regard to the future, and an increasing disposition to encourage timber planting, providing anything practical in that direction can be done. The mining and the railroad interests particularly are concerned for the future of our lumber supplies, and in order especially to study the coming timber question, your botanist devoted two months of the past season, at his own expense, to the examination of the forests of Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee, the transportation being kindly furnished through the personal exertions of President Hinckley, of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad Company; and later in the season, a short time was spent among the forests of Schuylkill county, through the kind invitation of the Board of Girard Trusts, of the city of Philadelphia. The result of these investigations is the knowledge that there is very much more timber in the country than people generally believe, though at present in localities not convenient, as a general thing, to market at paying prices; that near the present sources of supply there is a growing dearth of timber, and it is this prominent fact that creates so much alarm, and the prevalent fear that the whole timber supply will soon give out; and, finally, it is apparent from your Botanist's investigations that when there shall be a real scarcity of lumber, so as to affect the market price seriously, it will pay companies to plant timber; and forests so planted will come into use, when properly cared for, in much less time than the community has been led to believe.

Our forest literature has been mainly made up from European sources, or suggested by European experiences. Trees grow in many places there very slowly. The oak in England has been known to live one thousand years, and the writer has seen some five hundred years old, and still with many hundred less cubic feet of lumber than many American oaks not two hundred years old. Indeed, it is doubtful whether any timber trees in the eastern Atlantic States reach two hundred years of age without exhibiting signs of decrepitude, in which case the tree makes poor lumber, and is really fit for little more than fire-wood. During the past season a large number of trunks and stumps have been examined, and, by carefully counting an inch where the annual growths are the smallest, and an inch where the annual growths seemed most rapid, and taking an average with which to measure the diameter, very much of the lumber of commerce was found to be from trees less than one hundred years old, and very few trees found with rings showing over one hundred and fifty years.

In going through the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, the absence of any remarkably old trees was very apparent, and Major Jed Hotchkiss, an able naturalist of Staunton, Virginia, furnished proof entirely satisfactory that when the white man settled in the valley it was wholly clear of timber, and that most of the immense quantity we find there now has grown up during the past one or two hundred years. In like manner the probability is that in all the large valleys of Pennsylvania there was no wood at the early settlement of the State. This is the tradition among almost all who have had family estates for several generations; and this is confirmed by the recent investigations of Dr. Joseph Leidy, of the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences, who reported to that body recently the finding of the bones of the buffalo in caves of northeastern Pennsylvania, an animal which does not exist in wooded countries. Indeed, the tradition is, especially in the Cumberland Valley, that these valleys were annually fired by the Indians, chiefly that trees might be kept down and food provided for the buffalo instead. We have cut away a great deal, but then we have gained some, and the fact is worth remembering.

In the States of Virginia. Tennessee and North Carolina there are, at the present time, millions of acres of magnificent forest trees. Among these are white oak, chestnut oak, red oak, and the tulip poplar in immense quantities; with a great quantity of species, useful but less known, used in the leading arts, such as beech, birch, elm, sweet gum, black or sour gum, buttonwood, linden, cucumber, and other magnolias, ash, sugar and other maples, locust, chestnut and horse chestnut, walnut and hickory, enormous sugar berry trees, and dogwoods larger than in the north, besides many others interesting to the botanist; but for which the special uses have yet to be found. Besides these, there are among the resinous trees, immense quantities of the yellow pine, (Pinus taeda,) bull pine, {Pinus mitis,) and Post or Jersey pine. (Pinus inops,) which grows up into forests of straight trees, very different from what we find them in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Besides these are hemlock, spruce in some quantity, white pine in less, and in still smaller quantities balsam fir {Abies Frazeri), and black spruce {Abies Nigra).

(To be continued.)