This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
We are not of those who admire Joaquin Miller's poetry, but his prose on forestry in the recent number of the Independent, is just of the right stripe. He thinks as we do, that the owner of a forest who leaves dead tree trimmings and dry underbrush loose in the forest, to make fuel for tremendous forest fires, ought to be held responsible for all the damage which ensues to others.
In almost all our conventions we have talk about rewards for those who inform on the hunters whose wads start a fire, the railroads whose sparks ignite dead grass, or the poor wanderer whose camp fire makes a new start after he has departed, as the cause of a forest fire.
But if the undergrowth is kept down and dead matter not allowed to accumulate, there will be no fire to hurt the living trees. We know of a piece of wood that is burned under every year by sparks from the Reading Railroad company's locomotives, but the standing timber has never been injured.
It will not cost a thousandth part as much to clear out all the brushwood in the United States as we lose in one year by forest fires, and the true way to preserve our forests must start from just here.
At any rate this idea removes the great objection to forest planting, that it may get burned. If rank vegetation is kept down for a few years during the growth of the forest, it will by its own shade keep down the growth thereafter.