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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 55

Forest Conservation

Forest Conservation.

I must ask you to allow mo to refer to some other industries. There is one industry—I will not say of paramount, but of vast importance to the colony—I refer to the forest industry. It is a matter which has cost me the greatest possible regret, that since I left the colony in 1876, the Legislature thought fit to repeal the Bill, or rather Act, which I had succeeded in carrying into operation, and by which we had made reserves for a large extent of forest country, with the view of first of all planting a forest population upon them, and in the next place, of teaching the various arts of forestry. Besides this, we had in view the encouragement of various industries relating to forestry, and lastly, but not least important, the renewal of the forests, so that the advantages which we now possess in this respect should never cease to exist. And, gentlemen, I have no hesitation in saying that it Is of the utmost importance to renew a measure of this kind, for in this colony we have timber of the most valuable description; but, alas ! it is page break not inexhaustible. It seems sad, indeed, that we should see the heritage of those coming after us destroyed and wasted without making adequate provision for renewing it. It is a question of vast importance, and it is felt to be so in all those countries where forestry is practised. In Europe, all the principal countries which contain forests devote the greatest attention to their renewal. In America all that was overlooked—and what is the consequence? It is such that I doubt whether America, with all the vast improvements which her people have made, is now intrinsically so valuable as when the first white man went there. It is important to know that in one State alone fity thousand pounds' worth of forest is destroyed annually to provide fuel for locomotives. We ought then to learn wisdom from other countries. We ought, in time, to make provision for supplying the forests of the future. Fifty years will probably make great devastation amongst the existing forests, but fifty years may be utiliged in renewing our forests in such a way that at the end of that time they may be more valuable than those we have at present, for it is a well known fact that planted forests are a great deal more valuable than ordinary natural ones. This question is of special interest to Auckland. Of the various industries which arise from the position you occupy, certainly not the least is the timber trade.