DESTRUCTION OF NEW ZEALAND FORESTS.
On this subject the Napier Telegraph of a recent date has the following sensible remarks :—lnstead of being conservators, the Government are, morally speaking, the greatest destroyers of our natural forests, by selling the land on which they ate found, and compelling the buyers to clear so many acres every year of occupation. No policy could possibly be more short-sighted or more mischievous. Nor is the soil of the Seventy-mile Bush of such quality as to attract of itself any great demand ; stripped of its trees the land is decidedly poor, and this will become more apparent as cultivation is extended. A like policy formerly prosecuted in America has been bitterly re pented of. The more valuable descriptions of timber can scarcely now be obtained, and that which was many years rejected as valueless finds now eager markets and high prices. The forests that have been destroyed in one small State, if now in existence, would have paid off the national debt of the great Republic. And so it will be in New Zealand. The Seventymile Bush, if allowed to remain intact, would in’the course of a generation or two provide the means for liquidating the colonial debt. But, at the present rate of destruction, in twenty or thirty years, instead of a valuable forest, there will be settled on the land a large population of struggling farmers whose united industry could never repay to the country the loss of the timber. A more sorrowful sight cannot be observed than that which presents itself between Norsewood and Danevirk. At the spot to which we allude, not far from the stable where the mailcoach horses are changed, there is a large clearing in which the trees —splendid red pines (rimu)—grew so quickly, that the ground is literally covered two and three feet deep by the trunks of these fallen monarchs of the forest. As standing timber, each tree, when the market arises for its sale, would be worth at least L2 or L 3 sterling ; lying on the ground to dry, in order to be burned, it is an encumbrance and a nuisance. And in the place of the valuable trees, the traveller sees a chaos of charred logs, a miserable shanty, some sickly grass, and a wretched patch of potatoes, the whole not worth half-a-dozen pines standing in their prime. But this is the result of the policy that seeks to satisfy the insensate demand for “ land for the people and the people for the land,” at any cost to the future.
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