The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas, et Prevalebit. THURSDAY, MAY 25, 1882. Killing the Goose that Lays the Golden Eggs.
TOWN EDITION. [lssued at 4 40 p.m. j
Our Alford Forest correspondent in his letters appearing in recent issues of this journal has directed public attention to a very important matter, viz., the reckless destruction of forest timber in his district, and other places throughout the colony, and has done his best to point out that wilful waste will, in this as in other cases, infallibly cause woeful want. Indeed, this is a matter that has received but too little attention hitherto. From time to time as our correspondent observes, a warning note has been sounded, and colonists have been cautioned to take care of the forests, yet nothing has been done, no systematic plan has been adopted to ensure the conservation of what is now a national source of wealth, but which cannot long continue so if timber is to be sacrificed in the wholesale manner which has prevailed in the past. Sir Julius Vogel when Premier of the colony, took a keen interest in this matter, and collected a mass of information on the means adopted for the preservation of forests in other countries. The result of this information was embodied, if we remember rightly, in a voluminous parliamentary paper. But nothing resulted. The question is no foolish or vexatious one. Already many places in the colony have suffered irreparable mischief from the axe and the match. The city of Wellington would be one of the most picturesquely-situated cities imaginable if the timber that once graced the amphitheatre of hills in which it is embosomed were still in existence. Old Wellingtonians remember when these hills were green and wooded, and the trees grew right down to the waters’ edge. Let any one visit the scene now and behold the change. The timber has all disappeared, thanks to the early settlers, and hardly a stick remains to relieve the monotony of the barren hills. Waimate bush has suffered in the same way, the great fire there (which of course was possibly the result of accident) having swept away acres on acres of timber. In Akaroa and Little River, celebrated once for their bush, the process of destruction is now going on, and the axe and the match are almost daily destroying what can never be replaced. Should not these facts teach us a lesson ? Our timber supply is by no means an inexhaustible one, and for the sake of the future we think that the Government would be acting wisely in taking immediate steps to check the evil complained of, and conserve our forests by placing them under the supervision and control of a State Forestry Department. Even private purchasers of bush land should be held responsible for wilful and wanton destruction of timber. It will
never do to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.