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BUSH-SHORN LANDS.

USELESS TO FARMER.

EXOTIC REAFFORESTATION.

EXPERIMENT AT ERUA,

What is to be done with those indigenous forest areas which, after being cut over by the sawmiller, are of no use for farming? Can commercial forest be restored on them, either by natural regeneration or by planting exotic trees? And if the latter plan is followed, can it bo accomplished economically? Except in the case of beech forests —and possibly kauri —there does not seem to be much confidence these days in natural regeneration of tho indigenous bush as a commercial enterprise. Dr. Cockayne, in his Forest Service reports, leans to the opinion that beech will renew itself naturally and unaided; also that, with the aid of a certain silvieultural technique, (which may include sowing and thinning, subject to further practical experimentation), beech may renew itself still more rapidly and evenly; with good promise, in either case, of economic success. Meanwhile, knowledge based on experiment has to be built up slowly.

In Wako of 3awmiller. On the other side of the question—replacement of utilised native bush With exotics —a trial on a considerable scale has now been begun on cut-over tiinberlands near Erua, on the higher plateau of the North Island Main Trunk railway, at an altitude of from 2200 feet to 2600 feet. The plan adopted is to fell, burn, and then plant selected exotic trees from a nursery. The short distance between the State Forest nursery at Karori and the experimental block is a favourable economic factor. In the circumstances, this method is deemed preferable to direct seeding, although seeding experiments' (machine sowing and alpo spot so wing) _ in-the establishment of exotic plantations are in progress elsewhere in New Zealand. In the course of a few years there should be available very comprehensive information as to both methods of raising exotic timber. ' _ Viewed as a whole, the Erua experiment holds out the hope that much needed light may be thrown on the question whether it would pay the sawmiller to plant the land that he has cut over. The owner of such land &9 is suitable only to.timber-growingi.be he the sawmiller or be he only tho royaliytalccr, would surely replace the timber crop if he were shown the way to do 'so profitably. The best step in that direction seeratf' to bo practical big-scale experimentation.

Summer Burn, Fall Planting. The cost of establishing exotic timber trees on open unforested pumice land may be fairly well known, but the cost of converting' cut-over lands to exotics is another thing. Sometimes the sawmiller leaves behind him fairly clear ground, .this being especially the case whero he has met with a heavy stand of commercially profitable timber; but whore the utilisable timber was scant, he will leave the ground more encumbered, and therefore harder to deal with'if (as at Erua) the plan is to fell, burn, and plant. Wherp the cut-over land includes fairly clear patches, and other patches carrying,, . a good deal of rejected; poor. timber trees and scrub, the felling cost will not be easy to assess. On the - Erua block some maire lias been left by tho sa-w----millers in addition to other sizeablo treeß. To fell all these would increase felling but they may be left standing to take their chance in the burn—in which case firewood and even sleepers might possibly bo recoverable after the burn. The work of felling has already begun, and will, it is hoped, be sufficiently advanced to admit of a burn in the .summer, so as to facilitate planting -of eiotica in the following fall and winter. . . _

The tirea to be dealt with is 2540 acres in Block VIII., Manganui survey district, and the greater portion of it lias been, cut over by the Department of Railways in the course of that Department's sawmilling activities. _ For two and a half miles the area is bordered by the Main Trunk railway and the main road, and its proximity to the Erua railway ■ station as well'as to the above-mentioned nursery, facilitates operations. There is approximately 930 acres available for immediate utilisation, and on this work is proceeding. Next year, will, also be planted an area of open tussock country of 300 acres, forming a compact block between tho Main Trunk railway and the Waimarino stream. On the e stern side is the famous Makatote Gorge. The soil is described as a light loam, .mostly pumiceous, and useless for farming.

Relief Work, tout Skill Needed. It happens that this important experimental opportunity coincides' with unemployment, and it is, therefore, possible to combine experimentation with relief work, but as. an undertaking of this' nature must bo carried out on economic lines in order to fulfil its purpose, the plan is to employ men experienced in bush work, of whom the supply should be ample if reports of sawmilling depression arc correct. Cabinet has approved of a plan which, ( at present shoud absorb between eighteen and twenty experienced bushmen. The felling, it should be noted, is to be done by contract. Fencing, and perhaps draining, will also be attended to this winter. The work will be under conditions similar to those ruling on treeplanting operations t> rough out New Zealand. Camp accommodation and tools aro provided by the Forestry Department, and the camp itself is being run on a community basis with a cook to cater for all the men. At present the following species are considered the most suitable for this locality:—

Laweon's cypress (Cupressua Lawaoniaiia) Japanese Cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) Western Bed Cedar (Tbuya plicata) Douglas fir (Faoudo Douglaan Ponderous pine (Pinus ponderoaa) Weymouth pine (Pinus Btrobus) Sugar pine (Pinus Lambertiana) In the past, in various parts of the Dominion, small areas of cut-over bush land have been planted with exotics, and some information has thus been obtained concerning thirteen species of exotics, but this Erua experiment is on far broader lines.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/CHP19280811.2.126

Bibliographic details

BUSH-SHORN LANDS., Press, Volume XLIV, Issue 19386, 11 August 1928

Word Count
977

BUSH-SHORN LANDS. Press, Volume XLIV, Issue 19386, 11 August 1928

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